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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.

Photo of Loreto Students working with the Datalogging equipment.Heart Rate ProbeData Logging Interface

 

What is datalogging?

A laboratory tool that allows a computer to

Diagram of Datalogging system overview.
  • collect data
  • analyse data
  • and control experiments

How can the tool be used in the classroom?

  • Student Experiments
  • Demonstrations

Dissemination
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.

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Outcomes
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.

 

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