Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Window To The World With Webcams

If you have visited our new offices you may have noticed in the Instructional Technology area we have no windows. (We don't let it get us down too much though.) But we do have an Interactive Whiteboard. Normally we use it to post a question of the day. Such as:

If you could have any superhero power what would it be?
What is your best childhood memory?
Turkey or ham at Thanksgiving?

We use it as a way for all of us in the office to have a little fun and learn lots about each other. (It was an idea we picked up from the Promethean Offices in Georgia.) Having a question like this on your board when the kids come in in the morning could be a great way to activate their prior knowledge about a subject or to just get to know your kids.

But something new we started doing was video. It began with a webcam to watch the effects of a hurricane on the NC coast. But has turned into visiting various webcams around the world for periods of time. It's our little window that connects us to the outside and our board doesn't sit idle.

So think about this in the classroom. You have your IWB (or monitor or projector) that just hangs there. And frankly you might not be using it all the time. No problem! Find a webcam and just leave it up for a while. Travel the world through your "window."

There are loads of great webcam sites out there. Here are just a few we use:

Earthcam- This is the motherload of Webcams. Ever wanted to see what was going on with the Bull on Wall Street, Times Square or Tokyo? They have 100's of cams to view.

Surfchex- This is the site we use to view the beaches of NC

Vail Webcams- This is a great one this time of year to watch snow fall and folks having fun on the slopes.

Amazing Animal Webcams- One of the Livebinders Top 10 Binders, there are loads of great sites for watching animals in zoo's and preserves.

This is just a small list. Normally I will just ask where we want to visit and do a search in that area for webcams.

And these cams are more than just windows; they are teaching tools as well. Studying about South America? Find a webcam and leave it up during the study. Help the kids feel like they are there. (Marlo also wrote a great post about using images on the IWB that you will want to check out as well.)

Oh and if you think you have to have an IWB to do these, you don't. Your monitor or projector will work just as well.

So open up your window to the world and explore.

Photo Under CC License From IronRodArt

1 comment:

Awall said...

Great post Steven! The SMARTboard is a great tool for learning and can be used so many different ways. Thanks for sharing:)