The digital microscope is the latest development in the field of microscopy. This device is very useful when the teacher wants to assess the performance of students. Capturing images has become both simple and fast compared to other conventional methods such as practical experiments. Performance standards are generally chalk in the education system. Sometimes it is difficult to justify and carry them out well. The use of a digital microscope helps to consolidate existing school standards.
Digital microscopes, such as SmartScope, are one of the most effective methods of assessing students’ ability to observe, study and record different aspects of the sample, be it in biology, earth sciences, chemistry or environmental sciences. As Dr. Martin G. Horejsi suggests, “instead of drawing a conventional laboratory notepad, students can capture a multitude of images genuinely detailing their journey into the micro-world” (Horejsi). (Horejsi, M. (2007). An image is worth words: Digital Imaging as a powerful assessment tool ED-Media World Conference Conference on Multimedia Education, Hypermedia and Telecommunications, Vancouver, Canada).
The digital microscope can be used to take still images, which is a much better way of presenting captured data compared to traditional drawings, which may not be very accurate. The digital microscope can be connected using a USB port and capture images in no time at the click of a mouse. The device is easy to use and can be easily operated even by young students. Changes in the observed sample can be accurately recorded by taking a picture at the right time. This is a great way to document static samples.
Images can then be presented using PowerPoint. Images can be enlarged to take a closer look at different parts of the sample, which is helpful for a thorough and detailed examination. Students can also present images to show a specific process under observation. For example, images in a chemical process, such as confirmatory tests, can be recorded in different stages, where the colour or state of the substance can easily be taken at the right time and presented in a series of images in a slide show.
In the case of tests to record the behaviour of a sample over a certain period of time, a digital microscope provides the possibility to record video and time-lapse films. For example, seed tested during the germination process can be easily recorded with SmartScope. The video can be recorded within a few hours and the result can be seen within a minute. This can be done up to a limit of 180:1, i.e. a 180-minute video recording can be seen in a minute. Changes can even be measured using the digital microscope’s measurement function.
Once students have collected the necessary data using images, videos, PowerPoint slideshows or completed worksheets, they can easily be archived on a CD, thumb drive, email or email so that others can watch them online. The compilation can also be collected as a portfolio to verify and evaluate student progress. The use of digital microscopes such as SmartScope makes it easier for teachers and the school to make an accurate assessment as it takes less time and effort. This time can then be used with students to help them better understand these concepts.