Virtual Teacher Newsletter  No. 111  July 24th  2005 – EINSTEIN


8,153 Subscribers



1. Welcome

2. Mind Candy

3. WWWinfo arXiv

4. New Printables -  Quantum theory


6. Web Site Focus – ALBERT EINSTEIN


8. Great Sites

9.  Readers' Requests/Comments

10 Next Issue

11. Code of 'Netizens'

12. Tips


1. WELCOME EVERYONE. Last Friday night, my daughter,

15 years old, and I went to the first in a series of 4 lectures

on ‘Einstein Explained’ at Sydney Uni. Being the 100th anniversary

of the famous E= MC(2) equation,  and the International Year

of Physics, there are a number of such events occurring this year. 

The first lecture given by Professor Raymond Volkas, was filled

with metaphor, illustration and aimed at a general audience,

a few in jokes and some knock out old footage of Einstein et al at the

Copenhagen Convention.  My daughters comment – I didn’t

know physics was ALL about questions.   On reflection this had

truly been the essence of the lecture.  Professor Volkas focused

on the questions Einstein and others had asked.  Their Physics

was all about questions. It was the questions that motivated

the discoveries. Maybe there are no great theories at all only

great questions and great thinking.

There are  3 more lectures to go – if your in Sydney they are

worth checking out at



A Brief History of Gravity

by Bruce Elliot


It filled Galileo with mirth

To watch his two rocks fall to Earth.

He gladly proclaimed,

"Their rates are the same,

And quite independent of girth!"


Then Newton announced in due course

His own law of gravity's force:

"It goes, I declare,

As the inverted square

Of the distance from object to source."


But remarkably, Einstein's equation

Succeeds to describe gravitation

As spacetime that's curved,

And it's this that will serve

As the planets' unique motivation.


Yet the end of the story's not written;

By a new way of thinking we're smitten.

We twist and we turn,

Attempting to learn

The Superstring Theory of Witten!


This universe is our home, and it is our birthright to understand

it and our place within it, but our science has completely failed

us in this quest, leading us into an abyss of unending

mysteries and unsolvable puzzles.


Our Scientists Don't Have The Answers

In our search for answers and understanding it is crucial that

we question our scientists and their beliefs. It is a fact that

most of what they believe and profess is still based on the

same concepts that we were all taught as correct in school ..

centuries-old beliefs from a much simpler time.


As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not

certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.

                -- Albert Einstein  (1879-1955) [German physicist]


3. WWWinfo arXiv is an e-print service in the fields of physics,

mathematics, non-linear science, computer science, and

quantitative biology. The contents of arXiv conform to Cornell

University academic standards. arXiv is owned, operated and

funded by Cornell University, a private not-for-profit educational

institution. arXiv is also partially funded by the National

Science Foundation.


4. NEW PRINTABLES Quantum Theory Looks at Time Travel

Authors: Daniel M. Greenberger, Karl Svozil

Comments: This paper contains minor changes to our paper

published as Chapter 4 of Quo Vadis Quantum Mechanics?, ed.

by A. Elitzur, S. Dolev and N. Kolenda, Springer Verlag, Berlin (2005).

It is an expanded version of D.M. Greenberger and K. Svozil, in:

Between Chance and Choice, ed. by H. Atmanspacher and R.

Bishop, Imprint Academic, Thorverton England (2002), pp. 293-308.

Two references added


We introduce a quantum mechanical model of time travel which

includes two figurative beam splitters in order to induce feedback

to earlier times. Thisleads to a unique solution to the paradox

where one could kill one's grandfather in that once the future

has unfolded, it cannot change the past, and so the past becomes

deterministic. On the other hand, looking forwards towards the

future is completely probabilistic. This resolves the classical

paradox in a philosophically satisfying manner.




Since its launch on July 23, 1999, the Chandra X-ray Observatory

has been NASA's flagship mission for X-ray astronomy, taking its

place in the fleet of "Great Observatories."


Dear Cathy,

I am from the Australian Children's Television Foundation,

attached is a media release regarding our Software which

is in over 2000 Australian schools.  I thought that this may 

be of interest to Virtual Teacher.


Kind Regards,

Carolena Helderman 

New Media Production Manager 

Australian Children's Television Foundation



6. WEBSITE FOCUS Albert Einstein

Detailed Hyperlinked site on everything Einstein

Einstein Image and Impact

Einstein Archives online

PBS – NOVA Einstein the big idea includes a 4 min video promo of up and coming TV program – its great.  Shows a great deal of questioning and the video is available  to purchase from the site.

Einstein Image and Impact

Wikipedia on Quantum Mechanics

Albert Einstein Org



Listen to the 4 minute promo of Einstein’s Big Idea, and you

will see keen enthusiastic young folk excited by the ideas and

thoughts they are challenging -

‘Young bohemian  experimentists’ asking questions proposing

ideas bring back this excitement into high school physics, using

the enthusiasm and radicalism of youth and channel it into

areas of intellectual thought. Kids are excited about thinking,

questioning, working on their own interests and ideas, and it is

at this time, that some of the greatest thinking takes place.

Some how we need to harness this time and turn into a positive,

not negative antisocial, difficult, drug taking, drinking period.

If we can harness this teenage early adult period and give

it the right environment there won’t just be one Einstein.

At school our challenge is to give students the best view we

can of how the world works, it is not a complete, unalterable

view. In 10 years in 200 years our understanding will have

changes, at best our current view in all areas falls into Debono’s thinking category of “the Stepping Stone Method” – where we use our

current ideas for there ‘move through value’.  Giving students

the opportunity to challenge, question, and hypothesis be radical

about the current state of thinking: is exactly what teenagers

are good at.




Visible Human


Beyond Tomorrow

Instead of banning technology, Duke University makes it

compulsory. Every student is handed a free ipod on day one,

and must use it in class. They also are given a ‘Personal

Response System’ - a remote controller used to assess a

class’s progress during lectures.


Visible Embryo




Hi, Cathy,

I do have a question, which I'm sure you will be able to answer.  

This coming year, my PIP [personal improvement project] is on

learner-centered instruction using technology as a base.  I have

a few websites bookmarked and a bit of information, but I'd

love to get more.  Do you have any suggestions or direction for

 me?  To be more specific, I need to research what type of

technology can be used in a learner-centered approach and

discover the classroom teacher's role in the process of applying it.

 Any suggestions you may be able to offer will be greatly

appreciated and no need to rush in the response.  I'll be doing my

 own research in the meantime.


Thanks again for all of your sage advice and our continued

friendship!  .... Nancy


P.S.  I again went to the Midwest and took a hiatus to visit

my friend, Tracy, who I met from using your site.  We've

become very close and have shared tons of gardening ideas,

seed-exchanges and more.  All because of you and Virtual Teacher!


Hi Nancy,

I wrote a paper on this a while ago it is at:-

There are lots of links in this paper.  Now I would add DeBono's

thinking hats as well.

I guess you could say we are currently mid adventure - looking

for the next exciting thing to do - a couple of ideas but nothing

has stuck.  Most of us are between things, and happily

checking out what is available.

Hope the article helps.


Hi Cathy,

Just dropping you a short note to tell you how useful this

newsletter has been to me. The scope of content is excellent

and presents both positive and negative aspects.

I received March, April and May newsletters. I hope I haven't

been dropped off the mailing. If I have been overlooked could

I please be reinstated as a recipient. I look forward to my next

mail from virtual teacher!

Kind regards,

Helena Kinnear

Yr6 teacher and A.P.


I do take a break over school holidays.


Hi Cathy,


I loved this week's VT newsletter. You really are amazing –

love the concept "Liquid Learning". I totally agree that learning

within the 'zone'  and having a 4-D experience should be our

aim as teachers.

By the way, I was flabbergasted when I read the '8th grade

exam'. Six hours long! I don't think any 8th grader I know

could do it. I definitely would fail. Send me to the bottom

of the class ...

Thanks again,



Hi Cathy

My name is Sue Hall and I am teaching computer technology

to Kindergarten (Age 5) through to Year 6 (Age 11 - 12). 

This is my second year at doing this and I am enjoying your

newsletter for ideas and useful Web addresses.  Being in

Australia we are now beginning the second half of our school

year and I am planning to teach Excel next Term.  Last year

I taught Excel and got the students to create a spreadsheet

for purchasing sports equipment for a new school and gave

them a budget that they could spend.  The other group planned

a end of year party again with a budget that they could not

go over.  Both these exercises went down really well but now

I am trying to think of something else that they could create

a spreadsheet for.  Have you got any ideas???

Thanks.  from Sue


I love simply doing spelling test results over a period of say

10 weeks. and then using the chart tool to make 5 or so,

different sorts of graphs, using different backgrounds and

colours or images, then discuss which type of graph best

represents the results.  also add functions for averages and

total scores.


Another great idea is to set up a multiplication table using

functions, this can be just using a line of numbers and then

the multiplication function.  Different numbers used and different

 results will be recorded. Or you can make an entire

multiplication table.


The database on the "Moons of Jupiter "was great and the

spelling results activity, are both on


Hi Cathy

Thank you so much for your help.  I have just spent the last

hour looking through some of the info and have had some

great ideas to tie lessons in for next term.  Thank you, thank you,

thank you.



Hi Cathy, I look forward to the VT every two weeks - love it. 

I was wondering if any of your readers are early childhood

educators who maybe interested in the topic of Assessing

and reporting on kindergarten students‚ social and emotional

development through a digital format.  I am carrying out a

study on this topic and am interested in what K teachers are

doing in this area. Keeping authenticity and relevance in the

accumulation of evidence in the assessment process is the

major objective. Interested teachers can email. Ta



Does anyone have any feedback for Jaisa???


Dear Cathy,

Here's a suggestion combining marks with useful feedback

for students (and parents) in a rubric style which is explicit in

its criticism. It also makes it easy for the same piece of work t

o be marked by more than one person and the marks compared

 - try asking the students to mark their own against a sample.

1. Learn to use a database

Appleworks (Clarisworks) has a free template for assessment

of science reports. I've attached a mock assessment of a unit

from the polymer science website ( which you must

showcase in the newsletter if you haven't already) as a pdf for

you to look at. After setting up the rubric you just enter the

project title, student name, tick a box and a mark is recorded

and tallied. Reports can be generated from the rubric in various

 layouts with one click - list view, averages, total. Every bit of text,

the scores, the checkboxes, layouts are database fields and

therefore fully customisable and searchable.



all rubrics - the maths ones in particular would be a welcome

effort at authentic assessment in a subject usually noted for a

cut and dried marking style.




Hi Cathy,

I have a dilemma and I am wondering if you  can help me please?!?!!

I have just tried to transfer my reports off the memory stick to a PC and the Mac files cannot open! AAGGHH!

Do you have any ideas?

Thank you



Hi Rachel,

Make sure you saved them including the file extensions.

ie all files need to end with .doc

If not you can resave them on the mac and tick the include

extension check box in the save window.  You can even try

to add .doc to your files on the PC it usually works.


also from Gary


when files are transferred from mac to PC (windows not linux) a

resource file is also transferred as well as the data file.

This is a "dot-dash" file and usually only about 4k in size. it is also

known as a junk file. It is of no use to a PC-windows user as the

icon is a generic and not an icon of the application. MAC files

carry information about the application which created it. Windows

relies on the file extension to tell what to use to open the file.

So, if you transfer twenty files, there are really forty files transferred

and the first twenty will be the 'dot dash' files. In a hurry you will

double click on the first file, instead of scrolling halfway down the

list to open the 'real' file. Just delete the junk files.

this is not well known and is the most common reason for the

"mac and PC are not compatible" comment.

a similar event occurs with email, two files are sometimes

transferred from a MAC




The web site that Helen Young was looking for (Linda's links to literature)

doesn't appear to be on that server anymore, although the Richmond Public

Schools website still has a huge selection of literature based links, found


Linda Bendall's website is now found at

(a nice easy URL...)

There is sooo much stuff on the Internet about books and literature and

their use in the classroom...


Deon Scanlon

Sacred Heart School




10.  NEXT ISSUE -  Feedback on the year of Physics and

Einstein as well as curriculum delivery that changes.

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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