Sunday, August 8, 2010

Advantages Of Teaching With The Digital Microscope

Advantages Of Teaching With The Digital Microscope

Technology has been extensively used in the field of scientific research and much debate has been on for implementing it in the education system. The argument sighted in this regard is that introducing new technology at an early age would help students better understand the different aspect of subjects such as biology, chemistry, earth science and environmental science. Introduction of technology such as the digital microscope is now seen as an integral part of teaching rather than an add-on to the instructional methods already in place.

As stated by Kara Dawson,“We refer to our technology integration as a continuing evolution because each semester more faculty members are incorporating technology in their courses and more faculty members are experimenting with new forms of technology integration.” (Dawson, K. (2004). Illustrations of technology integration in the Unified Elementary Proteach program. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 4(1), 64-72).

Use of the computer microscope such as the SmartScope has changed the way both teachers and students view seemingly difficult subjects such as science. Educators especially see the digital microscope as a potent, hands-on tool for the students to handle with minimal supervision. Introducing such a technology at an early age also ensures that students who desire to take up teaching as a profession in future also learn the advantages of using such instruments while teaching.

The digital microscope allows a more inclusive and interactive classroom technology rather than the teacher getting entangled in teaching how to operate an instrument. The intuitive design ensures that even students from elementary school are able to operate with ease.

Different aspects being taught in the subjects such as biology can be easily conveyed using a practical approach with the digital microscope. For instance, students can be instructed to make a continuous video or a time lapse video to learn different stages of plant growth.

For this purpose they can plant a seed and keep it under observation using the video feature of the digital microscope. Once the germination period is over, they can wait till the first leaves start appearing and again take a video till the leaves come out completely. These two videos can then be viewed together, showing stages of plant growth in one continuous stream.

The digital microscope is a useful educational tool, enabling the teachers to show the finer details of the object under study. For instance, while teaching cell structure, students can actually view a cell through the digital microscope. The instrument offers high resolution imaging of up to 1280 to 1024 and magnification ranging from 10x to 200x.

Apart from this, there are 6 LED lights enable clear view of the cell being studied. The image taken through the digital microscope can be easily viewed on a computer monitor or projected on a screen, allowing the entire class to view and discuss different parts of the cell.

Implementation of technology in the field of education has given the teachers an opportunity to enhance their teaching skills. They can now concentrate on teaching the finer aspects of the object under investigation. This also allows them to be more interactive with the class, enabling in-depth discussion of the subject.

By: David Walling

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