Judy Shaw at Auburn Riverside High School had her general Biology class use SEP iPads all week for a number of different activities!
Each year she has her students work on a cell poster that has a drawn diagram of a plant, animal, or bacteria cell. The students lab each organelles then present their cell poster to the whole class. This year they were able to use the iPads to do their research which led to more variation of drawings because of the different reference drawings they could use instead of just using the one they have in their text books.
During the second half of the week Judy wanted to try using the Exo Lab Focus Camera during her cell microscopy lab. This allowed her to see what her students were viewing and able to help them identify the different parts of each cell. A lot of times students lack basic microscopy skills and the Focus Camera allows for the teacher to see and prevent out of focus slides and fixation on air bubbles.
iPads elevated the learning in Judy Shaw’s classroom at Auburn Riverside by adding elements of interactivity and expanded references. In the end, it’s a great opportunity for students to learn digital media skills along side biology.
At Kent Meridian High School, Rene Pointras’s biology classes are working on microscopy. She thought it would be a good idea to include me and the iPads in on some of her lab activities.
When I say she wanted to include me in her lab I mean that in the most literal sense. I was the subject of an impromptu Q&A session about my job and education. This was something I’d never done before and it was a lot of fun. Her students were all apart of a media/STEM program in Kent to encourage and inspire students to expand their career choices. I was able to share my background in Film and Television production as well as what I do here at SEP. My hope is that they can see the diversity of opportunities that exist after high school.
She was also able to use the Exo Lab Focus camera with each of her lab groups. They were studying different types of cells and their organelles. And like most classes the students loved seeing onion cells and cheek cells up close! It always makes me smile when I can see the light in each students eyes as they get excited about science!
Lara Hollingworth has been working with C. Elegans at Eastlake High School for years now and SEP has support her with iPads and Exo Lab cameras. The cameras allow her students to be involved while she keeps them on track by being able to see exactly what they’re looking at. Lara helps them measure the worms and identify which life cycle they are in.
In addition, Lara sometimes uses Apple TV to live stream what some of the more successful groups are seeing in their worms. She also uses this to have groups show their pictures and videos they recorded to the entire class.
Lara has been using this lesson in her curriculum for quite sometime. Exo Labs has gone defunct and the support to their camera’s software is going to be running out soon. This means that Lara and everyone else currently using the Focus Camera are going to need to reevaluate what they will be using for digital imaging in the future. But for now Lara is continuing to use the iPad and Exo Lab Focus Camera combination.
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!