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The Birdbox Project
It's really about spying on families of birds in nesting boxes. Well, that's how it all started on a TV monitor in a school in Basingstoke way back in 2004. The children were fascinated watching the process through nest building, egg laying, hatching, feeding and fledging. This raw-source was woven into the everyday curriculum making learning that bit more exciting.
SEGfL was able to develop the ability for schools to broadcast camera output and soon offered interactive sharing of notes, images, observations from parents, contributions by experts and even interviews with viewers from abroad.
At its peak the project involved 200 schools but was also infamous for fixing fascinated spectators in front of their work terminals for long spells. The project assisted Alderney Wildlife Trust develop their Puffin Cam which continues to broadcast live coverage of these fascinating birds and their "puffling" chicks on a rocky outcrop to this day.
The project goes from strength to strength as the short blue-tit nesting season now stretches throughout the summer with the addition of swiftcams in Cambridgeshire. Broadband makes sharing easy and relatively cheap high-grade cameras (or even visualisers) can be focussed on anything that moves. Wormeries, ducklings hatching, plants growing, microscopic investigation in the school pond and gardens - all being undertaken by schools keen to use new technologies to enhance education. Free HD video encoding software makes recording sequences and publishing to the net simple. Pupils' newscasts about what they have seen - art and design, creative writing, mathematics, science - the sky's the limit.
It's free to join this supported project, with a team at the end of an email for advice or there to help should things occasionally go wrong.