Never Miss a Formula 1 Race Again

Lately, there’s only been one Formula 1 race in the Eastern Time Zone.  The bulk of the races are in Europe and there is a growing number of races in Asia and then, of course, there’s Australia.

Other than viewing the programming guide, I’ll head over to the Formula 1 website and click on the “Convert To My Local Time” to get the actual starting time of the races.  Confession – I’ll add it to my electronic calendar with a heads-up warning and it works very nicely to make sure that I don’t miss a race live.  Of course, there’s replays but that’s really not the same.

Today, I ran into another wonderful time converter.  We all know (I hope) that you can use Google to convert times in different time zones for you but it’s much more fun to use something else.

If you’re one of them, check out Time Zen.

As with all time zone converters, the actual place you’re looking for may not be available so you have to be close.  In this case, Silverstone isn’t there but Northampton is.  Use the Add/Remove buttons to get the places you need!  The little slider allows you to adjust the times forward and backwards to get just what you want!

Of course, there is an educational use other than the mechanics of Formula 1 racing which is worthwhile in itself.  Suppose you’re doing a real time chat with a classroom from another time zone.  Time Zen has you covered!

That’s probably a better rationale for most people but I am watching qualifying from Silverstone as I write this!


Tweaking your Toolkit

Continuing on the Formula 1 theme, it’s racetime in Yeongam as I put together my thoughts.

The neat thing about Formula 1 racing is that there’s typically a two week gap between races.  It gives the teams the time to pack up and move all the equipment and cars from one country to the next.  Before Korea, it was Japan, and after Korea, they head to India.  The logistics of all this just boggles the mind.

However, moving from one race to the next involves more than just taking the same car.  In Canada, we get the UK feed of the race and one of the terms that they constantly use is “twisty bits”.  These are little pieces added or removed from the car to tweak things and get just a little bit more performace from the car.  Remember the graphic from yesterday?

In the race, they were reporting speeds of 324 km/h during the Korean Grand Prix.  If any team could add a piece here or take a piece away there and bump it to 325 km/h, they’d do it in a heartbeat and be geniuses.  Testing in the wind tunnel and in the practice sessions serves to tweak the car into perfection.  Some of the pieces may be discarded permanently or they might be stored and used at another track with similar needs.

The engineers constantly tweak to get the best in performance.

I liken the teacher toolkit to be the same sort of thing.

Why is it so important to bookmark and keep track of things?  Why is it so important to have three or four resources that essentially do the same thing?

I would suggest that it’s all in optimizing the learning experience.  Remember the old adage “If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like nails?”   There may be variations on a theme and education is the beneficiary of this richness.

Take the humble word cloud.  Everyone knows about Wordle – it was probably the first word cloud you experienced and it does a terrific job.  However, when it’s used every time you wish students to create word clouds, it may lose its lustre.  Instead, I would suggest that you mix it up a bit.  I took at look at my Diigo account and found a number of word cloud utilities.

There probably are more!  Let me know if your favourite didn’t make the list.

Why do you need more than one?  There are many reasons.

  • It’s interesting to have more than one utility like this.
  • On any given day, your planned resource may be down. Do you scrap the lesson because of this?
  • While they all may appear  do the same thing, there are differences that would make one preferable to another for your task.
  • Once exposed to more than one, students can make a critical choice as to which one they would use for a particular task.

So, I would ask you…why wouldn’t you add all to your toolkit and then use them to get the most from student use.  Could you imagine how great the conversation would be when a child tells his parents that he learned a new “twisty bit” in class today?

YouTube Doubler

This is going to be a blog post that includes reference to Formula 1 so I know that @Ron_Mill has moved on from reading the post but it will eventually have an educational reference.

I was having a chat back and forth with my friend @tk1ng, another Formula 1 racing fan.  This weekend, the racing resumes after their August holiday at the Spa-Francorchamps track.  In this track, there’s an incredible change of elevation with some twists at the curve known at Eau Rouge.  When you’re watching it on television, it’s impressive but it’s difficult to get a sense of what taking the curve at over 300 km/h is like.

From the dark recesses of my mind, I could come close thanks to the joy of YouTube and YouTube Doubler.  There’s a camera mounted so that you can see the entire action as a car speeds up the hill.  The track at Spa isn’t just used for Formula 1 and so there is footage of other series that run here.

Exhibit A:

One such series is the 911 Cup.  Now, these cars are no slouches.  Here’s video of these cars taking the curve.

Exhibit B:

But wait, here’s the same portion of track taken by Formula 1 cars.

Did you see that?  Both captured in real time.

But let’s raise the bar a bit.  YouTube Doubler is a fabulous utility that will let you play two YouTube videos side by side so that you can do a direct comparison.

See the videos side by side here.

Imagine using this in the classroom.  You’ve got a couple of videos that you want to discuss, compare, or contrast.  Why not use YouTube Doubler so that you can see them both head to head?

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