The Loreto Secondary School had a networked computer room
when applications were being sought for SIP. The Science teachers
in the school felt that data logging equipment in Biology,
Chemistry and Physics would be of benefit to their teaching
methodologies. This equipment could also be used for practical/experimental
work in class and students have the opportunity to use it
in project work. By Easter 2000, all the equipment and software
was delivered to the school. The suppliers of the Data Logging
equipment gave training sessions to the team.
tool that allows a computer to
- collect data
- analyse data
- and control
How can the
tool be used in the classroom?
- Student Experiments
In October, the Kilkenny/Carlow
branch of the Irish Science Teachers Association organised
an evening for schools undertaking data logging SIP projects
to disseminate their findings to date. Helen Renehan, Project
Leader in the Loreto demonstrated how she uses the equipment
to measure heart beat rates. Conor Goggin, Presentation College
Cork showed how data logging could be used in Physics. Fergus
O'Brien, Colaíste Muire, Cobh demonstrated how the equipment
can be use to explain Charles Law and Boyles Law in Chemistry.
Noel Clare from Our Lady's Cross & Passion in Kilcullen illustrated
how data logging equipment can be used to record data on field
trips and subsequently analysed in the lab.
In January 2001, Helen
Renehan attended the Esat Young Scientists Exhibition where
she and some of her students gave demonstrations on how to
use data logging equipment. The students were Ann Beckett,
Emma Collins, Gemma Dowling and Rose McKillen.
Two other workshops
were also given: in UCC in January and in Blackrock College,
Dublin in April on behalf of the Irish Science Teacher's Association.
As one teacher
said, "if this equipment will help us to cover the course
faster, in a more interesting way, using modern teaching methods,
it (data logging equipment) will be used." This is slowly
proving to be the case when it comes to demonstration work.
The results of an experiment can be simultaneously projected
onto a screen from the computer monitor and students can see
the graphs being created as the experiment is being conducted.
This allows the teacher the time in class to ask "what if"
questions i.e. more time is available for the analysis rather
than being spent on the recording of the results. In this
school there are two computers on trolleys that can be wheeled
from the Chemistry to the Biology room or vice versa as the
rooms are side by side. However, as the science labs are already
very congested laptops would be a lot more convenient. The
image of science in secondary schools will be greatly enhanced
by the use of technology such as data logging equipment. As
the Department of Education and Science are providing funds
for ICTs in science laboratories in schools this project will
continue into the future. However, it is hoped that ideally
more students will in time have hands on use of this technology.