How to use a microscope for remote education
There’s no better time to investigate microscopes that are suitable for remote learning.
Fortunately, with modern digital microscopes and teleconferencing software it’s entirely possible to provide engaging virtual lessons at any distance.
Your students will be able to stay connected and informed regardless of any lockdown and quarantine.
What you’ll need
- Digital microscope (and software)
- Computer or tablet
- Prepared slides or samples
- Teleconferencing software (Teams, Zoom, etc.)
As long as the microscope image is transferred to your computer screen so that it can be shared with your students, you’re good to go.
You’ll be able to show them anything you put under your microscope, or even images and video you recorded earlier.
Here are a few suggestions on how to give your class a good beginning.
Share your screen
While it’s no substitute for a hands-on experience, you can still provide the essentials of the lesson by sharing your microscope mastery with the students.
By sharing your screen you’ll be able to show all the relevant subject matter. With the control sin our practised hand, no time will be lost, and you’ll be able to provide an efficient learning experience.
Anything you do under the microscope will be visible to your students. For added interest, use teleconferencing software or microscope/camera software to highlight or label important details while you work.
Share control with your students
Some teleconferencing software (although not all) allows other people to draw, annotate or point at what’s on the screen. Give your students control of the screen – interactivity can make a lesson more exciting and engaging. This approach can also be a good format for quizzes or question and answer sessions.
Share images and video
Using your microscope and software, you can record interesting images and videos in advance to share with your students.
Play the videos on your shared screen, then share the videos with students afterward so they’ll have them as a resource during assignments. You can also use any footage you find online for a more varied lesson.
Although it does require a little more effort and a separate webcam or camera, you can also show the class the components of the microscope and demonstrate how they work.
Have the microscope feed and webcam in separate windows on your screen simultaneously so you can demonstrate the practical effects of adjusting the microscope components as you describe them.
While remotely accessing a microscope is technically possible, it’s not feasible in an educational setting.
A casual alternative is the use of virtual microscopes found online, which simulate the use of a microscope and its basic functions by using sample slides and simplified controls.
Used in conjunction with a lesson plan and the practical demonstrations of your digital microscope, they can be a novel and valuable tool for remote learning.