This resource is a narrated animation of the systematic technique of using a compound light microscope with emphasis on using the oil immersion objective. This is one of multiple virtual labs hosted by New Mexico State University.
Type of Material:
This can be used at the beginning of an introductory lab as a in-class activity. It can also be assigned as homework preceding an introductory lab to microscopy or as a lab supplement.
Adobe Flash player.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
To train students to use a compound microscope.
To identify microscope parts and function.
To explain how to calculate magnification.
Target Student Population:
Middle school, high school, lower division college science classes
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Minimal computer skills. Knowledge of gram staining would be helpful but it is not required.
This simulation is a very clearly displayed in a cartoon style
Clear and concise narration
Information provided is current and relevant
Animations are well done and intuitive
Would support the learning preferences of anyone attuned to social media
The coverage of microscope functions is relatively complete
Information boxes are available to provide more detailed explanations
Occasional photographs of actual microscopes and accessories are given
The images are in cartoon style, rather than actual photomicrographs
The virtual tasks result in only one outcome (e.g. moving focus knob)--once this action is complete, the interactivity is shut off
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The mix of visual and written information and the interactive portion all contribute to a clear and concise activity
Each step is clearly demonstrated so it makes it easy to follow directions
The simulation is relatively complete as far as the microscope goes
It is interactive
It is a stand alone activity that familiarizes students with microscopes
Identifies the learning objectives
Builds on prior concept
Provides suggestions for related resources to make the experience optimal
The narration is short and to the point, which caters to beginners and those who prefer multimedia instructions
Requires flash, a plugin that is no longer supported by newer iterations of common browsers
Does not render easily in some browsers
Some aspects may come across as less than useful to some users (e.g. having to virtually plug in the microscope by moving a cartoon image of a plug into an outlet) or patronizing (e.g. having to click the mouse to drag a cartoon kimwipe across a lens forward and back several times before being allowed to progress); these activities must be completed to progress but have only one possible motion of the mouse; these are analogous to questions with one right answer--lower cognitive level
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Navigation and use are intuitive
Menus show the outline and progress through the simulation
If you have the Flash Plugin, the material is easy to use
Information is well organized and easy to understand
There is enough guidance for interactivity
Some of the movements required are difficult to accomplish with a mouse
There are no back buttons and no way to skip ahead
Other Issues and Comments:
Although the resource is a cartoon and may turn off some users, the message is direct and concise. This is a great introduction on light microscopy.
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