Links to Articles

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Any Computer, Any Interface, Any Curriculum
Carolyn Staudt

Science teaching with sensor vendors has always been awkward due to the number of platforms, sensors, and software packages that are available within a school building. It is not uncommon to find schools with cabinets filled with sensors from multiple vendors that are no longer used. What if standards-based materials were developed using cross-platform software that could be interfaced by many different sensor vendors? Technology Enhanced Elementary and Middle School Science (TEEMSS) does just that.

History of Probeware
Robert Tinker, President Concord Consortium

This is an overview of the development and dissemination of "Probeware." Also called "microcomputer-based labs", MBL, "Calculator Based Labs", and CBL, probeware represents one of the most valuable contributions of computers to education. By connecting probes to a computer running suitable software, students can observe real-time data in a variety of formats. When placed in an inquiry-based learning context, this capacity can significantly increase and speed learning.

How Notebook Computers, Digital Media, and Probeware Can Transform Science Learning in the Classroom
Dr. Randy Yerrick

Identifying Key Research Issues
Gerald Knezek, Rhonda Christensen, Lynn Bell, and Glen Bull

National Technology Leadership Summit Report. Ed Tech and curriculum area leaders report the key issues for future research on technology's effects on learning.

Learning Science in Grades 3—8 Using Probeware and Computers: Findings from the TEEMSS II Project
Andrew A. Zucker, Robert Tinker, Carolyn Staudt, Amie Mansfield, Shari Metcalf

Monday’s Lesson: Investigating Sound
Ed Hazzard

Displaying sounds is relatively easy on a computer. Indeed, most laptops have a built-in microphone. With this basic equipment, students have a ready-made sophisticated scientific instrument. All they need is some simple software and ideas about how to use it.  The Concord Consortium has developed a cross-platform Sound Grapher for the Technology Enhanced Elementary and Middle School Science (TEEMSS) project, which creates sensor-based investigations for students in grades 3-8.

NSF Releases "Sensors for Environmental Observatories" Report(January 17, 2006)

Devices will enable a deeper and broader understanding of Earth's environment.

Probeware and the XO: Ubiquitous computers are coming and probes are close behind
Andy Zucker, Alvaro Galvis, and Robert Tinker

Imagine what a revolutionary impact a computer like the XO could have in the hands of children worldwide. It is an encyclopedia, library, language tutor, multimedia communicator, and music maker. It is a powerful tool for science inquiry, too, particularly if it has probeware—software and hardware for real-time data acquisition and analysis.

Probeware in Science
Vernier White Paper

Probeware Tools for Science Investigations
John C. Park

Teacher Uses of Highly Mobile Technologies: Probes and Podcasts
Robert Tinker, Paul Horwitz, Stephen Bannasch, and Carolyn Staudt, The Concord Consortium, and Tony Vincent
Educational Technology, vol. 47, no. 3 (May-June 2007)

This article introduces two contrasting ways of using highly mobile information technology for educational purposes. The first example uses mobile devices and scientific probes to gather information; the second uses a combination of mobile and desktop computers to disseminate it by way of podcasts. The examples also show that mobile devices complement, rather than replace, desktop computers.

Technology in the Lab; Part I: What Research Says about Using Probeware in the Science Classroom
Mark Millar
Science Teacher, vol. 72 no. 7 (October 2005)

The development of probeware—electronic sensors connected to a desktop computer, calculator, or handheld computer, together with supporting software—has revolutionized the conduct of science laboratory instruction and permitted students to engage in true inquiry. Part I of this two-part article offers a summary of educational research findings showing the advantages of using such sensors. Part II, by Nusret Hisim, offers a range of practical suggestions for using probes in laboratory teaching across the sciences.

Using Sensors and Models to Answer Discovery Questions
Carolyn Staudt and Stephen Bannasch

Science is a social construction of knowledge and practices based on observation, analysis, modeling, experimentation, and theorizing about the physical world around us. The National Science Education Standards states, "From the earliest grades, students should experience science in a form that engages them in the active construction of ideas and explanations that enhance their opportunities to develop the abilities of doing science." Too often, however, science is treated only cursorily, if at all, in elementary grades and in a passive format: reading from a textbook. But even very young students can do much more, particularly when the science classroom includes probes and models. And that's just what the Technology Enhanced Elementary and Middle School Science (TEEMSS2) project has been doing: designing activities with probes and models for students in grades 3-8.

What makes the subject matter matter?
Oskar Lindwall, Jonas Ivarsson

Work In Progress – Integration of Sensors into Middle School Classrooms
Joe Arsenault, Stephen Godsoe, Constance Holden, John Vetelino

Other Resources:


Several projects at the Concord Consortium are joining efforts to create an open source suite of applications called CCProbeware. These model-based tools for visualization and analysis are scriptable and configurable, and will work on many types of computers, from handhelds to desktops.

National Centre for Sensor Research

The National Centre for Sensor Research is a large-scale, multidisciplinary, sensor research centre focused on the science and applications of chemical sensors and biosensors.

Discover Sensors

The new Discover Sensors project supports the use of sensor technology in hands-on scientific investigations for Junior Science students in Ireland.