Pasco Sparkvue and Passport AirLink2
By Ben Smith and Jared Mader
Many new tools are gain- ing traction in the science classroom as schools adopt
Digital probeware is one example.
Traditional sensors could connect
only to district-owned workstations,
which were tied to lab tables and
bound by proprietary software that
was licensed to the school districts
alone. Early attempts at mobile data
collection produced devices that were
limited in capability and had connection issues. Thankfully, this paradigm
Pasco’s Sparkvue HD is a mobile
probeware app available for iOS and
Android. It serves as a translator
between a mobile device and Pasco’s
multitude of probes.
Data collection with mobile devices
involves both software and hardware.
To get up and running, you will need
either the iOS version, available from
the i Tunes store, or the Android version,
available from Pasco’s website. Both
versions of Sparkvue HD cost $9.99
per copy. The iOS version is eligible for
Apple’s volume purchase program.
You will also need one Passport Air-
Link2 interface, sold through Pasco
for $159 for each sensor you want to
connect to an iOS or Android device.
The AirLink2 uses a Bluetooth connection to communicate with mobile
devices. The unit allows you to plug
just one sensor in at a time, but there
are more than 70 to choose from and
many of these combine measurements, such as absolute pressure and
Sparkvue HD offers a suite of display and analytical tools within an integrated learning
environment that includes reflection prompts and journaling.
The AirLink2 is a single port that connects
Pasco sensors to iPad or Android tablets
temperature or temperature, humidity, and dew point.
Setting up the app involves a few cum-
bersome steps. First, we had to con-
nect the AirLink2 to an iOS device via
Bluetooth. Because students complete
lab work in the same space, having a
number of AirLink2s in the classroom
opens up the possibility of connectiv-
ity errors. We found that students
would occasionally choose the wrong
interface and join the probeware of
another group. Fortunately, each Air-
Link2 has a five-digit ID on the back
so students can quickly identify their
devices. Once the interface and mo-
bile device establish a link, students
can plug in a sensor to the AirLink2.