Project ExCEL (Extended Classroom for Enhanced Learning) brings the capabilities of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) into classrooms. University and industry personnel, working together, have developed a web-based interface to allow schools to control a modern SEM. The interface allows a user control of the operating parameters of the microscope, stage movement, and chemical analysis. Such total control is not available on any other system. Since Iowa State University (ISU) pioneered the idea of remote SEM for education, researchers have learned that providing teachers access to sophisticated equipment does not ensure that it will be used. Teachers are busy, and structured curriculums are not conducive for incorporating the SEM into classes. A lack of teacher knowledge of SEMs also discourages their use. To overcome these problems, College of Engineering and College of Education faculty are working together to train future teachers in the SEM. The web-based SEM is being used in education courses, and selected students (who receive additional training) prepare lesson plans and present their work to the class. In-service teachers receive instruction in the web-based SEM through workshops. By using this integrated approach, all science teachers in Iowa will eventually gain the confidence to use the SEM in their classrooms.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/connie-hargrave/1/