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Vernier: An Evolution

Vernier home office circa 1980s

Educators are always looking for ways to incorporate new technology into their teaching. It’s precisely for this reason that in the late seventies our co-founder Dave Vernier started tinkering with programming using the new Apple® II computer, which was released in 1977 and gave way to the widespread use of computers in homes, schools, and offices.

By 1981, Dave Vernier’s software programs were so successful in helping students engage with complex physics concepts that he decided to share these programs with other physics teachers by founding Vernier Software. He put a small ad in an educational magazine to sell these programs—and the rest is history.

As more technologies emerged, Vernier Software evolved. We branched into sensor making, innovated data-collecting interfaces, and expanded our name to Vernier Software & Technology to reflect the change. Inspired by the scientifically adventurous spirit of our co-founder, we remained excited by each new innovation because we knew they would support educators in the classroom. Take a look at how we evolved to serve educators over the past forty years.

Company Milestones

1981

Dave & Christine start Vernier Software in their garage

1982

Graphical Analysis for Apple® II

1989

First Temperature Probe released

1995

First Vernier website is launched

1996

Logger Pro® is introduced

2000

Company moves into current office in Beaverton, OR

2007

Original LabQuest® is released

2008

Then-presidential candidate Barack Obama visits Vernier

Check out these innovative products and their impact in the classroom. 

Graphical Analysis 

Graphical Analysis screenshot circa 1995

Then

Vernier Graphical Analysis was one of the first software programs offered by Vernier in 1981. Prior to Graphical Analysis, students had to spend valuable class time manually graphing data. From Dave’s experience in the classroom, he knew students often felt frustrated by the busywork of making the graphs, and that work distracted from the scientific concepts the graphs were supposed to illuminate. Graphical Analysis was the first educational computer program of its kind to generate graphs, which gave students and educators the ability to put more focus on science.

Now

Today, Graphical Analysis is used by educators and students all over the world. We continue to refine our app and now offer Vernier Graphical Analysis Pro. Educators can use it to create experiments and share the data with students in real time over the internet and can upload their own experiment videos. Seeing data collected right before their eyes helps students connect abstract concepts to real-world applications, no matter where they are learning. Graphical Analysis™ Pro has won several EdTech and STEM awards, reflecting its ability to boost student engagement and support educators no matter where they are teaching. 

Sensors

Vernier Photogate circa 1997

Then

Once Vernier got off the ground, Dave quickly discovered that educators needed tools to collect the data for the graphs. He started providing a parts list to customers that included general instructions for building hardware but soon learned that this wasn’t a viable solution for all educators.

One day, Dave received a call from an educator in Wyoming who needed hardware parts because their nearest electronics store was 100 miles away. Soon Vernier was shipping parts kits—which required soldering irons for assembly—all over the country. By the early nineties, Vernier was offering hardware such as temperature probes and photogates.

Go Direct Photogate

Now

Today, Go Direct sensors have been refined to reflect the ways educators want to teach and the ways students want to learn. By removing sensor cords and providing options for collecting sensor data with our mobile-compatible apps, we free up and expand the range of options for learning. We are able to offer affordable and accurate ways of collecting experiment data. With these sensors, students gain valuable experience using data-collection technology.

LabQuest

Then

LabQuest® data-collection interfaces brought the biggest advancement in educational technology because they made the classroom and laboratory mobile. No need for graph paper or mercury-based thermometers anymore—the LabQuest interface was enough. Students could use a portable interface to conduct experiments rather than the bulky, cumbersome lab setups of the past. For many educators, LabQuest was the tool that catapulted STEM instruction into the 20th and 21st centuries. Science education finally caught up with technology.

Now

LabQuest 3 is the latest model in our innovative family of data-collection interfaces, and it shows just how far technology has evolved since the original LabQuest. Engaging students in three-dimensional learning as they learn about the natural world is essential for success in STEM, and LabQuest 3 is a great tool to meet that goal.  LabQuest 3 is fully portable—helping students perform experiments anywhere using most any Vernier sensor. It boasts a new capacitive touch screen for smooth navigation and a full set of experiment instructions to support students as they collect data. It’s the perfect tool for laboratories, classrooms, or in-the-field investigations.

We’re excited to see where the future leads us, and we’re even more excited to help educators bring the innovations of tomorrow into the classroom and laboratory. 

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