As technology in scientific fields continues to advance, some classrooms are having a hard time keeping up. In an age where digital microscopy tools are accessible, too many schools are clinging to the use of traditional optical microscopes in the classroom, even when the benefits of digital microscopes far outnumber those of traditional microscopes. Why is this the case?
Some administrators worry that upgrading technology in the science classroom will be too distracting for the students, and if we want to make sure our students retain the information we're trying to teach them, we have to try and keep the distractions to a minimum. But what if we told you that students tend to be MORE productive and retain MORE information when they have access to better technology? Below, we're going to list ten benefits like the one we just explained below in order to show you how and why the benefits of digital microscopes in the classroom far outweigh the possible disadvantages.
- Using digital microscopes in the classroom keeps your students on the cutting edge of technology. In order to encourage students to grow into future biologists and scientists, it's important to educate them about the latest technology in laboratories. While it's true that many scientists use technology far more advanced than your average digital microscope, a digital microscope will give your students a better understanding of future technologies than a standard optical microscope will.
- Digital microscopes are more efficient than traditional microscopes. Because of how easy digital microscopes are to use, and because of the way they can show an image to multiple people at once when they're displayed on a screen, you'll save precious classroom time that used to be wasted on students taking turns looking through a microscope one-by-one. The features that digital microscopes have, allow you to use your classroom time to actually teach your students the subject matter instead of how to use a more traditional microscope.
- Because digital microscopes display their samples on a screen, all of your students can study the same sample at once without fear of mishandling a traditional microscope or not being able to focus the lens correctly. Even when each student has his or her own traditional microscope, it's too easy for them to mishandle their samples because of carelessness and inexperience. By using a digital microscope to display samples on a screen, you have the assurance that your students will see exactly what you want them to.
- Digital microscopes are physically more comfortable to use than traditional microscopes, which require the user to hunch over the eyepiece in order to study samples. In fact, many digital microscopes are handheld, which allows students to study samples that are too large or awkward to fit on a traditional microscope stand. Use a digital microscope with a stand or walk around the room with it–the limitless possibilities are sure to excite even your least excitable students!
- Our students are growing up in such a way that high-tech tools feel intuitive and easy to use. Just because our generation grew up with traditional microscopes doesn't mean that the younger generation should. Digital microscopes will probably be much easier for them to understand than traditional microscopes since new technology comes so easily to them anyway. Making that learning curve as simple for them as possible will allow them to focus on and better retain the real subject matter that you're trying to teach them.
- Because young people are very interested in technology, using a digital microscope in the classroom will keep them engaged and fascinated by the subject matter. Even though administrators are worried that new technology will be distracting, some studies have shown that digital microscopes have the opposite effect. Students are often so excited to use the new technology that they learn a lot more than students with traditional optical microscopes!
- Using digital microscopes in the classroom can improve students' productivity and interactivity since they have to figure out the software programs together to examine and take images of their samples. Additionally, they can compare the images they each took of the same sample and better understand the specimens they're studying.
- Because digital microscopes can save images and videos of samples, the samples can be examined later instead of students trying to remember what exactly they saw while they were in the classroom or using limited class time to take detailed notes. For students who are learning about biological processes, the ability to revisit the same sample they studied in class over and over again is invaluable to the learning process.
- Technology that allows students to be hands-on even while you're instructing them tends to be more effective and helps your students retain more information than simple lectures and note-taking.
- Digital microscopes, and the software they utilize, are relatively inexpensive, especially when one considers all the incredible educational benefits that they provide.
Whether you're an elementary science schoolteacher or a biology teacher for high schoolers, consider switching to digital microscopes in your classroom today: we think you'll be impressed!