Melissa Baker is on the cutting edge with her Nanotechnology class at Newport High School in Bellevue, Washington. She’s using SEP’s iPads and her own Exo Lab Focus cameras to do some microscopy imaging during her labs. The students were then going print off their photos to put into their physical lab book.
iPads are notorious for making it difficult to remove iPad created files. In the past I had always used Dropbox to upload files and then download them into .zip files and email to the teacher. Melissa Baker’s class wanted to have the files during the class period so they didn’t have to spend time on that portion of the lab in their next class period. Dropbox however made this a little more difficult than it needed to be. They have a queue system in place that only allows one file to uploaded at a time. This makes it difficult when there are ten groups uploading five pictures each because often times files will get stuck and not allow others to upload. As a result, we only got around half the class uploaded and printed by the end of the period. I then went back to the office to upload and email the rest of the students’ pictures to Melissa.
The challenge forced me find a solution for next time and hopefully we’ll be able to streamline the workflow for the next period.
I went back again to Eastlake High School, this time to Lara Hollingworth’s class. This class was a repeat lab that I supported in Jennifer Gumas’s class and the result was essentially the same.
The students had a great time looking at all the different cell types, the elodea, and cheek cells being crowd favorites. The Exo Lab Focus camera really showcase the different cells. The students are able to see the chloroplasts, nuclei, and other organelles.
The process of getting each student their media was the same as the previous week. Each student uploaded their pictures to their blog on the school intranet and from there they were able to manipulate and place each picture into their lab reports.
It can be challenging to get media from the iPad to another device in order for the students to complete their assignment but there’s always a solution. Luckily the solution this time was one that the students could help themselves with, instead of the alternative, which would be me trying to organize each students’ pictures. I’ve certainly come out ahead in this new workflow at Eastlake High School.
At Gig Harbor High School they wanted their turn with the Exo Lab Focus Camera. The first couple of periods we had to improvise a little bit because the outlets were in the middle of the floor. Access to electrical outlets is usually not a challenge in science classrooms but this classroom was the rare exception. The outlet locations forced us to have the students work at their desks. With limited outlets we were forced to have 1 camera per table per table. Students were arranged in groups of 3-4 and the lab went relatively smoothly as it was just an observation lab.
The second half of my day was spent with a different teacher and her two of her classes. In these classes we compeleted a microscopy lab. The students were in groups of two, because of how many cameras we obtained. It’s great to see each student getting some hands on time with our Exo Lab Focus Cameras. Both classes went very smoothly as the students were engaged in the assignment and stayed on task. More often than not the iPads have an enthralling effect on students and the Exo Lab Focus Camera is a great tool for any microscopy lab.
I travelled back to Eastlake High School but this time to visit Jennifer Gumas’s general biology class. Her class did its first parts of the cell lab and wanted SEP’s iPad & Exo Lab Focus camera support to enhance the students’ experience.
During the lab her students looked at all types of cells. For plant cells she had set out onion, potato, and elodea. The students harvested their own cheek cells with a tooth pick for their animal cell. The bacteria cells they looked at were made from pre-made slides bought from a company.
The idea for the lab was for each group to take 5 pictures(one of each organism) and put them in their lab report. The challenge presented itself when the school’s internet has now blocked all Google and Dropbox URLs. This was how I had transferred the pictures from each iPad to the students in the past couple of years. However, this year the school district had blocked both Google and Dropbox, so as a result we were forced to have each student upload their own pictures via the school’s software. This turned out to be a very great way to get the students what they needed, with less work on my end.
Even with a few unexpected bumps in the road, my time at Eastlake was well spent and we definitely got some great pictures of plant and animal cells!
Madonna Brinkmann at Kentridge High School was interested in getting her students brushed up on their microscopy. With the help of SEP’s newly donated Exo Lab Focus Cameras(we have nine in total now), I was able to come and really help her students get down and dirty with some pond water specimens.
We set up her room so there was 18 microscope stations, 9 with the Exo Lab Focus Camera attached and 9 that didn’t have the Focus camera attached. Students then broke up into small groups of 2-3. They made slides of pond water and under the microscope worked to identify different organisms.
The students were mostly upper class men and really enjoyed the experience. The lesson itself was more free form so the students go to choose their groups and experience microscopy more or less at their own pace. By the end of the week each student really understood how much life was really living in that nasty pond water and they loved watching all the organisms swim around.
On Friday I drove out to Timberline High School in Lacey for the first classes of the 2014-15 school year. It was a long day and early morning drive to get there for 1st period. Joan Marshall’s Biology and Anatomy & Physiology classes took advantage of the Exo Lab Focus camera and 40 of our iPads to study during their class period.
In the Biology classes, Joan started off with some slides projected with Focus Camera, I then passed out an iPad to each student.
For this to go as smoothly as possible I have created a sign-out sheet. The sheet is very basic, each student writes his/her name and the number of the iPad they are being given. At the end of the period before everyone leaves I collect them and check off the iPads one by one.
Once each student had an iPad they used 3D Cell Simulation and Stain Tool by Invitrogen Corp. to locate organelles and write a description onto their worksheet. This app has greatly improved in recent updates and while at its core is still used to sell stains for laboratories, it also has a wealth of knowledge about parts of the cell.
In her Anatomy and Physiology classes students took an online quiz from Hole’s Human Anatomy and Physiology website. The quiz was 40 questions and added to grade book at the end of the period by each student showing Joan their scores(they could take the test more than once).
Overall, my time at Timberline High School was well spent, and while there wasn’t a grand lesson plan prepared it was a good opportunity for the students to get access to some technology and it’s great hearing students say things like “Thanks for coming!” and “This is the first time I’ve touched an iPad!” It really makes everything worth while.
Glacier Peak High School is once again pairing up with the Seattle Aquarium. The Aquarium is continuing to monitor the shoreline at Lighthouse Beach Park in Mukilteo. Jean’s success with the iPads last year beckons a second go around this year.
I met Jean’s class and representatives from the Seattle Aquarium at 8:30 in the morning. Each student group then got an iPad, they used their iPads to take pictures and notes of the coastline and organisms they are studying. Groups took 50 to 150 pictures as well as notes that I uploaded to dropbox. In order to complete, the students then collected their notes and photos.
The iPads work well in this situation because they’re able to both take pictures and notes with one wireless device. The notes are contained next to the photos and easily transferable once the iPads are connected back to the internet.
The downside to using these outside of the classroom is there is a larger chance for loss and destruction. Fortunately, we only lost an iPad magnetic cover, so only a minor loss. All in all, this was a good experience. The students and learning benefited great amounts. As long as that continues, we’ll be back next year!