Virtual Teacher Newsletter  No. 125 6th  May 2006 – ART TOOL




1. Welcome

2. Mind Candy


4. New Printables -  THE ART TOL OF THE 21ST CENTURY

5. Technical Stuff – DUO CORE

6. Web Site Focus – TEACHER OF THE YEAR

7. Cathy’s Forum - PASSWORDS

8. Great Sites

9.  Readers' Requests/Comments

10 Next Issue

11. Code of 'Netizens'

12. Tips


1. WELCOME EVERYONE.  First week back, and it was a
great start with an inservice I gave on “The Art Tool of the
21st Century”. These tools are now in the hands of our children,
when once they were exclusively used by professionals. 
The old “There’s No Business Like  Show Business”
is so true. Students and teachers love it.
It is the great things, the beautiful, the splendid experiences
that inspire us to greatness, to excellence, to kindness and
generosity; that dispel, anxiety, meanness, loneliness and
the sense pointlessness.  This term go for the great things.

Have a great term.



They are incapable of greatness because they know only

mediocrity. unknown


Don't worry about the world coming to an end today.

It's already tomorrow in Australia.

-- Charles Schultz


Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which

I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn

as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

-- George Bernard Shaw


We have to keep trying things we're not sure we can pull off.

If we just do the things we know we can do... you don't grow

as much. You gotta take those chances on making those

big mistakes.

-- Cybill Shepherd


The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.

-- B. F. Skinner


Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parent, gobble

their food, and tyrannize their teachers.

-- Socrates



Google + millions story of new code invented by Ori Allon

A 26-year-old PhD student from the University of New

South Wales has patented a new way of exploring the

web that could revolutionise existing search engines.

Developed by Ori Allon, the Orion (TM) search engine

is designed to complement searches conducted on services

such as Google, Yahoo or MSN Search.


4. NEW PRINTABLES The Art Tool of the 21st Century

I gave this seminar on Monday –  everyone enjoyed

the piece to camera performances  - a new experience

- and some great tools for managing videoing in the classroom.



Apple: Windows on a Mac is here

By Candace Lombardi, Special to ZDNet


The software, which will be included in Mac OS X 10.5,

called Leopard, is available for download on Apple's Web site

 "Apple has no desire or plan to sell or support Windows, but

many customers have expressed their interest to run Windows

on Apple's superior hardware, now that we use Intel processors,

…….. "We think Boot Camp makes the Mac even more appealing

to Windows users considering making the switch."

…….With Boot Camp, Intel-based Mac users can choose between

running Mac OS or Windows XP each time they boot their system.

………In January, Apple released the first Intel-based Macs with

Intel's Duo dual-core chips. The new computers run two to three

times faster than similar Macs with PowerPC chips.

.................Paul Jackson, an analyst at Forrester Research,

predicts that home users previously daunted by a fear of

incompatibly with their work PC and a strong desire to hold

on to Windows-based programs may now make the jump to Macs.

Apple's move is great for Microsoft, Jackson said, since it will

mean extra sales of XP, but it's bad news for PC makers that

previously didn't have to worry about competing for market

share with Apple.

……………."Apple machines are excellently manufactured,

and the performance is far superior," Jackson told CNET "But companies like Dell and HP never really had to

worry about competing with Apple in the hardware market. Now

you can go in, look at those gorgeous Mac Minis and MacBook

 [Pros] and view them as a normal PC. You can run XP and

never touch OS X, if you don't want to."

And, according to Jackson, Macs seem to do XP well.


The Universal language

When you see the Universal symbol on Mac applications,

that means they’re made to run on both Intel- and

PowerPC-based Mac computers. Simply install them as

usual. They’ll automatically run at peak performance for

your Mac’s architecture. And, it bears repeating, if your

Mac is powered by the Intel Core Duo, that performance

will be nothing less than astounding — up to 4X what is

possible on PowerPC-based machines.


More than an evolution of processor design, Intel Core

Duo is an order-of-magnitude leap forward.


Motorised Mark Book $270.85 Free School Network Licence


Information Technology in classrooms



On Teaching and Education: Jason Kamras, 2005 National

Teacher of the Year

By Milton Chen

Download a PDF of this article & watch the video

Running Time: 9:29

A year ago at the White House, Jason Kamras, a mathematics

teacher at John Philip Sousa Middle School, in Washington, DC,

was named ….. National Teacher of the Year.

A project of the Council of Chief State School Officers, the award

is the oldest and most prestigious honor given to an educator.

Each year, a panel of representatives from national education

associations selects the National Teacher of the Year from the State Teachers of the Year.

The winner is provided a year to travel and speak out on the

 importance of teachers and teaching. Kamras's term officially

began June 1, 2005.


A Shared Vision

By Tony Bencivenga

How do we begin to create a school culture that values social and

emotional well-being while promoting academic success? I believe

it starts with a shared vision. If the fundamental vision is that of

caring for children, then their academic success follows. But

academic skill and achievement cannot exist alone. It is a part of

balance in which everyone — students, parents, teachers,

administrators, boards of education, and community stakeholders

— has a role. This may not be the most popular or accepted vision,

or the simplest and easiest to create and implement, but it is a

vision all leaders and practitioners need. It is a meaningful, practical,

and essential approach that can become the basis for the academic

success of students and a profound force in nurturing and unifying

all members of a school community.

Post a comment at this site and also send your comment along to VT



Are passwords driving you crazy?   Do you have so many to
remember it is frightening? ?  In an old episode of Star Trek called “Trouble
with Tribbles”
they had the same problem with Tribbles as I have with passwords,
they keep multiplying and an inordinate rate. The latest
round of departmental passwords requires you to change your
password every 60 days, are you going crazy with this?

What is it that is so secret that we need this type of security
on everything we touch?  Mostly it just frustrates everyone
the technicians can’t fix the machine, passwords are forgotten or lost
or worse stuck on the computer with postits. In the end is it really secure?

Well – no it’s not.

What do you think? Does it Matter? It sure does.

7b. COMPUTERS FOR TEACHERS + Computer Maintenance
Your responses.

Should Teachers be given computers or be given subsidised

While other states in Australia benefit from highly subsidized
computer ownership, and indeed internationally teachers
are provided with free computers, NSW lags miserably behind.
Computers should be free to all teachers.  They are the pencils
of the 21st Century. It is insane to think that teacher’s
can use and teach using computers without owning one
themselves.  All NSW teachers need a free computer now,
or at least a very good deal on one.
Dear Cathy

Thank you so much for your fantastic newsletter. I give snippets of info

to many teachers at school, as in each newsletter there is something

current for someone.

Re the notebooks or laptops. This scheme began rolling out about 4 years

ago. Here in the west we can lease a notebook for approx $10 per pay for

three years. At the end of this time we hand back our 'old machine' and

we can update (I have just done so and am actually paying less than I

was for my first machine!) We also had an option of buying back our

'old' machine at a reasonable price. We get 24 hour, 7 days a week

support, insurance coverage, etc. The deal has been taken up by many



Keep the wonderful ideas going. I look forward to the fortnightly news.


(yr 6 teacher) Perth


Hi Cathy,

DET WA offer teachers 'notebooks' under the 'Notebooks For Teachers' (NFT)

-       an excellent program for computer and Internet accessibility. 

Reseach has found that DET WA also have produced an ICT self
evaluation guide which Leone Elford may be interested in.
Another interesting read is re barriers to uptake of ICT by teachers -
Ta Jasia


Hi Cathy, have to say love your emails thoroughly look forward to them regularly.


Schools Computer issues.

At my school there are HUGE issues with computers. We have just
installed a new building onto the campus and it has brought an array
of computer issues I never thought possible. We do not have
 enough technician time - that could be because of 2 reasons.


1.            School not wanting to pay for the technicians time - rather
having them come in part time to fix all the issues

2.            The department of education only providing us with one
part time technician. I can not believe this one.


This school is quite high tech - I would like to think that we could
have all the 400 computers working around the school. We have a
spreadsheet list which has over 50 issues on it for the technicians
to fix. One department in my school can not even get onto a computer
in their office. It is appalling. To make issues worse the department
 wants to have the wireless connections and all schools to come
onto line. Come on - really do they think it is possible? No way.
That's just my thoughts




Information Technology/Sose

St Helena Secondary College

Eltham North


Dear Cathy,

In Western Australia the Ed Dept lets us lease notebooks for $5 a
fortnight, we have to give them back at the end of 3 years. We can
take them home and use them at school. I think they should be free
as most of the work we do on computers is school based. Also we
do have maintenance problems on school computers (in my school
the computers are fixed by a very hard working teacher) as well as
the very inconvenient problem of my computer being connected to 
it's printer, a five minute walk away.




Greetings Cathy

Word of warning about letting schools employ their own techs...

Victorian experience is mostly positive...however..

The entrepreneurs tendered for the tech position ( @$45per hour)

and won the contract for 3 or 5 years...then sub-contracted and

gave pagers to their techs ( @$29per hour)...

Some companies have twenty (or more) schools. and ration the

 tech time to two or three hours PER WEEK!! For the smaller

primary schools...which still have three or four computers per room...


And as they are windows  machines. they get viruses. and mal-ware!!

Another reason to get a mac!- as if you need another reason...

Also. these companies now are in a position to recommend

AND SUPPLY computers...the markup for PC computers

is around 30~45% For mac it is 6%..from an authorised reseller


Begins to give the picture as to why we are so dependent

on windows machines. which do word processing and

internet quite well. when they are working...but


An OECD investigation into the uses of computers in thirty

countries describes the return on investment as marginal...

And finds a strong link between games playing and
mathematics (not causal)

Most uses of computers is for word processing and for internet (


Very little in the way of creative applications ( movie making/ specific

applications for maths/science data handling,..etc..)

Makes one wonder about the benefits when most learning is about

relationships anyway....


I'll look up the OECD's a download PPT..makes
good food for thought..and a challenge to the concept of more..


Thanks Gary – always on the money.  You are right – most
computers are used for very mundane activities – most of these
can now be done on – you guessed it – am mobile phone.
But not in VT subscribers classrooms – there is so much
that can be done, so many fantastic things, so many
opportunities for wonderful awe-inspiring lessons using
this new 21st century tool.


Hi Cathy,
Interesting that there was NO response about the issue of
computer maintenance. Perhaps people have given up? When you
compare the working environment of a typical school
computer lab (lots of different users doing lots of strange things)
to that of computers in industry (usually a single user doing pretty
much the same thing every day), it is no wonder that there is a lot
of down time, yet the ratio of support staff in industry is infinitely
better than in our schools??

We really need every student to have their own computer to
make real advances in IT outcomes, but with today’s computers
the support issue would be even more intolerable. The answer is
a student computer that takes advantage of the mushrooming
WiFi access speeds that are starting to come on line
(Up to 24000Kbs already in some cases). The student computer
then doesn't need a massive hard drive, and huge operating
system, but it just needs to be able to connect quickly to either
school network server, or home desktop or internet. Even
applications like Word will soon be run from the internet;


The $100 Laptop$100_laptop
is exactly this type of machine. Lite operating system, flash
memory, and great WiFi connectivity. This is an exciting project,
but still a way in the future, but right now in Australia, the
NOVA5000 from>
is available. It has lite versions of Word and Excel, it plays movies
with Windows Media Player 10, and runs Internet explorer.
It wirelessly connects to school network, or the internet, and when
there is a problem you hit the reset button. That is all the "history" needed.


I would be happy to bring a NOVA5000 out to let you see it up close.
I think it is very interesting, and offers a real solution of how to get
more computers in the hands of learners.




Peter Niass

National Education Manager

OZIntell Pty Ltd


Hi Peter,

Good to hear from you again.  In fact this idea has been around
for some time – harks back to the old days when terminals were
set up and linked back to a mainframe.  It is really the way all schools
should have been set-up from the beginning.


Hi Cathy

Just a short note on your thoughts and practicalities of computers.

We are using computers for assessment of apprentices. As I have
mentioned before, there are many issues regarding these beasts.
For a really emotional argument, just mention the Janison Program
or ask me to mention the Perception program.

Fact is we are going to have to use them.

MAINTENANCE IS A REAL ISSUE. But not just maintenance.

We have recently rolled out to XP for our educational network,
and have chosen to use a particular program for assessment
purposes. This program we have been told was running for
several months without problems, but all of a sudden students
have been doing exams and when they hit submit, without even
blinking, the computers just stop working. Because of the security
package, it is not possible to do anything, because it takes control
of the keyboard and will not allow any keystrokes. The only option
is to hit the big red button and kill the power, then re-boot.
The student has then lost all his work and is generally told that it is
good experience, just re-do the test.

What happens next gets real interesting.

The IT person for the program says that it is a teacher problem,
and don't bother him. The System maintenance say it is not our
problem because it is not a supported program. The IT manager
says he cannot help because we have not yet accepted the
program. The Manufacturer of the program says we aren't
having this problem anywhere else, but if you now buy the

next version, your problem will probably go away. So where
does the poor old teacher sit.

On the good side we have access to some really good prices
for software, but that is about as far as the department goes,
and yes, I would find it extremely difficult to go back to pencil
and paper.


It really does sound like a John Cleese script doesn’t it.

And they are outrageously funny, but I am wondering if
this type of script is appropriate when the venue is a school.

At least you know you are not alone – who else has a story like this.

Hi Cathy,

Teachers in Wa are also offered a $10 a fortnight computer lease.

The expectation is that teachers will bring their laptops to school to

use in the classroom.

As part of the 100 School Project we have wireless connections to

the school system and internet/email.




In general, I agree with your saga about computer fault finding.
Takes a lot of skilled teacher time. I do want to mention that there
are some particularly brilliant Oasis heads at the Helpdesk.
You have to catch one of them. But if you do, they can tell you
anything about Oasis and guide you through rectifying issues
over the phone. Has happened to me twice this year.
2 nice success stories.

Thanks Cathy for your newsletter, I do love it.


from the Newmarch home


Yes – The Oasis Help is a knock-out. It is the exception.


Hi Cathy,

First subscription arrived today so I am rather excited to read what

people think and have to say about ideas - I'm in WA, so it's nice
to see that we have common issues all over.


Computers are subsidised over here too - $10 a fortnight - which I think

is a real bargain - I haven't had any problems yet, but I am computer savvy

- not an expert but I know how to solve most things!  Sometimes you just

have to fiddle around and as always check the help menus!


Also does anyone have any suggestions about how to muster up some

motivation amongst high school teachers, so that they leave their programs

behind for the future teachers of the school?  They do all this hard work,

creating something specifically for the students at this school, then take

it with them.







Web Elements Periodic Tables


National Geographic Xpeditions Atlas


Free Online Electronic Whiteboard, Write on it, Stamp on it, print it, email it



Weblogs for Teachers





EcoKids is Canada's environmental youth education program,
and even though site membership is restricted to Canadian youth
groups, there's oodles of material for non-members. My favorite
section is Play and Learn, with activities, slide shows, quizzes, games
and PDF printables in topics such as the environment, science, nature,
wildlife and energy. For example, did you know that every year
thousands of frogs get squashed crossing roads to reach seasonal habitats?
You can help by finding frog habitats that span busy roads and
educating local drivers about the issue.


Kids for Saving the Earth

Clinton Hill succumbed to cancer at age eleven, but before he died he
channelled his passion for the environment into a kids' club dedicated
to saving planet Earth. Now, his mother runs the organization, which
provides free online information and low-cost classroom materials
through the mail. Best clicks are the activities found in the Action Programs,
such as creating an event for International Migratory Bird Day on May 2
or having a used book sale to support Reading for the Earth month.
When is Reading for the Earth month? Any month you choose!



Thanks Cathy for another informative newsletter. I really enjoyed the
different links and resource material you reference.




Sent: Tuesday, 4 April 2006 2:06:40 AM

I was wondering if anyone knows of  reading programs for children
with learning difficulties that are being used in the UK. I would like
to visit some educational facilities next year when I am in England.

Bev Johnson


If anyone can help Bev please email me an I will forward.


Hi Cathy,

Just wondering if anyone could help me put together an Access database to

track student behaviours. Any contacts, templates or advice would be

appreciated. I haven't got a budget and this would be greatly appreciated.

Regards and Keep up the good work

James Cumming

North Shore PS


Motorised Mark Book $270.85 Free School Network Licence



10.  NEXT ISSUE – Send in your responses to Cathy’s Forum
Also let me know if there are topics you would like to discuss
through the Forum.  I really do want a free computer, don’t you.

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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