His biggest challenge was keeping his students engaged in science. He found that he could hold their attention through a combination of daily demonstrations and highly creative, interactive labs.
After receiving a Master’s in General Science from Oregon State University, Dave taught high school physics for the next eight years in Hillsboro, Oregon. During the summer, Dave had time to program and tinker with software applications he’d been using in his classes, which helped his students see real-life data and scientific phenomena in real time.
The tools Dave used in his earliest classes were the basis for what was to become Vernier Software and Technology’s core curriculum of physics and science products. In 1981, Dave placed a small ad in a physics teacher journal, thinking he might be able to sell some of his software to supplement his teaching income. The ad, which promoted physics programs for $18 per diskette, brought in a couple hundred dollars that first year.
Thanks to thoughtful business moves and a focus on creating products that served educators’ most urgent needs, the company grew slowly but steadily. Dave taught for a few more years as he wrote software and designed hardware for use in physics classes. By 1984, the needs of the business compelled Dave to leave teaching and devote his time entirely to the company.
Since those early years, the company has grown to 115 employees, and has partnered with world-class companies such as Texas Instruments, Google, Microsoft, and more. Our products have expanded to support chemistry, biology, engineering, environmental sciences, and K–8 science.
Today, Dave’s years in the classroom continue to guide the development of all of Vernier Software & Technology’s products. Dave and wife/co-founder, Christine, remain mindful of the unique needs of educators, developing curriculum and products, including data-collection software, sensors, and interfaces that are dynamic and relevant for students, yet are easy for teachers to use. All Vernier employees know the importance of hands-on education in the sciences, and they maintain a focus on developing high-quality products that are still within the budgets of teachers and schools.
“Every product we offer has been developed in direct response to a need or a usage suggested by a teacher,” says John Wheeler, CEO at Vernier. “We try to build as much flexibility into our hardware and software products as possible, so teachers can use them as a starting point and take them as far as they want or need.”
As Christine Vernier puts it, “Our goal is to make sure teachers have what they need, when they need it, along with the best support we can provide.”