On my last day at the BETT conference in London, on Saturday, I came across some interesting software. As a former Biology teacher, I was really interested in what I saw from Sunflower for Science which is an online software suite with resources for over 250 key science concepts shown in a way that appeals to students. They sell 30 different packs and each has investigations, animations, simulations and resource banks – thus giving you ready-to-use classroom activities. In North America, schools can get Sunflower from Study Island.
Another innovative solution was from Ghostbuster.org (note it is not plural) and their unique solution to cyberbullying.
Their solution to stop bullying on Facebook and Twitter is to register your school with them (free) and have your students become ‘Ghostbusters’. This gives them a one click reporting tool for reporting cyberthreats to their parents, schools or other on-line protection centres. Their social media ID’s have the Ghostbuster mark, warning everyone not to pick on them lest they get reported. Furthermore, any social media users who are found to be bullying have their ID pinned with a warning – a great idea for a deterrent.
The flight home was just as much as an adventure as BETT. We flew at 38,000 feet (11.5 km) and averaged a ground speed of about 500 mph (800 km/h). At that height you could actually see the curvature of the earth!
We took off on a cloudless day and soon I could see the North Atlantic. The waves must have been immense as you could see the white caps even from over 7 miles above the ocean. Then after about 5 hours of flying I looked down and saw sea-ice. I imagine we were approx. 200 miles (320 km) offshore from the North American continent and was quite surprised to see the frozen ocean surface.
Sometime later I got my first glimpse of land – the coast of Labrador. To see what looked like a huge cliff overlooking the ocean was amazing, and there didn’t seem to be any ice near the coast so I presume that the wave or tide action keeps breaking the ice up.
It was quite comforting to know we were now over land and if the aircraft had any problems at least they might be able to make an emergency landing somewhere! As a licensed pilot myself, I know the value of being over 7 miles up in the air with the possibility of finding a runway somewhere in the vicinity in case of emergency. Much better situation then having to land in the ocean or on pack-ice!
After 8 hours of flying, we landed in Ottawa and after removing the accumulated snow and ice from my car, I drove home to my wonderful wife.