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.
Digital microscopes are great for educational purposes. Many students can view the specimen at once when the camera is hooked up to a computer. This saves time and ensures that all of the students will get to see the same specimen. People can save images viewed through digital microscopes to computers, allowing them to access the image later. This is perfect for a school setting as it lets students recall the image if they need to later describe it or write about its details.
Educational microscopes play a valuable role in today's education and research. As a great education tool, these microscopes help the students to view magnified images of everything from plant cell walls to butterfly wings. Educational microscopes offer maximum flexibility and accuracy for viewing images.
As there are different types of educational microscopes, the one chosen must best suit the student's requirement. A low-power microscope - also called stereo or dissecting microscope - is used to view larger things like stamps, coins, and sand grains. Mostly, it is supplied with 10X and 20X eye pieces. As it is easy to focus, this type of microscope is especially suited for younger children. There are three models to choose from - single power, two powers, and zoom type stereo microscope.
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.
Educational microscopes are equipped with triple or quadruple nosepiece, coaxial coarse for accurate focusing, and reflecting mirror. A condenser with magnification indication is also offered. To get optimum resolution, the diaphragm of the condenser is provided with position guide markings for different objectives. Additional features such as illuminator and stopper for slide safety are also available.
There are several different models of digital microscopes. Some have one eyepiece like most conventional microscopes. A handful of models are stereo microscopes, meaning that they have two eyepieces. All digital microscopes have numerous features that make them great tools for education and research.
Once the students have compiled the necessary data using images, video, PowerPoint slideshows or completed worksheets, it can be easily archived on a CD, thumb drive, emailed or posted online for others to view. This compilation can also be assembled as portfolios, to verify and assess students' progress. Use of digital microscopes such as the SmartScope makes it easy for the teachers and for the school to make accurate assessment, as it consumes less time and takes much lesser effort. This time can then be utilized with the students to help them better understand the concepts.
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