Virtual Teacher Newsletter  No. 100  20th November 2004 ­ HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY




1. Welcome

2. Mind Candy

3. WWWinfo ­G-MAIL


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'

12. Tips




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

quality work.

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 rideŠ..


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.



Report comments


"The name rings a bell but I can't put a face to it."


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

near-factual information."


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.

Cost: Free

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



Report comments categorized into KLAs

Report Card Comments for Elementary Art Teachers

Report Comments

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 :



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.,39020369,39173340,00.htm


Free Report Writing Software for Teachers


Teachers Report Assistant

Windows 95/98/ME/NT4/2000

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 theŠ


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.

3-Day Program

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.

1-Day Program

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.




Games Games and More Games for the end of year slow down.

also downloadable

uses road signs!

Downloadable games -




Hi Cathy,

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

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

me know. 



Katherine Foster

On Behalf of ETS



ETS Launches ICT Literacy Assessment, an Online Measure of

Student Information and Communication Technology Proficiency


ETS and Seven Charter Colleges and Universities Design

Criteria for

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



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


ciao Cathy


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!!!


12. TIPS

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

this newsletter.

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


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