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SPARKS Virtual Electronics Project
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Virtual Electronics, Anywhere, Anytime

The NSF-ATE project Simulations for Performance Assessments that Report on Knowledge and Skills (SPARKS) produced the SPARKS Portal to offer your students access to a virtual lab where they can turn knobs, blow fuses, and receive feedback before they step foot in your electronics lab. You’re invited to field test software that teaches introductory electronics with a virtual breadboard, components, and test equipment.

SPARKS includes an array of activities that simulate AC and DC circuits with randomized values starting with the basic digital multimeter and series/parallel circuit designs and progressing to AC circuits with an oscilloscope and function generator. The SPARKS software monitors, records, and interprets student performance and generates scored reports with visual indicators of success. Both individual student and class progress is recorded, allowing instructors to monitor each student’s performance on distinct skills.

The SPARKS activities are presented in a game-like environment, encouraging advancement to higher levels with greater scores. The online system monitors students’ actions and provides feedback, helpful hints, and online tutorials to support skills needing improvement.

To get started, visit: http://concord.org/sparks/cord.  The SPARKS project team at CORD is available to answer questions, offer guidance, and assist instructors in setting up their classes. Contact project director John Chamberlain at chamber@cord.org for assistance. There is no cost to high schools or community/technical colleges to participate.

SPARKS is a project of CORD, the Concord Consortium, and Tidewater Community College.

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