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Eyes on the World

Discover lists of worldwide Webcams, free tools for classroom collaborations with Webcams, and much more!

A Webcam is a digital camera that regularly provides images online. Many educators know of a Webcam at their local zoo or famous landmark. Now, find out how to locate Webcams in almost any country in the world, learn how to use a Webcam within your classroom, and discover tips and cautions for teaching and learning with this technology.

One of the largest directories of Webcams, this site is best used by teachers or high school students. Make this your first stop when looking for a Webcam in a specific location. Just click the World Map, then click a time zone and country. There are Webcams listed for Iran, Tanzania, Lichenstein, and many more unusual locations -- great for making geography come to life in your classroom. The Advanced feature will narrow your search to a given topic -- arts, education, and sports -- or subcategories (like pets). Keep in mind that this is not a site just for K-12 educators, so "Spring Break Webcams" and other non-school coverage is here too. If you have a Webcam or are interested in adding one (or using your cell phone as a Webcam), there's information here for you as well.

Webcams in the Classroom: Animal Inquiry and Observation
So, now you've found a Webcam you want to show your class, buthmmhow do you teach with it? At this Web site, ReadWriteThink -- supported in part by the National Council of Teachers of English -- provides a detailed lesson plan and supplementary materials using the animal Webcam of your choice. The lesson guides you and your students through the steps of observing Webcams of zoo animals and collecting information on the animals you see. The page starts with an overview of the activity as well as the theoretical background. Objectives and the lesson plan itself follow, with links to printable materials for the lesson -- an observation worksheet, interactive animal observation chart, and observation summary forms. Links to NCTE/IRA standards also are included.

Webcams aren't that expensive so why not add one to your classroom and collaborate with other classes across the world? All you need is a Webcam (or digital video camera), a PC or Mac computer with Internet access, a microphone, and Flash (a free download). Cable in the Classroom offers tips and free tools to facilitate Webcam collaborations between classes. You can join existing projects or create your own. A FAQ list helps familiarize you with the basics of the collaboration concept. Be sure to click 'View Screen Grab of a Project Page" on the home to get a better sense of what a project looks likes. Don't be afraid to give this a try!

Surveillance Cameras for Education
Although a few years older than some sites recommended here, this article highlights some of the problems faced by viewing or using Webcams. For example, many are outside and subject to poor weather conditions. The site includes a directory of Webcams worldwide, as well as lists for professional development and classroom Webcams. This article comes from the United Kingdom, so many links are European or British.


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Article by Lorrie Jackson
Education World®
Copyright © 2008 Education World

Originally published 04/25/2006
Last updated 01/18/ 2008