Choosing a Digital Microscope For Teachers and StudentsMay 6, 2020
Technology has become an integral part of education in the recent times. With the advent of digital microscopes working on different types of laboratory experiments has become simpler than ever before. Digital microscopes were earlier utilized only by scientists for research purposes. However, this technology has effectively been implemented in the education system as well. Before such technology can be introduced to the students, it is imperative that teachers too are aware of the benefits of using digital microscopes. This would ensure smooth flow of instruction allowing the teachers to move on from concept to actual application.
For instance, explaining cell multiplication or plant growth is of no use if students are not able to visualize it. Even if the teacher draws a diagram to explain the concept in a better manner, actually viewing a phenomenon has a much more lasting effect. Students are very keen on knowing new ideas and aspects of a subject. However, lectures need not be lengthy and boring rhetoric of technical words. With instruments like the digital microscope learning has become more interactive, where students can immediately view the concept being taught. For instance, while teaching structures of rock or sand, the teacher can immediately show the structures by displaying the image on the computer monitor or by connecting through the projector. This enables the entire class to actually view what is being taught, thus enhancing the capability to comprehend the subject in total.
To insure the digital microscope is as useful as possible for classroom implementation, several factors should be considered:
Magnification: Level and flexibility of magnification is critical. The magnification ranging from 10x to 200x provides a clear view of the object being studied, be it a rock sample or structure of a cell.
Resolution: Resolution is another big factor. If the images will be viewed on a large computer monitor or through a data projector, high resolution is critical so the image quality does not distract students. A resolution of 1280×1024 is recommended.
Flexibility: A digital microscope should be durable and flexible. The hand held digital microscope is extremely useful because it can be moved to the specimen rather than the specimen being moved to it. It allows students to explore soil and rock specimens in an investigative manner. It also allows students to press the scope against their arm or hand to view sweat seeping through the pores. This can not easily (if at all) be observed with a traditional microscope.
Price: Cost effectiveness is critical in education. A quality hand held digital microscope can be obtained for under $200.
Software: Software designed for education use is also a must. The software should allow students to zoom in to see greater detail, should allow students to take time-lapse videos as well as still images and regular videos, and should allow students to measure specimens. Captured images can then be printed and attached with the lab report or be used in a PowerPoint presentation.
Students are more receptive to theory when it is taught alongside actual application. For instance, students may not be able to really visualize the life cycle of an insect, simply because they have never seen it in real. Some digital microscopes are packaged as part of an educational kit to make implementation much easier. The SmartScope can be packaged with a Life Cycle specimen kit displaying the life cycle of a moth in four stages, eggs, caterpillar, pupae and moth. This is a very good way of making the students understand the basic stage, where the teacher can explain how these are similar or different from other insects.
The digital microscope has truly empowered teachers and students alike. Teachers are now doubly equipped to explain different concepts while easily relating it to the real world. The implementation of such technology at the school level, has given education a more research based approach than simply being instructional.