TEACHING MINERAL IDENTIFICATION LABORATORIES WITH AN IPAD
The application engages students in a step-by-step data collecting process: first take a mineral’s photo, and then input the observation of a list of desirable physical and/or chemical properties of the said mineral, including its luster, streak, hardness, cleavage and any special characteristics such as magnetism or reaction with acid tests. To conclude what the mineral is, a user can compare the observed characteristics of a mineral with those provided in the application’s built-in reference library. The collected information and the result of the final identification are subsequently saved as part of the user’s digital mineral collection. The finished worksheet can be submitted to the instructor electronically for grading.
iPad along with Identify Minerals offers considerable advantages as an instructional and learning tool: 1) the device’s zoom-in feature comes in handy when a close-up examination of a mineral is needed; 2) it allows a concurrent review on minerals in concern between the instructor and the student or among students, and a timely discussion can be followed; 3) learning is neither limited to objects in the classroom nor to the instructional schedule, students can make attempts to identify minerals they encounter along the way; 4) the digitally-saved work manifests the results of personalized learning.