Back in the old days, a typical school science weather forecaster consisted of a three dial unit that told temperature, humidity and barometric pressure. Things have changed. Today, elementary science datalogger technology, also referred to as probeware with sensors, designed specifically for science education can still tell those three things, but a whole lot more.
These systems are easy enough to be operated and understood by an elementary school student and yet powerful enough to be used in advanced science applications. The new educational technology includes a portable datalogger that acts like a mini weather station. Designed especially for younger students, this handheld device contains five built-in sensors and an LCD display. It’s ideal for displaying and recording daily weather patterns and supplies real time data on sound, light, temperature, humidity and barometric pressure.
This type of hand held device can also include ports for plugging in a wide range of additional sensors. This type of unit can be used for observing and collecting data on things such as motion, heart rate, pH levels, voltage and many others. This is in addition, of course, to the five sensors already built in to the unit.
You simply plug the sensor in and start collecting data. Many of the new sensor technologies auto-identify the sensors and are auto-calibrated to save time and frustration in getting the unit up and running. It’s easy to use and the kids in the class love it because they are more engaged with this ‘hands-on’ approach to learning.
The newest technology runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, similar to those found in most cell phones. They can be recharged by either using the AC adapter or by plugging it into a computer’s USB port with the USB cable. The advanced battery technology allows the new, innovative technology to collect data for over thirty days on a single charge.
Data logging software is an integral part of the technology package. It is critical for displaying real-time data for students and many new software packages are very easy to use. You can download data that’s been collected away from the computer, analyze it and even copy the chart or graph into other applications such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint or Excel. You can even export the data from the software into Excel with the touch of a button in some applications.
There’s quite a bit of technology packed into these compact, pocket-sized, easy-to-use mini weather stations. Whether directly hooked up to a computer or on its own outside the classroom, these mini data loggers do an incredible job of supplying information to the user. And it makes learning fun for the class, as it’s a hands-on unit that delivers immediate feedback on the changing conditions it’s monitoring.