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 Exploring Robotics is a brand of Interactive Media Publishing which is a woman-owned small business with over 10 years of experience in developing online and interactive educational content paired with robots and technical kits.  We are located in Phoenix, Oregon USA - close to Medford, in southern Oregon near the California border. 

 STEM Success = The Best Robots and Kits + Great Curricula + PD + Support for teachers.

Our mission (and passion) is to develop world-class STEM learning - technology paired with curricula - that serves the needs of a wide range of schools and students.  We provide these solutions to schools:

  • Affordable STEM packages. Most classroom packages are in the range of $1,500 to $5,000  and can be reused over several years. 
  • Rugged educational robots and kits. We are a distributor for several brands of robots. We help educators choose the robots that work with their technology.  We search for robots that work well in the classroom and hold up to student abuse. We support teachers during the technical setup, make sure they receive everything, and help with any returns or exchanges that are needed.
  • PD and support for K-12 teachers.  Many schools cannot attract teachers with prior experience in engineering and coding. We believe that any enthusiastic teacher (Elementary, Middle School, Science, Math, or Technology teacher), Librarian or Media Specialist can teach these topics, if given the proper support and resources. Our training sessions are one-on-one with two-way video conference.  We provide on-going support and help teachers with both technology and curricula implementation.
  • Turn-key STEM programs. We create self-paced, online lessons with videos paired with hands-on activities using robots and educational kits that can be implemented easily in the K-12 classroom or as part of an after school, Maker Space, or distance learning program. We offer teachers not only the robots but also the batteries, chargers, storage boxes, professional development, support, great curricula, and everything needed to be successful from day one in the classroom.
  • Math, Science, and Coding integrated into every course. Students are not playing with robots. The lessons use robots to engage in math and science topics. They also learn coding to make the robot move. All courses include Math, ELA, NGSS, and CSTA standards and help to prepare students for tests. 
  • Course pathways that lead to successful STEM career opportunities for students. Our pathways begin in elementary school and continue through middle school and into high school. Engineering and coding skills are introduced and then reinforced and enhanced with each course. By the time students graduate they have mastered not only robotics but also coding languages and the technical and engineering skills which lead to good paying jobs or entry into University courses.
  • Self-paced online curricula with videos, step-by-step instruction and open-ended project-based learning with opportunities for building grit skills. We know that there are many talented, intelligent students who, if given the opportunity and exposure, can master tough technology topics and fill jobs that are the backbone of a far stronger U.S. economy. That's why we continue to invest heavily in the development of STEM and STEAM curricula (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) that provides the knowledge and skills needed for 21st Century jobs.

 

Founders

The founders, Grant Plowman and Linda Nichol-Plowman, have strong backgrounds in technology, engineering, business consulting, educational consulting, instructional design, systems design, and project management. They have conducted numerous training programs, managed the development of hundreds of courses and training products, and are published authors.

Grant Plowman (1943-2016) before forming Interactive Media, had a career of over 30 years as an electrical and electronics engineer. He was CEO of several companies which built custom automation equipment and created electronic controls and circuit boards for aerospace, food processing, solar energy, agriculture, military, and other industries.  He was from Michigan but spent most of his career in southern California.

His vision and expertise are the genius behind the Exploring Robotics product line as he shared his years of experience. He wished he had such fun methods of learning electronics and enginering.

linda-nichols-plowman-small.jpgLinda Nichols-Plowman, CEO:  before forming Interactive Media, had a career of over 15 years as a software engineer and systems analyst working for firms consulting with banking systems,the military, and creating industrial controls. She helped establish some of the first ATM systems and computerized check processing operations in the Virginia and Maryland region. For Interactive Media Publishing, she provided instructional design and managed the development of over 100 online courses for several universities and corporations, creating online degree programs for nursing, engineering, education, social sciences, criminology, business, and more. She is a published author and has also self-published several books on robotics topics. She is from Virginia but also worked in California, and now resides in Oregon.  

Linda is the creative force behind Exploring Robotics. She loves helping teachers bring coding to students in a fun and interactive way with robots, and to use robots to engage students in Math, Science, ELA, and other classroom topics.

 Directors

joe.jpgJoe B. Lively  - Academic Program Director 2013 - Present

Works with administrators and educators to create custom integration solutions for STEM and STEAM programs in K-12 schools.  Designs activities, lesson plans, demonstrations and competitions in STEAM programs for schools and instructors.  Works as a technical and curriculum support lead for teachers.  Provides guidance in lesson plan modification and project-based learning programs. Provides technical support and coordination with IT personnel for schools. BS in Management Information Systems, with Minor in Computer Science and Multimedia Design from Oregon State University,  2000.

  • Has trained hundreds of teachers in coding, robotics, STEAM and PBL concepts.  
  • Worked in a classroom environment for 2 years teaching introduction to business applications to incoming college freshman.  Designed lessons, lectures, activities and exams.
  • Rapid Application Development (RAD) for a distance education company for 10 years.  Created software programs for both client and web-based environments, created documentation and led the technical team in providing support for end users and students.
  • Curriculum and Activity development for Robotics Programs for 3 years. Assisted in planning, testing and implementing activities for courses, clubs and makerspace programs in the educational robotics genre.  
  • Developed simulation tools to aid students and LMS structures to provide web-based course delivery options.
  • Works with teachers and administrators to determine the best options for meeting educational goals with new programs that integrate technology with STEAM concepts.

Teams

  • A development team of instructional designer, project manager,  teachers, writers, media specialists, video and audio technicians, website developers, and programmers work together to create curricula.
  • The academic support team includes the academic director, trainers, and support staff who interact with educators to provide solutions, professional development, competitions, and support for schools.
  • The operations team manages order processing, shipping, and receiving, works with manufacturers to ensure that products arrive on time, and handles returns.
  • The R&D team researches new products and develops custom solutions combining robots, electronics, programming, and other educational products.
  • The Marketing team provides newsletters, promotional items, and exhibits at academic conferences.

Milestones and History of Interactive Media Publishing

Interactive Media Publishing was formed in 1996 as a private company focusing on providing high-quality, engaging educational productions in the form of non-fiction educational books with multimedia, and online courses that combine interaction, video, and self-study components.  

2012 to present: Developed the Exploring Robotics brand of products which is curricula combined with robots and educational kits for K-12.  

  • Created the Robotics and IoT Pathway of products which provides STEM education for elementary, middle, and high school and prepares students for 21st-century jobs in STEM careers. We find the best robots and kits for education, and develop curricula and teacher PD to go with them.  We are value-added resellers for Wonder Workshop, Parallax, LittleBits, Dexter Industries, Global Specialties, XYZ Robots, ROBOTIS, and others.
  • The Robotics and IoT Pathway provides 12 self-paced courses for teaching engineering, robotics, coding, and electronics and culminates in obtaining an electronics certification, or an IT certification.  It includes online STEAM curricula, professional development, district consulting, support, robots, and electronics packages.
  • Have served over 200 School Districts which include: Prince George’s County MD, Los Angeles USD CA, Knox County TN, Prince William County VA, Catawba County NC, Katy SD TX,  Chicago SD IL, Yuba City CA, Woodbridge Township SD NJ, ERIE 1 ERIE 2 and ERIE 4 NY, Santa Barbara County ESD CA, and others.

1996 to 2012: Educational Consultants for Corporations, Government Agencies, and Universities. Created over 100 distance learning, self-paced, and online courses. Thousands of adults and college students across the country have utilized instructional materials generated by Interactive Media Publishing. We published all forms of media - print, digital, video, audio, and online. We produced and developed video lectures, books, hands-on materials, 3D animations, simulations, interactive content, assessments, and all the online content. We used a variety of LMS systems and also created custom software solutions.

  • Pioneered RN to BS Distance learning program for OHSU Nursing (2000-2002): Partnered with Oregon Health Sciences University to develop one of the first Distance learning RN to BS programs in the Nation, with grant funding from the NSF. This program allowed working nurses to obtain their BS degree and become RNs. The courses included: Health Assessment, Pathophysiology, Family Nursing, Nursing Statistics, Nursing Leadership and Management, and several others. This program was first delivered with CDs, but after the Internet became more available was converted to online and became the blueprint that OHSU and other universities used to create their online programs.
  • Online Education MS degree for SOU (2002-2005):  Partnered with Southern Oregon University to create an online Master's degree program for working teachers. Courses included Curriculum Design, The Exceptional Child, Multiple Intelligences, Educational Technology, Educational Psychology, Assessment, Multiple Intelligences, and others.
  • Online Criminal Justice BS Degree for SOU (2003-2009). Partnered with Southern Oregon University to develop an online program where law enforcement could earn their BS degree while continuing to work. The courses included Juvenile Delinquency, Terrorism, Criminal Justice Leadership, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Organizing Judicial Cases, Management Skills, and several other criminal justice courses. This program became the blueprint that SOU used to create their online programs.
  • Online Family and Developmental Sciences BS for OSU (2003-2008): Partnered with Oregon State University to develop materials for in-class and distance courses for Family Sciences to include Depression in the Elderly, Alzheimer’s Disease, Children with Special Needs, Grant Writing for Early Childhood Development, and Leadership training for Early Childhood Development.
  • Engineering Training (2009-2011):  Took on tough technical topics to create self-paced training for technicians, engineers, and designers. Some examples include CAD for Electro/Mechanical Manufacturing, CAD in Process Monitoring and Simulation Environments, Electronics, Simulations, and technical courses.
  • High School and Worker Re-Training Program (1998-2000):  Created several self-paced courses to be used for high school vocational and worker retraining programs for Coos County ESD and North Bend High School Alternative Learning in Oregon. Topics included CAD, Word Processing, Databases, Spreadsheets, etc.
  • Corporate Training (1996-2003): Created management, software, safety, and technical self-paced training and customized software solutions.  Some of our clients included IBM, Bell Atlantic, Western Bank, Bonneville Power Administration, MCI, Century 21, ERA Realty, Design CAD, and JELD-WEN.
  • Book DesignCAD Inside and Out, McGraw-Hill (1992):  This book, written by Grant and Linda taught the use of 2D and 3D CAD software and the BasicCAD programming language. It was adopted by many high schools and technical colleges and started educational consultation by the authors.  The DesignCAD software is similar to AutoCAD but was more affordable for schools.

 

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