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Biology Lab Installs Upgraded Technology

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Dr. Tim Mullican's biology students have some cool tech to assist them in their lab activities. Recently the department purchased two Richter microscopes with Moticam wifi cameras. The software that powers the cameras is available as an app that students can download to their devices.

The high resolution camera sends a live image of the material mounted on the slide to the students' computers, iPads or phones. There the student can study the structure of the sample, save a high-res photo micrograph and make their notes and identifications directly on the digital photo. This frees up the microscopes so that more students can use them and allows all members of the lab to get their work done on their own device, at their own pace.

Dr. Mullican really likes that the technology enables the students to participate in active learning and predicts that they will likely learn more about the samples than by just memorizing the details.

Previously there were microscopes with cameras in the lab, but the only way to access the image was to plug in with a cord. Also, the resolution of the new cameras is 60% higher.

Dr. Mullican noted that his colleague Dr. Kayla Miller had recently purchased 12 of the cameras to mount on microscopes in her microbiology lab. DWU's lab will be nearly unique to have a full lab outfitted with wifi cameras. Usually there are just one or two in a lab for demonstration purposes.

Students in the lab were easily integrating the technology into a recent lab activity. Lane Miller said that the cameras make studying the samples "a lot easier. Everyone can look at the same thing at the same time." Wyatt Roberts liked that the wifi stream is "basically live. We see everything that the person looking in the scope sees. If the slide moves, we see that, too."