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Fort Hays Prof Honored for the Innovative Use of Tech in Engineering Ed

High altitude ballooning was the key to this year's college-level winner in an annual competition put on by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and Vernier, a company that sells scientific equipment for teachers. Paul Adams, a physics professor at Fort Hays State University, in Kansas won the award for his use of sensor technology in an engineering course where students conduct high-altitude research using balloons.

Six teachers at the K-12 level also won awards in the competition. Each was honored during this year's NSTA National Conference and received $1,000 in cash, $3,000 in Vernier products and $1,500 toward travel expenses to attend the event in Boston.

Adams said he plans to have students migrate the Vernier sensors to an Arduino open-source electronics prototyping platform to create a lighter system, which reduces the cost of the balloon launch.

"The use of data-collection technology provides students from kindergarten to college with the opportunity to engage in hands-on scientific learning," said David Vernier, co-founder of Vernier and a former physics teacher. "Each of this year's award winners demonstrated truly innovative ways that probeware can enhance the teaching and learning processes in science and STEM classrooms."

The 2015 technology award application is currently available on the Vernier site at The deadline is November 30, 2014.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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