I see London, I see France....a look at webcams around the world!

5 years ago
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  A great vision of world culture

Despite their limited travel experiences, most of the kids that I know can recognize the Eiffel Tower in one second flat--but there is a lot more to Paris than just this giant landmark!  Webcams provide a different perspective that shows landmarks, as well as everyday cities, in a new light. A poster of a faraway place is like the photo-shopped model, tweaked or adjusted to put it in the best light.  A webcam is the live look at a place, with all the weather, traffic, and moving people to make it REAL.

Take a virtual trip

With today's technology, many traditional landmarks are outfitted with webcams that provide viewers with a new perspective when learning about the structure and its surrounding landscape and culture. Cameras either store periodic photos in a montage or show live images, allowing you to see exactly what is happening at the moment. Here are a few sites that can provide fascinating visual footage of those 'postcard perfect' images:

  • The Official Eiffel Tower Website: This site has lots of detailed information on the history of the construction and its importance, but what I find most fascinating are the 360 degree photo galleries taken from different angles outside of and on top of the Tower. You can zoom in and out and scroll to the left and right to see what it would be like to stand at the top of the tower and look out over the rest of Paris. Rather than stare at the tower itself, children can get a feel for how large the city of Paris is, see the different architectural styles of the city's buildings, view the Seine River winding its way through the city, etc. It's a great way to get a 'flipped' perspective of a classic structure.
  • The Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany: This site offers a live webcam perched atop the castle as well as an archive of images that show the castle in different seasons. (Scroll to the bottom of the linked page, and click on Webcam; the click on 'Archiv' to see past seasons.) When I tell students that we will be viewing a live image of the castle, they are surprised when the screen shows the castle at night--it takes a few minutes for them to realize that 'live' in Germany is usually 8 or 9pm because of the time difference! Rather than seeing a famous poster of the castle stuck at one moment in time, the live webcam lets them see how the castle overlooks the town below, how the changing weather affects the views, and children can get a close up of the castle's architectural features.

There are also great websites that show everyday places, such as storks living on the rooftops in Rust, Austria, or marketplaces and city squares from around the world.

Experiment with different landmarks or cities around the globe--what new perspectives can you find via webcams?

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