7 ways to power up your STEM education - LabCamera
29 May 2018Bálint Mátyás
Easily manageable, cost-effective, and up-to-date… let’s be honest, it can be a real struggle sometimes to find the perfect tool for the great scientist of the future. That’s why I’d like to explore our newest application, LabCamera (available within the mozaBook software or as a stand-alone solution) and quickly introduce its main modules.
LabCamera is an exploration and data logging laboratory which makes it easy for students and teachers to carry out scientific observations and measurements. You only need a computer, the software, and yes, as the name suggests, a standard webcam. The main strength of the software lies within its simplicity as you can build the best technology ever, if no school can afford or implement it, it will not be much help to students in the long run. That being said, let’s take a closer look at some LabCamera features!
To put it simply, graphs are cool and kids love them in Physic lessons, especially if they can get them in real-time. First, take the footage of your webcam or a pre-recorded video, select a couple of objects (colorful balls, toy cars, etc.), then let the Kinematics module track the movement of the object for you. In the final graph that can be exported with one click, students can analyze all the details about the speed or acceleration of the selected object.Be prepared for future conversations at home, like:
“How was school, honey?”
“Nothing special… we just analyzed a horizontal and vertical graph of displacement, velocity and acceleration of some balloons.”
2.) Time lapse
Some processes in nature, such as ice melting, can be difficult to observe and even more difficult to successfully track, so the time lapse function can be a lifesaver here. The software takes still shots and stitches these images into a coherent stream of video, while your task is simply to set the playback speed of the video.Of course, time lapse also comes in handy during joyful moments in the kitchen, such as baking the perfect muffin.
3.) Motion cam
With the Motion cam function, students are able to capture intimate moments in nature. The trick is quite simple, yet incredibly effective: the camera records only when it detects movement in front of the device.The benefit? You don’t have to wait endless hours in the garden or in the forest for your best hummingbird pal to show up; it spares a lot of time for you and makes it easier to edit and manage your videos for class.
Did you know that you can take macro photos with your webcam? This is exactly the feature that the Microscope module was built for, but as always, it’s possible to analyze 3rd party images as well. Once you’ve turned yourself into a professional photographer / scientist, you can learn more about proportions, sizes, and even measurement methodology.In this case, I’ve just measured the length and area of a sugar molecule in two steps.
5.) Universal logger
The most valuable asset of the Universal logger is that it’s possible to log any type of measurement instruments in school or at home. Whether a digital or fluid-based display, the software picks up on the signals of, let’s say, a thermometer with the help of the built-in camera and connects it to your computer.
The real fun comes in when you decide to track not one, but three devices at the same time and carry out comparative experiments. All in all, it’s definitely a super versatile and helpful tool.
Your starting lineup is the same as in the previous cases. The webcam is doing the background work, while you’re analyzing the results of the experiment. Have you ever tried to see through the European flight radar or the chaos created by a bunch of ants?Here you go, the heat map might just be the perfect solution for class.
7.) Graph challenge
It’s an old, but universal truth that kids learn the fastest and the most efficient when they don’t even realize they are actually learning. This tool is a great opportunity for students to channel their inner imitation artists as the main rule is to follow the predefined curve, while the software is following your moves.