Virtual Teacher Newsletter  No. 127 June 3rd 2006 –  THE SHOOT


Current Subscribers 9,153



1. Welcome

2. Mind Candy

3. WWWinfo -OECD

4. New Printables -  Work Sheets for Teachers

5. Technical Stuff – OECD Observer

6. Web Site Focus - VIDEO


8. Great Sites

9.  Readers' Requests/Comments

10 Next Issue

11. Code of 'Netizens'

12. Tips


  1. WELCOME EVERYONE. It has been a busy fortnight. 

What teacher can say anything else. I loved the work with

Video, culminating in a visit from Tim Elston.  The writing and

discussion it provoked were fantastic – ‘give them something

they love’. Incidents this week have led me to reflect on the

use of punishment in schools, Mr Cranky has a good take on it.

The Forum should be quite provocative this week, so tell me

what you think about Electronic Whiteboards. have a good one.



There’s nothing like a great teacher, EXCEPT, a great teacher

with chocolate. 


Live life well. Fail often. And to those who have passed: R.I.P.

Learning from failure is one of the best ways to grow as a

human being. If we see every failure as a potential opportunity,

then suddenly life is all about the journey and not about the



"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable,

but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."

George Bernard Shaw


3. WWWinfo STATISTICS AND INFO from the Organisation

for Economic Co-operation and Development


4. NEW PRINTABLES Work Sheets for Teachers

The “Nature’s Recyclers” is pretty good.



OECD OBSERVER on Education


Now I Know My Internet: More Nursery School Children Going Online

It's goo-goo-Google time.

By Ben Feller


6. WEBSITE FOCUS -  VIDEO, how to do it, how to have fun

with it, how to learn lots.


THE 21ST CENTURY has seen the artool of the 20th century

become available to the students of the 21st Century, Video

Cameras are now affordable for all.

The trick is to start simply and work up from there. 

The best way to start is with a simple ‘piece to camera’.

This is great, it incorporates presentation skills as well as

simple camera techniques.


It is fairly easy to shoot everyone in the a class of 25 – 30 students

with a simple piece to camera - in an hour to an hour and a half.

Everyone has a turn to use the camera,

Everyone has a shot at being first assistant director

Everyone has a turn in front of the camera


The post performance procedure I like to use is a journal,

if possible, to write about everything that happen.


5 minutes of writing only, timed, not tidy, not correctly spelt,

just dash down everything you can remember about your

experience in 5 minutes.  Be original, and at the end,

ask the person who has written the best info down

to read it out – let them be the judge.


Great, the students actually write huge amounts.

(There are opportunities for sharing and polishing this writing later)


These ‘pieces to camera’ are also easy to edit, and students

can review their performances on a DVD, and they love this.


The performance review discussions are based on

improvement, positive and constructive only,

the 5 minute journal writing after these sessions is fantastic.

Everyone seems to have so much to say.


After completing this process with a number of classes

I decided to invite Tim Elston along to give some DIRECTORAL

input.  Tim is an Actor and Director of note – having worked

extensively in the Australian Film, Theatre and TV Industries,

as well as working on a couple of my films, and at NIDA.

The list goes on on.  He is also passionate about his profession.

I invited Tim to work on presentation skills for both staff and

3 classes of students.  It was a fantastic day.  The staff loved it,

and gained some great tips, the students loved it and

performance improvements were amazing. (I filmed the day

so we could compare before and after performances).



I’ll include some of Tim’s tips next newsletter.


About Tim Elston


Previous VT download




What do you think, here’s what I think…


Electronic Whiteboards are a sideways technology step as

well as being redundant - high on comfort factor for teachers

as they replicate online, something very familiar, something

used offline, the blackboard. Suppliers have some

great software to go with them, which is school specific, and

there is a learning curve to use these programs, suppliers

have another opportunity to sell schools more software.


There is an online version of an electronic whiteboard at:-

Free Online Electronic Whiteboard,


But when you think about it you can do the same in Microsoft

Word(Excel etc) using a digital projector.

One of the benefits of Electronic Whiteboards is seen to be,

that you can print it out - you can also print out a word

document, email it to the students using our new web

services email program or publish it to the web if you so desire.


The benefit of digital projectors are:

They allow use of current software, film, TV and internet.

No additional software purchase.

There is no learning curve beyond the use of the digital

projector - plug it in and use it.

They are portable - allowing use in classrooms as well as at

conferences and out of school venues.

They allow teachers to prepare work at home on their 'laptops'

ready for use the next day - and can eliminate or reduce

the use of the black/whiteboard in classrooms.


Links Page on Electronic Whiteboards or Smart Boards

Dangers of Electronic Whiteboards,,2-1451266,00.html


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

Send you responses in as usual, I’M SURE A LOT OF YOU



7B. We Need a Stable Platform, Maintenance Free, Dual Platform

APPLE - Almost but not quite.


Hi Cathy,

I really enjoy your newsletter and am going to let all my newsletter

subscribers know about it. I too look forward to the day when I can

run windows on a Mac. Before taking my current contract teaching

in China I was lecturing at SCU Coffs Harbour and they supplied

a powerbook as part of the deal. There was no contest.

The Mac was awesome.

Charlie O'Sullivan


Have you seen the OECD report on computer usage??

Search google(couldn’t find this so if anyone can please send the link in)

OECD computer use in schools 35 countries compared

Seems Australia is 'up there' with the ratio of students to computers..


The report actually asked WHAT THEY WERE DOING? With them..

Seems it is across the board the same..

Word processing...






A very very expensive expenditure on nothing much creative...


But..ask mac users and you find word is rarely used..and often

not connected to internet

Because it is a creative ,machine and there is no time for

messing around

The machines are booked solid in schools to work on movies

and picture shows  and now with iWeb) on web pages


With podcasts..blogs ..and picture galleries..all provided

out of the box!!

I had a recent experience with a school which ahs just

purchased 200 DELL notebooks...

They would like to do POD casting...

My advice...get a mac PC can create podcasts as

simply as a MAC

They thought they could...but the process is to use

powerpoint..export as jpegs into garageband

and synchronise the pics with the voice


Alternatively ( for video iPods) use imovie and synch picture

stills as movies with voice


Choose to output to iPod..through iTunes...or...use bluetooth

To send to mobile phone!!!!!!

Again..this is built in..

Load win XP...why bother????

A complete distraction!!!


Apple have better things to do with their time

Thanks again cathy

from Gary Bass


Thanks again Gary – at least there are  resellers who are out there

and who know what they are doing.


Dear Cathy,

Have just read your second newsletter and found both really

informative and useful.


I am a teacher currently working as a Librarian/Computer

co-ordinator in a school with all Macs and have always owned

and used Windows machines (except for my Commodore 64

many years ago).I have a few comments about the latest

Mac v Windows debate:


I have found Macs to be no more reliable than Windows

computers I have used. In fact, my school recently had 2

out of 7 brand new G5s in the last roll out crash and need

new logic boards within 3-4 months of delivery.

I also have found that the Mac OS is also not immune

to problems. OSX seems to be an improvement at this stage

but I have had no real problems with Windows either.

Windows does get viruses, but if Macs become more popular

they will be targeted more. They are not intrinsically immune

to malware.

 The new Macs with Intel chips (Apple finally catches up

but still manages to act as if it had been right all along), might

be able to run Windows but WON'T be able to run old programs

in Classic mode.

 Ideally we should have a computer that runs the software

that we want without having to worry about the OS

Thanks for your newsletter,

Ian Gay,

North Newtown PS


Hi Cathy,


I have been offered the opportunity to make up a ‘wish-list’ of

what hardware and software I would want in an ICT rich

classroom – with the relevant costing.  I have come up with a

few things, but would like your help.


What sort of hardware would you envisage being available to

teachers and students in a classroom?  I have listed:



At least 4 computers

A TV/DVD – wall mounted


Data projector

Good sound system

Digital video camera

Digital camera

Relevant software – Flash, Photoshop, Inspiration etc.


What do you think?  I can list what I want, because there’s no

guarantee that this will go ahead anyway!



Victorian Government School


Thanks Julie this is a pretty good list.  I would include one laptop

for teacher use as well. AS far as software goes – I believe

less is more, I would like to see:-


Microsoft Office

Photoshop/Photoshop Elements

GoLive/Dreamweaver and Flash

Final Cut Pro Express

& access to Google earth, wikipedia and everything wonderful

on the internet.




---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Spelling Bee

Pick from falling letters to spell the word on your screen. As you progress from easy mode to normal, the letters start moving faster. In hard mode, there are no starter letters, and you need to spell the entire word that matches your picture. With each correct word, you are rewarded with a little animation, and your word moves over to the finished work space. Spelling words are at elementary grade level and include "lion," "robot" and "zebra."


FunBrain: Spell Check

Choose the one word in each set of four that is spelled incorrectly, and then spell it correctly. If you get 100% on all twenty problem sets, you can add your name to the Leader Board. Easy level is for elementary grades with words such as "table" and "chair." Hard level is for middle school kids with words such as "mischief" and "shepherd."



Dear Cathy,

It’s great receiving your letter, a good help and it always gives

me lots of ideas to keep going.


I was wondering if could anybody help me out. I am always looking

for short  funny type sentences for my English students to learn.  

For example: "See you later alligator. and they would answer

In a while crocodile"  or another one like "Easy beasy" and

they would say " Lemon squeezy".


Any more suggestions Please?

Pauline from Spain.


Any Suggestions??/


Hi Cathy,

Love your regular emails - always something to help me.


Something that Jenny may be able to use with the new reporting

system.  I do not how much the expectations of NSW children

line up against the Vic children but commonsense says that

they should be extremely similar.  Here is the website for the

dimensions to be used in Maths and English in Victoria

For an average student achieving at the expected rate the progression should approximate:

Prep (end of first semester) - 0.5

Prep (end of year) - 1.0

Grade 1 (end of first semester) - 1.25

Grade 1 (end of year) - 1.50

Grade 2 (end of first semester) - 1.75

Grade 2 (end of year) - 2.0

Grade 3 (end of first semester) - 2.25

Grade 3 (end of year) - 2.50

Grade 4 (end of first semester) - 2.75

Grade 4 (end of year) - 3.0

Grade 5 (end of first semester) - 3.25

Grade 5 (end of year) - 3.50

Grade 6 (end of first semester) - 3.75

Grade 6 (end of year) - 4.0

Hope that I have been of help.


DE&T says that progression points for all dimensions will be added gradually to the site.



Hi Cathy,

Just out of interest... I'm wondering how teachers feel about

primary school websites?  How important are they and do

schools 'really' need to have a website?  Who constructs and

manages the website (and/or the intranet) at your school?

And is 'time' an issue, re the website/intranet?  Are there other

issues which arise from 'the primary school website'?


What do you think??

Websites are now pretty compulsory really, even at Primary

school level.  Usually teacher’s construct and manage them,

however if you are lucky you may find a willing parent to

assist.  Time is certainly an issue. My suggestion, start simply.


Hi Cathy,

Once again a great newsletter. Readers maybe interested

in the following link re safe Internet search - 'Scandoo...automatically

scans all search results to protect you from visiting web sites

that spread malicious viruses or spyware, and protect you

from viewing offensive content' - We have placed Scandoo

as default on our school computers. Feedback from

teachers and parents is quite positive.

Ta Jasia

Looks pretty good to me.


Hi Cathy

Here in Vic we were looking at implementing the Department software - QuickVic. It was nothing like quick.


We have a technician available to our school approximately

14 hours per fortnight. They were supposed to be trained in

the installation and running of the Dept software - WRONG.

He started to try and fathom his way through the installation

process - 4 hours later he was still going, and looked like taking

many more hours. Technicians had to network amongst

themselves to pass on solutions and fixes to problems.


My principal was aware of the situation and made a call that

he was prepared to spend about $1000 on bringing in a company

that had developed their own software that also met the Vic

State gov't requirements. Once engaged they arrived at our

school on a Monday morning, trained the Principal, AP, and

another key teacher in the administration of the software, and

it was installed on all teacher's laptops by the end of the day.

There were two hiccups with the software when specialists

went to use it, but these were fixed within 24 hours.


This was money well spent - a huge amount of stress was

lifted of many shoulders, and all staff had a product that

was easy to use in time for mid year reports.


It would be great if, when governments mandate a reporting

format, that they spend enough time and money to make

sure that the products provided to schools are easy to use

and easy to manage. We don't need days to install complex

databases that need a technician, and possibly a dedicated

server to run.


After all we are teachers trying to report on students, not

technicians trying to manage databases.





Just thought you would like to know that I very much appreciate

virtual teacher and often use material on it for my classes.

Thank you. Judy McCue - Lindisfarne Anglican School Northern NSW


10.  NEXT ISSUE - Tim’s tips next newsletter.


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


Delivered FREE to your e-mail box every fortnight.

Online Lesson Plans, Great Sites, Free Stuff, Tips, Time savers,

and templates.

Computer Solutions for Teachers. Subscribe today! It's

totally Free! Just type subscribe in the subject and send it to me.


Reach a growing audience of teachers,  by advertising in the

Virtual Teacher Newsletter or on the Virtual Teacher site.

For more information contact,

For information about inservice and training contact me at