Not too long ago, I came across the site called explore.org while I was looking for resources for a lesson plan I was creating to help teach young kids about animals and environmental issues.  When I first entered the site, I was immediately drawn to the "Live Cams" tab on the page that streams live (video) footage of various animals from all over the world.  The first live cam that I began to tune into on a regular basis was a tundra-buggy cam that followed a family of polar bears around, near Churchill, Manitoba (Canada).  It was fascinating to me that I could watch these magnificent animals swim, fish, sun bathe, and chase each other from my computer desk!  I would watch the bears in the morning before I had to go to school or work and check on them throughout the day whenever a computer was nearby (as I do not have a cell phone with internet browsing capabilities!)  

The next live cam I began to watch was one that tracked beluga whales along the Northwest Passage.  Again, I became so consumed with watching their every move.  Here I was watching a real, live version of an animal that I remember reading about very often as a kid.  My latest live cam (ob)session involves four young panda bears from China called Zhi Chun, Qing Shan, Zhao Yang, and Ao Ao. The bears are constantly getting into something and they wrestle a lot like my dog and cat do!

What I've learned from all of these experiences on explore.org is that technology can connect you with more than just people - it can connect you with animals and ecosystems from anywhere and everywhere (and being the animal lover that I am, this really helps technology score big-time brownie points with me!)  Even if I never make it to the arctic or to China, I can still see and experience what certain aspects (that I'm interested in) are like.  I would definitely integrate a site like explore.org into my classroom because if I enjoy it this much, I can only imagine how much my students would love learning about and alongside animals from around the world.

Here's the link to see it for yourself: 
http://explore.org/#!/live-cams
 


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