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Approaches to Using Webcams

Project summary

Webcams, accessed through the internet, allow us to see distant places in real time. They are an intriguing technology, engaging our senses of space and time. Many young people have favourite places, which can be visited on the web, in the moment. There is much geographical potential from this ICT, and three schools set out in 2006-7 to investigate webcam uses and their impact on learners.

Approaches to Using Webcams was funded by the BECTA ICT subject fund.

The project used the ‘local solutions’ approach to curriculum development through CPD. This involved recruiting a team of dynamic teachers, from a range of schools. The team came together at a creative planning meeting and each school wrote an action plan. Back in school, action research took place, with the plan worked upon and reviewed with the support of the team.

The outcome was CPD for the teachers involved and curriculum development, shared with the wider geography education community, through the GA website, Annual Conference and journals.

Aim: To find how webcams can invigorate learning and teaching geography.


  1. Develop learning and teaching approaches (geography) with webcams
  2. Develop professional skills
  3. Develop support materials and resources
  4. Disseminate findings and outcomes to geography teachers and geography educator network

Project activities and reports


2006/07 project team

Project leader: David Mitchell
Funder: BECTA
Creative partners: CIMEX

Teacher researchers:

Dan Raven-Ellison – a tireless campaigner for raising the profile of geography learning. His campaign site ‘give geography its place’ can be accessed at Dan is interested in changing the (often jaded) popular understanding of geography, and the use of ICT to support our thinking about place, space and time.

Hugh Mothersole had a superb geography department website containing great resources for finding and using webcams in geography.

Tony Cassidy – a highly innovative geography educator using ICT.


This paper, written by project leader David Mitchell, outlines the preliminary findings of the project:

The project planning meeting showed there were a range of criteria which could help to show when a webcam can become an effective resource. The participants also found that there were many possible activities making use of webcams:

From Webcams to Panoramas

Hugh Mothersole explains the benefits of using web-based panoramic viewers in the classroom. He finds students gaining a strong sense of place through the high resolution and interactivity of these striking and often dramatic panoramas. This gives students a virtual field trip experience, effectively bringing the outside world into the classroom.


Thank you to Dan Raven-Ellison, Hugh Mothersole and Tony Cassidy for their creative and innovative work in the classroom. Thanks also to funders BECTA and partners CIMEX for their input to the creative planning meeting.

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