Virtual Teacher Newsletter No. 100 20th November 2004 HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY
THE FREE ONLINE FORTNIGHTLY IT TEACHERS' NEWSLETTER
2. Mind Candy
3. WWWinfo G-MAIL
4. NEW PRINTABLES REPORT COMMENTS
5. Technical Stuff 8 Billion Pages of Google
6. Web Site Focus you Wouldn¹t Want to Be
8. Great Sites
9. Readers' Requests/Comments
10 Next Issue
11. Code of 'Netizens'
1. WELCOME EVERYONE.
100 ISSUES OLDHAPPY BIRTHDAY VT.
The readership has grown from a few inservice participants
to all of you, the 7,500 subscriber folk who regularly write in
to offer great ideas, share outstanding successes, direct us
to brilliant websites and ask questions and share in all the
advances that are on offer to educators. Over the life of this
newsletter software and hardware suppliers have begun to
invest heavily in training for teachers at a professional level,
providing seminars and free inservice to support the use of
IT and computer technology in schools, in fact putting
something back into education.
This ³Magic Box² has changed teaching and learning in
profound and amazing ways. New technology has opened
doors to children for researching and accessing a world far
beyond their own environment. Empowering them with the
ability to direct and control their own learning and produce
In the history of the world, increased access to information
has always improved the literacy, numeracy and indeed the
total education of the population.
Not until books were mass produced did the majority of people
learn, not until public libraries were established was research
and learning available to all. The internet itself was developed
as a research and communication tool.
VT has, during its 100 issues, sort to bring the best to its
subscribers, to confront, to question, to prod, to excite,
to expose, to imagine.
Its a passion that we will continue to explore for the next
100 issues, so hang on it¹s going to be quiet a ride..
³The field of education is one of the few professions to
which people feel a genuine calling. The demands are
many, and the pay isn¹t great. Educators are
continually asked to do more with less. But there¹s an
unquenchable desire that springs from the heart
a desire to change and improve our society and our world,
one mind at a time.²
(Edutopia, 2004 November/December pp9).
Here¹s to the next 100.
2. MIND CANDY
FOR THE SERIAL TRUANT
"The name rings a bell but I can't put a face to it."
POLITICALLY CORRECT COMMENTS
No one fails a class anymore, he's merely "passing impaired."
You don't have detention, you're just one of the "exit delayed."
These days, a student isn't lazy. He's "energetically declined."
Your homework isn't missing, it's just having an "out-of-notebook
You're not sleeping in class, you're "rationing consciousness."
You're not late, you just have a "rescheduled arrival time."
You're not shy. You're "conversationally selective."
You don't talk a lot. You're just "abundantly verbal."
You weren't passing notes in class. You were "participating in the
discreet exchange of penned meditations."
It's not called gossip anymore. It's "the speedy transmission of
3. WWWinfo G-Mail?
As part of Google's mission to organize the world's information
and make it universally accessible and useful, we're testing an email service called Gmail.
Gmail is a free, search-based webmail service that includes
1,000 megabytes (1 gigabyte) of storage. The backbone of
Gmail is a powerful Google search engine that quickly finds any message an account owner has ever sent or received. That means there's no need to file messages in order to find them again.
When Gmail displays an email, it automatically shows all the
replies to that email as well, so users can view a message in
the context of a conversation. There are no pop-ups or untargeted
banner ads in Gmail, which places relevant text ads and links
to related web pages adjacent to email messages.
Storage: 1,000 megabytes
Languages: Only available English during this testing period,
but can be used to send and read emails in most languages
Access: Free automatic forwarding and POP3 access
4. NEW PRINTABLES REPORT COMMENTS
Report comments categorized into KLAs
Report Card Comments for Elementary Art Teachers
Comments and Ideas for Reports
Sites for report cards and comments
Report Card Comments
Database, suitable for Elementary / Junior High Reports. All comments are categorized into Subject and Behaviour sections, making it easy
to find the most appropriate comments, quickly.
View the Database at :
5. TECHNICAL STUFF - EIGHT BILLION PAGES
Popular Internet search engine Google has doubled the number
of Web pages in its database and given Gmail free POP support.
In a posting on the company's own blog on Wednesday,
Bill Coughran, vice-president of engineering, announced that
Google's index now exceeds eight billion pages.
Free Report Writing Software for Teachers
Teachers Report Assistant
Free time saving utility for teachers who word process
student reports. Produces individualized reports in the
shortest possible time. Complete with an online database
of teacher comments.
Don¹t miss out on the
INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY IN SCHOOLS CONFERENCE
The University of Wollongong Faculty of Education and Apple
Computer Australia will hold the 16th Annual Innovative
Technology Schools Conference (ITSC) from 1-3 December
at the University of Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia.
ITSC is a unique professional development opportunity for
educators from around the Asia-Pacific region. Working with
experienced facilitators in a variety of areas, you can select
workshops that relate to your passion, and that fit your schedule.
Attendees to the 3-day program work in a small group with
fellow educators on a selected project. The workshops are
designed to cater for a variety of skill levels, from novice to
³guru² and will give you 15 hours of invaluable hands-on experience.
For more time-constrained delegates, the 1-day workshops on
Thursday, 2 Dec offer the perfect blend of intense study in a
quick 1-day format.
6. WEBSITE FOCUS You Wouldn't Want To Be... (Salariya Web Books)
Created by The Salariya Book Company, these innovative titles use a
unique combination of information and humor to describe life in earlier
times. Web users can interact with the characters by simply moving the
cursor over them, to see their thoughts and comments as each story
unfolds. The Books are based on titles in the "You Wouldn't Want To
Be.." series, which is published in the UK as "Danger Zone". Current
titles are: 1) You Wouldn't Want To Be A Roman Gladiator! You are an
unfortunate Gaul, captured by the Romans, trained as a gladiator and
then sent to fight in the arena. Will you survive to fight again? 2)
You Wouldn't Want To Be A Polar Explorer! Join Ernest Shackleton's
expedition to icy Antarctica as a polar explorer! 3) You Wouldn't Want
To Be An Egyptian Mummy! Find out what happens to you when you die in
ancient Egypt and are turned into a mummy! 4) You Wouldn't Want To Sail
on the Waling Ship Essex! You are a 14-year-old cabin boy who learns
about whaling the hard way. Will you live or die when a whale sinks your
ship? Quick, easy, fun reads with historical fact thrown in.
Great wrap up site for studies of Egypt, Rome, Antarctica and Whaliing.
Here¹s a selection of Websites all about Christmas, craft, stories,
history, activities. If you have any other suggestions please send
them in for the next issue.
8. GREAT SITES
Games Games and More Games for the end of year slow down.
uses road signs!
Downloadable games - http://www.alex-soft.net/
9. READERS COMMENTS/REQUESTS
I am writing you on behalf of ETS (Educational Testing Service)
and I thought you'd be interested in some important news
regarding the launch of ICT (Information and Communication
Technology) Literacy Assessment http://www.ets.org/ictliteracy/
ICT is an online test that measures students' ability to find, use,
manage, evaluate and convey information through the use of
commonplace computer technology in academic and workplace
settings. The test is aimed at community college and 4 year
students who about to enter the workforce or progress to the
next level in their educational career.
The test is aimed at community college and 4 year students
who are about to enter the workforce or progress to the next
level in their educational career. Equipped with a PC and
pencil and paper for note-taking, students are called on to
respond to sixteen tasks over the course of the two-hour
online test. The test identifies the range of ICT tasks a student
can perform, such as extracting specific information from a
database, developing a spreadsheet, or composing an e-mail
summarizing certain research findings.
If you are interested in speaking with Terry Egan, ICT Project
Manager at ETS about this initiative please let me know and
I can coordinate. In addition, please consider posting this
news on your website and or contacting me for further information.
Thanks in advance for your time and any questions, please let
On Behalf of ETS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ETS Launches ICT Literacy Assessment, an Online Measure of
Student Information and Communication Technology Proficiency
ETS and Seven Charter Colleges and Universities Design
ICT Assessment for Higher Education Use in the U.S.
Princeton, N.J., November 8, 2004 - Educational Testing Service
(ETS) today announced the launch of the ETS ICT (Information
and Communication Technology) Literacy Assessment, a
simulation-based testing program that measures postsecondary
students' ability to define, access, manage, integrate, evaluate,
create and communicate information in a technological environment.
Unique among literacy assessments, the ETS ICT Literacy
Assessment measures multiple aspects of ICT proficiency.
Rather than pose multiple-choice questions, it requires test
takers to use basic technology as a tool to arrive at solutions.
In that way, the test demands that students use technology to
perform information management tasks, such as extracting
specific information from a database, developing a spreadsheet,
or composing an e-mail summarizing research findings.
Equipped with a PC in a proctored environment and pencil
and paper for notes, students are challenged to respond to
16 tasks over the course of the two-hour online test.
The test is an outgrowth of work done by an international
panel of experts ETS convened three years ago to study
the growing importance of existing and emerging information
and communication technologies and their relationship to literacy.
In developing this new test, ETS partnered with seven leading
colleges and universities to form the National Higher Education
ICT Initiative. Guided by insights and exploration into information
and technology literacy, the group identified the testing criteria
for ICT Literacy Assessment.
Next semester, ETS and the seven institutions will work with
colleges and universities across the U.S. on the first test administration.
The goal of this first administration is to aggregate results for
measuring the performance of particular groups, followed by
aggregate score reports beginning in June 2005.
"As community colleges become the starting point for more students,
maintaining a high level of proficiency in information and
communication technology is critical for students' educational
and professional advancement," says Teresa Egan, ICT Project
Manager at ETS. "When students transfer from two-year to
four-year universities, they must demonstrate the high-level
research skills and ICT proficiency required by such institutions."
For students, the ICT Literacy Assessment provides a gauge
of how well they can use information and communication
technology as a practical resource. For two- and four-year
colleges and universities, the test will help them better plan
resource allocation, focus on specific areas of student
improvement, and report to accrediting agencies as increased
value is placed in ICT proficiency.
"Given the remarkable extent to which information and
communication technology has transformed the classroom,
the workplace, the global economy and our lives, it is critical
that schools have at their disposal an effective means for
measuring a prospect's information literacy," says Linda Tyler,
Group Executive Director for New Product Development in the
Higher Education Division at ETS.
For more information on the ETS ICT Literacy Assessment
ETS is the world's largest private educational testing and
measurement organization. As a nonprofit corporation, our
mission is to advance quality and equity in education by
providing fair and valid assessments, research, and related
services for all people worldwide. Our products and services
measure knowledge and skills, promote learning and
performance, and support education and professional
development. Founded in 1947, ETS today develops,
administers or scores nearly 24 million tests annually in
more than 180 countries.
By Cara Branigan, Associate Editor, eSchool News
November 5, 2004
LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF THIS??
10. NEXT ISSUE - Last Issue for the year, send in your great
stories and sites, and any great Christmas ideas or end of term s
11. Code of the 'Netizens'
This Newsletter is not free, despite the misleading advertising
above. The Fee is now due. Each week you must help one
colleague on the Internet who has less knowledge than you.
Help that person even if you have to visit their classroom or
do a little research and get back to them. Trust me, this will
help a lot of people get their computer classrooms running better.
OK I'm trusting you!!!
1. Double click on highlighted URLS to open in browser.
2. Send in your Questions, Questions will be published with
Answers, send in your Answers, if you have expertise to share.
3. Nominate a brilliant site for review and inclusion in this
4. Nominate a fantastic school site for review and inclusion in
5. Make contact with other schools using fantastic programs.
6. Prepare and innovative article for this newsletter.
7. Tell 2 colleagues about this newsletter.
The opinions expressed here are purely those of the editor,
Cathy Brown. All other small print clauses apply. Such as:
Use at your own risk. Nothing in life is guaranteed. If it doesn't
work for you send me an email.
Editor: cathy brown mailto:email@example.com
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