Saturday, December 1, 2012

NODE in Education - A Review #SciChat

I am happy to introduce to you a very cool gadget I have had an opportunity to play with. Here is a video that provides some detail on what NODE is and then I will tell you all about my experience using it. 

I feel like you never know what you are going to get from a Kickstarter campaign. People are talking about all of the awesome things they will do if they get the money, but then they still have to do them. I've contributed to Kickstarter campaigns before and they have all been cool ideas, but I'm still waiting for the products to be complete. I'm really happy to see the turn around on NODE to be so quick. 

I wasn't sure what to expect when I received the NODE. To be honest, its design seemed too simple to do all of the things it claimed, but it did not disappoint. 

The NODE was easy to set up and link to my iPad. (Note: It is only able to connect to the iPhone 4s and above and the 3rd Gen iPad and above.)

Downloading the free app from the app store was a breeze and the instructions found on NODE's website were east to follow. 

I was able to use the Luma, Clima and Therma add-ons to NODE and each one was very cool. They worked well from my iPad without any delay. Readings were very accurate and the gyroscope was spot on. It was cool to watch me move around the NODE and watch the cube on the app swirl around. The app worked great and I did not see any issues with the app or glitches in general. It worked just how it was supposed to work. 

I was able to control the lights on my Luma add-on from across the room and the reading from Clima and Therma seemed spot on. It is a fun tool to have around the house to keep track of information, provide light when needed and look for possible areas of the house that might be losing heat. 

Here is a nice picture of all of their products.

Here is a good description of NODE's parts

For school, I see this fitting in very nicely in Science classrooms. All of the different features that NODE offers is perfect for all of the different types of Science classes you would see in school. Physics could use the basic KORE for motion and speed, Earth Science and Biology could use THERMA and OXA for measurements and Chemistry could use OXA as well. I could see NODE fitting in very well with the data collection that is standard in Science classrooms. 

Students that have devices that are able to connect to NODE's bluetooth could use one to take their measurements and email the results to themselves. A class devices could also me used so that students working in groups could use NODE to take their measurements and send via email for evaluation. 

The basic KORE is $149.00 and the prices for the additional pieces range from the $25.00 LUMA to the $149.00 OXA. Add to that the price of a Bluetooth device that can connect to NODE, it becomes a pricey gadget for measurements. At the current pricing levels, I do not see NODE as a device a teacher would by a class set of for all students to use, but I could see NODE with all of the add-ons used within a department to be shared at various times. Educational pricing might be able to help get more NODEs in the classroom. 

Overall, this was a very cool gadget that can make taking measurements more interesting for students in the classroom and for the teachers as well. The price might be prohibitive to some, but as a department, I think the purchase would make sense for student and teacher use.