When Technology is the Solution

So, you may have also seen some rather cryptic pictures being posted on ParaEducate social media a month ago. These are some of our photos here.

Printed media at 200x

Printed media at 200x


Muscle tissue cells at 200x. Black rectangular frame with pink circle in the middle. Muscle cells at 200x.

These photos were taken with a personal iPhone and a rather amazingly reasonably priced device known as WONBSDOM Universal 200X Zoom LED Clip-On Microscope Lens.

The device is truly a microscope. This “e” was facing right.

A corner of an e.

A corner of an e.

A few weeks ago, we realized we had a challenge on our horizon with some equipment in science. We wanted to head off those challenges and looked at three different devices. We did buy and test out all three devices. Ultimately, we were extraordinarily happy with the Wonbsdom Microscope. Our primary purpose was to use with iPads, but since this device (and all the other devices we looked at) were universal to many devices. We went for the best lens possible, and we chose the 200x Zoom.

Why was this important? Most general education science classes have a “how to use a microscope lab.” And in this lab, the students learn to futz with all the settings of a compound microscope. One of the ways teachers check the students are individually able to use the microscope correctly is to take a series of slides and then the student is told to “draw what they see.” Except, there’s a small problem: for some students, one cannot verify what they can see, not just because of a Visual Impairment, but the surfaces for a microscope may be too high for them to get to see, or they are unable to hold a pencil to draw for an orthopedic impairment. While it may be useful to use a magnifying glass for some objects, magnifying glasses aren’t going to really expose students to freshly mounted onion slices or even a mounted leaf. Nor can a teacher objectively understand what the student is actively seeing during their day.

This device mitigates some of those issues.

I will say, outside of gushing over this device as a solution, it can be hard to use. After clipping the device over the camera, there may be some adjusting that happens. The microscope may not be officially lined up with camera, and that does take some work. In addition, you are now balancing a device about two inches over a table and trying to focus—forcing teamwork to occur to take the best possible photo. There are separate focusing and zoom on the side, that’s also going to take some practice for a good photo. The end results lets students who may have been “just satisfied” thinking they were looking at something and realizing that the tiny things could be seen. Students have a way to add materials to their lab reports that some teachers require.

Some hints: place the item you wish to see on a white background. Printer paper is good enough. The device needs to be flush with the slide or item being examined. We did experiment with building a “shelf” of text books to lean the device on, but we could never get close enough to focus as well as we did when we held the device. Our next step is to literally build a more sturdy platform for use at the exact height needed.

In the world of full disclosure: Wonbsdom did not know we were specifically looking at their lens. We chose them, we tested their device at our expense. We think that this is a valuable tool for teachers and special educators to know and use in their classrooms. Their devices and their respective company names are their property.

Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Find ParaEducate online herehereherehere, and here. ParaEducate is company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.

About paraeducate

ParaEducate is a company run to help reach out to paraeducators or paraprofessionals in public K-12 schools, giving advice, talking about publications that ParaEducate produces, and other useful information regarding working in public school settings.

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