Developing new tools for data collection and analysis
Probeware refers to educational applications of probes, interfaces and software used for real-time data acquisition, display, and analysis with a computer or calculator.
probeware is also known as Microcomputer Based Labs or MBL. When used with a calculator, it is known as Calculator Based Labs or CBL.
By connecting probes to a computer running suitable software, students can observe data displayed in a variety of formats as it is being collected. When used in an inquiry-based learning context, this capacity can significantly increase and speed learning.
Bob Tinker and Stephen Bannasch, founders of the Concord Consortium, started developing probeware at TERC twenty-five years ago. Ever since then they have been promoting the educational value of using computers to display real-time datalogger for school..
Our most recent work is focused on probeware for handheld computers. We have developed new probeware software called CCProbe which is built upon the open source CC LabBook System. CCProbe works on Palms and PocketPC handheld computers as well as MacOS, Windows, and Unix desktop operating systems. This work all falls under an umbrella we call CCProbeware. The work is described in an article in the Winter 2002 @Concord newsletter Probeware Takes a Seat in the Classroom.
We also have a site devoted to catalogging and reviewing current probeware and handheld computer systems called ProbeSight.
Earlier at the Concord Consortium we developed the concept of SmartProbes for the Science Learning in Context project. The Exploratorium Electronic Guidebook and the Data and Models projects extended this work into both wireless networked probeware and probeware for handhelds.
The TEEMSS project has continued work extending probeware for use with inexpensive portable handheld computers.
We are also helping the Jason Academy integrate probes into their online teacher programs.