New Wireless Sensor from Vernier Software & Technology Expands Opportunities for Scientific Exploration

To engage high school- and college-level students in hands-on physics and data collection, Vernier Software & Technology recently launched the new Go Direct ® Static Charge sensor. Unlike a traditional electroscope, this completely wireless sensor offers a means for quantitative measurement and analysis of positive and negative charges of objects that would not be possible in a traditional lab, such as measuring the charge on a balloon.

“With Go Direct Static Charge students can easily and accurately measure and analyze static charges,” said John Wheeler, CEO of Vernier Software & Technology. “The sensor’s enhanced capabilities expand upon our wired version, and its pricing at under $100 makes it an affordable addition to any physics classroom or lab.”

Like all Go Direct sensors, Go Direct Static Charge connects via Bluetooth® wireless technology to any mobile device, Chromebook, or computer with either the Vernier Graphical Analysis™ or the  Vernier Graphical Analysis™ Pro apps. Students can use these apps to visualize charge readings in real time and immediately analyze experimental data, which can also be exported to other applications. The sensor, which features a long-lasting rechargeable battery for wireless use, can also be connected to devices via USB. This provides educators the opportunity to choose any location for learning — whether it is in the traditional classroom, lab, at home, or even outdoors.…Read More

Go Direct Weather System provides a versatile and affordable way for educators to engage students

Vernier recently launched the new Go Direct® Weather System to engage students in hands-on data collection as they learn important environmental science concepts. This affordable wireless sensor can be used in the classroom or out in the field to help middle school, high school, and college-level students investigate and analyze a variety of environmental factors.

“This new sensor for environmental science provides an affordable way for STEM educators to engage their students in data collection as they explore the science of natural phenomena,” said John Wheeler, CEO of Vernier Software & Technology. “The Go Direct Weather System is notable because students can collect and analyze multiple types of environmental data using just one compact system.”

The two-part Go Direct Weather System consists of the Go Direct Weather sensor and the Go Direct Weather Vane. The handheld weather sensor is used to collect data around ambient temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind chill, dew point, barometric pressure, and more. The weather vane accessory is used in conjunction with the sensor to capture wind direction data.…Read More

Tech directors: Here’s how to truly support multi-screen classrooms

Today, education is far more flexible and collaborative than a generation ago, and technology is key in enabling teachers to quickly adapt lesson plans to suit the moment’s activity. Having multiple screens that a teacher or student can wirelessly project to, along with the ability to switch between sources in seconds, means that teachers aren’t tied to the front of the classroom any more. They are free to roam around to small groups, to see what students are working on simultaneously, and to call attention to particularly high-quality work or ideas that challenge and stimulate.

But all that technology does students little good if it can’t function properly because your school’s IT infrastructure isn’t up to the job. At Central Coast Grammar School in Australia, when Director of Teaching and Learning Damon Cooper pushed for more flexible and collaborative classrooms, we knew we would have to redefine our infrastructure.

Prototyping a vision with spare parts
For more than a year, Cooper piloted his vision of multi-screen classrooms by piecing together whatever spare parts we had on hand. If I retired a screen from another part of the school or had a spare from a bulk purchase, he wanted it. Over that period, Cooper worked closely with me to prototype his vision. That work functioned as a proof of concept and fit nicely with our strategic plan, which called for an increased focus on digital literacy, greater collaboration, and developing students who can produce and publish digital work.…Read More

Weak cell service? How schools can solve this still-pervasive problem

Today’s students are more connected to their devices than ever before, whether they’re using their tablets or cellular devices to take notes in class, conduct research, or write a report. As such, strong cellular connectivity has become a must for schools and universities. Faculty and students rely upon secure wireless data and mobile coverage in order to teach, learn, and grow together. Having good cellular service also enhances safety on school grounds, keeping staff connected in emergency scenarios in which an instructor or staff member is not near a landline telephone and must instead place a cellular call for immediate assistance.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of cellular signals, schools can’t always provide consistently strong cellular signal for students, faculty, and staff. Accessing a strong indoor signal can be difficult depending on campus size and location, the distance to the nearest cell tower, or natural obstructions such as mountains and district budgets.

Construction materials can also cause issues with cellular signal. Modern schools and universities are usually a combination of older buildings and newer, environmentally friendly construction. Both styles can interfere with radio frequency waves coming from the nearest cell tower. What’s more, the many hundreds of students and teachers in the buildings can easily overload a weak network.…Read More

Sennheiser adds audio conferencing solution, TeamConnect with wireless or ceiling mics

Audio mics pick up who is speaking during conferences

Sennheiser’s TeamConnect is an end-to-end, professional-grade conferencing solution for medium to large conference rooms. TeamConnect can be integrated into any infrastructure or conference room to deliver leading-edge connectivity options for “bring your own device” IT environments, support for all leading unified communication solutions and brilliant sound quality.

Sennheiser TeamConnect is a complete audio solution for businesses. Consisting of the Central Unit CU1 – which offers both Ethernet and wifi connectivity options, a choice of fixed or table-top SpeechLine microphones or the new TeamConnect Ceiling microphone, and active loudspeakers, TeamConnect has everything needed to cater for medium to large conference rooms.

“TeamConnect is a classic, reliable audio solution, which is designed to be integrated into any infrastructure or room. It can be used with landline or Unified Communication clients, and either permanently installed or set up for flexible use,” said Jens Werner, Portfolio Manager Sennheiser. “As well as being easily linked to networks, it is also very easy to operate, both by IT and for end users, with powerful fine-tuning software to ensure effective installation and simple app- and browser- based tools for controlling conferences on a user’s own device.”…Read More

FCC approves $9 broadband subsidy for low-income households

Expansion of the Lifeline program will affect more than 13 million Americans

A recently-approved expansion of an FCC program will grant millions of low-income households a discount on internet access in an effort to help close what is becoming known as the digital divide — the lack of reliable high-speed internet access for lower income families.

FCC commissioners voted on the proposed expansion 3 to 2 along party lines, as expected. Eligible households (those at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty level) will now be able to apply the $9.25 subsidy to broadband, wireless, or a bundled voice and internet package. Previously, the program, called Lifeline, was only applicable to phone service.

According to the FCC, nearly all households with annual incomes of more than $150,000 currently have high-speed internet; by contrast, nearly half of those with incomes less than $25,000 claim the same.…Read More

7 things you need to know now about E-rate changes

Big E-rate changes mean schools must chart a new path

A bigger annual cap isn’t the only recent change to the E-rate program. New forms, new data, the potential for infrastructure discounts, and (even more) new funding are all colliding to create one of the most challenging application periods in memory. We asked E-rate guru John Harrington, CEO of Funds for Learning, for his application-time thoughts and advice.

There is a lot of funding available

“This year this is a record amount of money available. The FCC increased the funding cap and they’ve been very diligent about going back and accounting for underutilized discounts. When schools apply for their discounts, they have to provide an estimate, and usually they err on the high side because you can’t go back later. It’s like if I told you, ‘Hey, you can get a discount on your phone bill, but you need to estimate it now.’ You might go back and add a few points.

“There’s often little percentage points that were underutilized, because they just weren’t needed. Those dollars accumulate over time, and, this past December, resulted in a rollover of a few billion dollars. Between the increase and the leftover dollars, they have over $5 billion to commit for projects.”…Read More

S.C. education leaders want $30 million to help schools go wireless

The S.C. Education Oversight Committee wants state lawmakers to spend $30 million next year on technology to improve wireless access in school buildings across the state, reports the heraldonline.com. The request, said members of the state’s education research and accountability arm, comes as public school districts increasingly set goals to give every student a computer or wireless device, and as testing and classroom instruction move online. The request is about $20 million more than lawmakers have been spending on internet technology. The General Assembly has spent $10 million annually for the last five years to increase internet bandwidth in school buildings, many of which have hard-wired internet access. Going wireless requires an investment in more expensive technology, said Melanie Barton, the Oversight Committee’s executive director…

Read more

…Read More