Friday, August 30, 2019

uHandy Mobile Microscope Duet review

Okay, I have not had this much fun since I got my first microscope when I was 10! I have always loved the microscopic world, and even conducted research on blood cells for a pharmaceutical company for my senior project. 

During the project, I had to remove blood from various animals (rat, rabbit, dog), spin the pipettes in a centrifuge, smear the blood on slides, and manually record the number of different types of white blood cells using an electron microscope. It really is true that the hands-on projects are the ones we remember the most! (I found a video of the type of manual counter I had to use on YouTube!)

If students do not have a microscope at home or limited access to one at school, they may never have the chance to explore the microscopic world in depth. This love could lead students on a career path they never thought they might take.

uHandy ask me to review their Mobile Microscope Duet and, after taking a look at it online, I readily agreed to test it out! I could not wait for it to arrive! (And they have even included a promo code for me to give out for a teacher discount!)

When I first opened the box, I was impressed by the number of items included and the well-written and illustrated user guide that had me up and running quickly! The first step was to install the uHandy app for iOS or Android. The app allows students to capture items as images or videos, adjust focusing, and switch between the Low-Mag and High-Mag lenses.

Low-Mag lens attached and three samples to try

My first experiment was to clip the Low-Mag (10x-300x) lens onto the back camera of my iPad Mini and attach a sample sticker of a down feather to the sample cap of the Lo-Mag lens.

The Sample Cap with the sample.

The result was impressive as you can see below!
View of a down feather with the Lo-Mag Lens.

I then took the plastic cover off of the sample cap so I could view a sample that was irregular. I picked a coin to view.
View of a quarter though the Lo-Mag lens

Next came experimentation with the included Light Stage. Students can easily view a sample with the naked eye via its backlight.
Sample on Light Stage

High-Mag Lens
The High-Mag Lens (30x-1000x) can attach to the back of the mobile device, and the Light Stage can even be magnetically attached to it. And, when students move the High-Mag lens to the front camera, they can use the Circular Glass Slide and put liquid on the glass to view through the mobile device. And, if students create their own specimens using the Sample Stickers, they can easily store them in the included collecting album or any notebook. 

High-Mag Lens with Circular Glass Slide

The Light Stage, with the attachment of the stainless steel slide holder, can accommodate a regular glass specimen slide, too, and can be attached to the High-Mag Lens for viewing.

Another cool feature is that students can have both the Low-Mag and High-Mag lenses attached to the mobile device and switch back and forth between them, as illustrated in the video below.

The uHandy Mobile Microsoft Duet includes 180 sampling stickers for students to use for their own samples, 60 sample cards (which are called the Sample Hub) to create collections from their samples, and a collection album in which students can store their own samples and add notes.
Collection items included 

In addition to students using the Mobile Microscope Duet to complete classroom lessons, there are over 50 topics to explore found in the uHandy app. They include instructional videos at different levels of difficulty and projects for students to complete.
Some lessons included in the uHandy app

Instructional video for one of the projects

After putting the uHandy Mobile Microscope Duet through its paces and trying all the included options, I would recommend this for grades 6-12 science classrooms. It would make a great addition to a traditional science lab table as students could use their own mobile devices, capture the samples as images or videos, and use their findings in reports and for research purposes. Also, all the students can view a sample at the same time via a single, larger tablet, and discuss the topic of the lab as a group. The kits can also be used as content remediation or extension by having students work on the project topics included in the app.

I could envision a few kits put in the school library to be checked out so students could experiment at home. The only consumables that would have to be replaced are the Sample Stickers, the Sample Hub cards, and the batteries for the Light Stage. The kit could be used with younger students, but they would need adult supervision.

You can order the Mobile Microscope Duet package from the uHandy Duet Amazon page and you can save 15%, through September 12, 2019,  by using the promo code kathyBTS19

Follow uHandy on Instagram at @loveuhandy!

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Best of the Katch

This article originally appeared in the Discovery Education blog "Kathy Schrock's Katch of the Month" in August 2019 and is re-posted here with permission.

As I approach the end of my seventh year (and 84 posts) on Kathy’s Katch, I decided to look back and highlight some of my favorite posts.
As you grab those last days of summer vacation, remember how far we have come with meaningful technology use in the classroom. A big thank you to Discovery Education for continuing to lead the way with tools and resources to support our efforts!
My first post, in September 2012, “Your virtual blue binder”, concentrated on the teacher and student toolbox of online tools to support curation and organization of virtual information.
Although some of the tools are no longer with us (RIP Google Reader), using online tools to organize information, and get to it easily, is still as important today as it was then. Although the search engines built-in to a lot of these tools help, keeping assets organized still works best, IMHO.
The types of organizational tools I included were:
  • Aggregators
  • Capturing tools
  • Curation tools
  • Online file storage
  • To-do lists
If you are still at a loss on how best to help students organize their virtual lives, take a look! Many teachers also added their favorites in the comments of that post.
Early on (2012), I began to think abut the use of infographics to support teaching and learning. My first Katch post on the topic was in November of 2012.
The focus of that post was how to create an infographic to use for advocacy or promotion. There are some many things in schools we need to advocate for (budgets, student needs, scheduling, need for a new SETM lab, etc.) or promote (statistics from the Media Center, growth in test scores, etc.). I felt that using infographics could be a unique addition to a formal presentation on a topic.
I have included infographics in many of my Kathy’s Katch blog posts, but, in my series of posts “Literacies for the digital age”, I again targeted the use of infographics as a summative or formative assessment in the Data Literacy post in 2015. In this post I outlined the different types of infographics and supplied additional tips and resources.
From September 2014 to June 2015, I published a series of blogs posts targeting the literacy skills our students needed to attain. In each post I provided information and tools to use for educators and students.
The literacies I have identified are:
Here are direct links to each of the posts:
I think the most popular Kathy’s Katch post was the August 2016 post entitled “Pokémon Go in the Classroom”. Pokémon Go was all the rage, and we were all searching for ways to use it to support teaching and learning across the curriculum.
With the help of others, I was able to come up with some interesting ways to bring the AR game into the classroom. Here are some brief overviews, but the post goes into more detail!
  • Data literacy: students can track the time and date stamps in the program or their hourly/daily/weekly collection of “captures”
  • Virtual reality: have students take a 360° image of the Pokéstops, special places in the game that showcase historical landmarks and attractions
  • Digital storytelling: students could take their screenshots from within the program and use them as the basis for a story
  • Mapping: as students travel around, the program collects GPS points of their “captures” so have them map these points on a map
  • Infographics: Have students use the data from their daily journal or number of steps taken to create an informational infographic
  • Poké podcasts: Have students create a podcast about their experiences
Pokémon Go is still alive and well, and since there new additions to this massive multiplayer reality game, like the Harry Potter Wizard’s Unite and Minecraft Earth initiatives, this blog post might be worth taking another look it to embed these new games into the curriculum!
I began to investigate augmented reality to support teaching and learning in 2017, and the August 2017 post reflected that interest.
AR was just in its infancy at that point (pre-Merge Cube), but creative teachers were already finding ways to use it in meaningful educational ways. Take a look at the post for some background information, and then check out my AR information on Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything site for the newest, coolest stuff!
I really enjoyed doing the research for the July 2018 post about Creative Classroom Configurations. To sit back and think about all the ways a classroom is used and be able to move things around when necessary is great! Classrooms should all be designed like kindergarten classrooms, with large group areas, work areas, quiet single spaces, and small group areas.
In this post I include some of the research dealing with how to foster creativity in your classroom, which is helped along by flexible classroom design. I also include tons of ideas from other to do this “on the cheap”!
The March 2019 theme for Discovery Education was STEM education. I decided to concentrate my post on the various thinking processes and how they can be used to support the areas of STEM.
In the post, I provided an overview of the the three main thinking processes I felt would work — Bloom’s Revised and Digital Taxonomies, Computational Thinking, and Design Thinking.
Design thinking can be used across the curriculum, as can the others. However, as s process, I believe it is a perfect one for the STEM area. The higher order thinking processes, design, iteration, creation and reflection all are life skills!
There is a great K-12 model of design thinking, developed by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani, called the LAUNCH Cycle. Take a look at the video below to learn more about it, and then visit the post to find out even more!
I also covered STEM resources and college and career readiness in an earlier Kathy’s Katch post in May of 2017.

What are your favorite posts from Kathy’s Katch and why? Please share your thoughts on Twitter! #kathyskatch