One of the other companies I visited at BETT 2015 was Vernier, who produce datalogging software and hardware for schools. I was particularly interested in their LabQuest2 system, which aims to make datalogging easier.
Datalogging has always been an interest of mine, some of my earliest training and writing work was based around effective ways to use datalogging in the classroom. It has invariably been something that teachers find difficult, especially when they only have a few interfaces for the whole class.
The LabQuest2 system comprises an interface with a built-in screen, running its own OS. It can act as a standalone interface, with the students working directly on it via the touch screen, or it can be connected to other computers. It allows 5 sensors to be plugged in at any one time.
As a standalone device, it looks pretty useful and could be used outside the classroom to collect data. But what was more interesting was the way it connects to classroom computers. The interface has built-in wifi and Bluetooth so that it can connect to multiple devices wirelessly. This can include iPads, Chromebooks and Android devices.
This has the advantage of multiple groups of children working on the same interface. Some could be using regular apparatus (thermometers etc) whilst others set up the datalogger – but they could all be connected via Bluetooth and get data on their computers/iPads at the same time.
The LabQuest data could also be displayed on the teacher’s computer / interactive whiteboard for the whole class to see during the experiment, or as part of a demo.
I was also interested in their Go Wireless sensor range, which allows iPads and other computers to connect wirelessly via Bluetooth directly to the sensor. This removes the need for an additional interface and could make class datalogging a much more attractive possibility. Using these probes, the children could monitor temperatures directly onto an iPad or Chromebook using the GoWireless App. It’s quite an interesting development.
If you are looking for ideas on how to use datalogging in the classroom then there are some ideas on the Vernier website here. For primary science, there’s also this useful video from the National STEM Centre.
If you’re interested, you can get more information on Vernier products here.