Under the microscope

Published 12:43 am Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Opp Middle School classrooms recently took another step into the 21st Century with the addition of 16 new microscopes that will help students view specimens more clearly and under safer conditions.

Ronnie Moseley, teacher of seventh grade life science at OMS, said the microscopes will provide more freedom and a better learning experience for his students.

“These new microscopes allow us to work in a much safer classroom,” he said. “They are cordless and eliminate the need to run cords throughout the classroom. The students can also take the microscopes anywhere they wish. They can take them outside to work if we decide to do some type of exercise outside.”

The new microscopes, along with a document camera, were purchased as part of the Alabama Math and Science Technology Initiative (AMSTI) at OMS and are valued at approximately $3,000 to $4,000.

“This equipment was made possible through the hard work and diligence of (OMS principal) Mr. (Aaron) Hightower and (OCS assistant superintendent) Emily Edgar,” Moseley said. “The microscopes provide better quality than what we had. We were borrowing microscopes from AMSTI in Troy, but this has allowed us to have our own equipment here to us at our disposal. We no longer have to pick them up and take them back.”

Moseley said the document camera can be attached to the eyepiece of a microscope, connected to a computer via USB and then used to project findings for the entire classroom to view.

“The camera allows us to take videos and pictures of what we view under the microscope,” he said. “If I see a worm in a specimen, then I can take a picture of that finding and use it in future classes. If it is something really interesting, then I could even take several pictures and create a slide show. I can use it again in the following years, instead of losing that finding and being forced to search for it again each year.”

Hightower said the new microscopes serve as one more step into the 21st Century for students and he feels the equipment will help to enhance the learning experience for countless students in the future.

“We are constantly taking steps to improve our classrooms and move our students into the 21st Century,” he said. “The addition of these new microscopes is another important step in the ongoing process to ensure our students have the best possible resources to enhance their learning experience.”

Moseley said he was surprised when he was told the microscopes were on their way.

“With times the way they are, we still found the money and the means to obtain this equipment for our students,” he said. “This equipment is something these kids will definitely benefit from and their learning will be enhanced because of its addition to the classroom. It was not really expected, but we are glad to see it. We thought that, with the cutbacks, we might not receive it. The central office saw to it that our students have what they need to receive a top-notch education.”

Moseley said students in his class have already begun to reap the benefits of the new equipment.

“They love it,” he said. “The microscopes are so much better than what we had before. The lighting is highly improved and the students have a much easier time finding what they are looking for under the lens.”

For more information about AMSTI visit www.amsti.org.