Virtual Teacher Newsletter  No. 142 - PODCASTS RULE




1. Welcome

2. Mind Candy

3. WWWinfo Easter Show

4. New Printables -  A Hard disk in1956

5. Technical Stuff - Seminars

6. Web Site Focus - Outer Space

7. Better Bookweek Links

8. Great Sites

9.  Readers' Requests/Comments

10 Next Issue

11. Code of 'Netizens'

12. Tips


1. WELCOME EVERYONE. Podcasts and audio, video downloads
are everywhere and are fantastic for the classroom.  Listen to some
of the podcasts from New Scientist, search their website,

you're sure to find something relevant to whatever you are teaching,
and it will certainly liven up you science lessons. Check out the audio
file on another great moment for Australian Scientists, we're such a
clever bunch when we put our minds to it………………

Dr Scott Cohen - breakthrough in Cancer research. Listen to the audio.
It's such a wonderful time to be teaching, information at your finger
tips, latest breakthroughs available immediately. Fantastic resources.

VT will have a break til after the Easter Holidays, have a great break.

ciao Cathy


If you give a boy enough rope ... he'll bring a stray dog
home on the end of it! Greg Mitchell
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak.
Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965 )
If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.
Anatole France (1844 - 1924) French novelist
The definitive site, if you are not using this site for maths,
writing  and anything else you can think of, do it now.
It's a hard disk in 1956....

The Volume and Size of 5MB memory storage in 1956.

In September 1956, IBM launched the 305 RAMAC, the first computer with a

hard disk drive (HDD). The HDD weighed over a ton and stored 5MB of data.

Makes you appreciate your 4 GB USB flashdrive, doesn't it?
Scholastics Seminars
Some great seminars to inspire at this site.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- proudly presents its first seminar in the 2007
seminar series - Challenging how knowledge is created. 
The keynote speaker for the seminar, which will be held in
Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne, is Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia.
MIT's OpenCourseWare: a free and open educational resource
(OER) for educators, students, and self-learners around the world.
6. WEBSITE FOCUS - New Scientist

This is a fantastic site, lots of off the wall science in short snippets.

The magazine and this site are great reading for students and create
quite a buzz about science. Type into the search engine any
current topic you are covering in Science and something current
is sure to pop up - adds immediacy and currency to Science

The Podcasts are also great adding a hip, modern feel to a subject
that can be rather dry, but I'm sure you don't teach it like that??
New Scientist Podcasts



What are the hidden messages in your classroom?
Here is a rather provocative article by Pete Reilly,

read it and let me what your hidden messages are,
and more importantly what you think they should be.
'They are leaning that discovering and creating knowledge
is beyond the ability of students and is really none of their
business. We have shut students out of virtually every real
decision that has an effect on their schools and their learning.'
'They are learning there is always a single unambiguous right
answer to a question. If it can’t be measured, it’s not taught.'

Pete Reilly


Does it Matter? It sure does. Send you responses in.

How we teach, is one of the most powerful educational
tools we have. 


Dear Cathy and Netizens,

I have been reading this newsletter for a while now and I am happy to see

so many problems are universal - or slowly becoming so.  I'd like to

respond to the "don't think, just follow' school of thought - there will

always be one.  It is human nature to question, to ask, and eventually to

rebel and change what does not feel right. Especially in the teaching

community, there will always be one teacher strong enough and loud enough

to make a stand and demand something better - isn't that what we are

supposed to instill into our students? To not just be accepting of their

fate, to inquire, to make their own opinion about everything?  At least

that is what we try to do.


I am a young, female, high school math teacher - apart from lower primary

male teachers - this is possibly the smallest cohort around!  But I love

my students, I love my job and I will do whatever it takes so that my

students succeed - and I am constantly being warned about burnout and

professional isolation - I work hard, and unfortunately I work alone for

the most part.  I do not have a separate space from my classroom, though I

have lobbied for a small office for a year, and the timetable does not

allow much time for collaboration - and as a high school teacher I am not

exactly sure what this means or encompasses. There are no working role

models for me to imitate.  But I am trying, reading, and just flying by

the seat of my pants. Tough kids too, but I am tougher.


Finally I'd like to make a recommendation - a gentleman called Greg

Mitchell is currently touring our school, showing us ways to re-engage our

students, how to make the classroom safe and productive.  He is presenting

a module on Success for Boys, but he is a great 'feel good' motivator,

whose mission is to make himself redundant.  If you hear about him, get

him in, especially near the end of the term/year, just when you need a

laugh and a bit of pep!


Thanks for a great mag, great responses and plenty of food for thought -

Keep up the great work!



Great email Carolyn - great to hear you are out there
lapping it up.  I can just imagine the hidden messages
your kids are getting - great ones by the sound of it.

Congratulations - don't loose it - you  will have more fun
and satisfaction and so will your students - eat it up
enjoy it. There is no excuse for having one dull

In an article in the Weekend Australian, the one credible
scientist in the program has asked that the show never
be aired again with any footage featuring him in it. As a
past journalist and a current English teacher, my only
comment is that programs such as this, masquerading
as a 'documentary'  are the easiest resource I  have to
demonstrate propaganda to my students.  I love them
for their pseudo science and generalisation. Judy McCue.


I agree Judy, they are great jumping off points for
doing more research and finding out more substantial
information about a topic.

This page from the Climate Denial website is a useful
resource for evaluating the global warming swindle doco...

best regards,

Brent Hoare

Here's another alternate view - great - we should review
everything. Provide our students with as many opinions and
studies as possible, so that they can make have informed
opinions, and be open to changing and amending them as
more information comes to hand.



San Francisco Symphony Kids: Instruments of the Orchestra


 SFSKids is on my list because of its friendly animated interface.
Learn about the instrument families, and then explore the
rest of the site. My favorite feature is The Radio, which consists
of six channels, each featuring a different musical theme.
For example, Channel Two is Big Moments, and includes
Richard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries, Aaron Copland's
Fanfare for the Common Man, and Igor Stravinsky's Rite
of Spring (among others.)



This is one of my personal favourites.  Great site with great
information, al the usual Discovery channels are represented here.
There is a video of the day - that actually works. There is Discovery Kids,

including games and puzzles, Animal Planet and much more. The search
engine is great just type in any topic to access info on this
great resource. Try Egypt…

The Discovery Atlas - is great, using the backbone of google earth,

information, and video and images pop up for different locations.


Renaissance Connection

"In many ways we are still living in a Renaissance world.

And you can see the origins of our world in the visual arts of

the Renaissance." Although I normally skip as fast as I can

over Flash intros, I did enjoy this one. Turn on your

speakers to hear the accompanying music. The Renaissance

Connection is one of my annual picks because of its creative

interface and six lesson plans in PDF. Visit to explore the life

of a Renaissance artist or to imagine yourself a patron of arts.




Hi Cathy

I always seem to read but not contribute so here is a URL
that is not too well known as it has only been operating a couple
of months.  It is aimed at teenage girls.
Jenny Stubbs

When I clicked here site was offline and clicked through
to a magazine site. Seems to have some interesting
topic - what do think.


I am a mature age new graduate teacher (ie, I’m 40 and have
just completed 4 years of uni for the first time in my life,
I have two kids of my own, both primary aged)  I have used
your newsletters for my practicums along with using them
for my actual teaching work.  I’ve just begun, after 4 weeks
of work, to find the time to read beyond the immediately
useful information and read the comment from James
Stewart of Kidman Park Primary School.  Now I’m not
sure if he is from the Kidman Park Primary School in Adelaide,
South Australia, or if there is also a Kidman Park in America,
either way I would be interested to hear a response from you
concerning his comments (and others who have commented). 
I understand that this newsletter is not costing us a thing
(thank you) and you are, of course, under no obligation,
however as a new teacher I am interested in both sides
of many debates and if you were to respond in your
newsletters it would be greatly appreciated.  I am currently
 being totally stunned as to the realities of some schools
(eg suspension being a regular thing and kids behaving
in ways that my kids would be shot for) and so all comments
from everybody are just adding to my knowledgebase.


Thank you so much for your wonderful newsletter and any
extra commentary you can give would be wholeheartedly
appreciated.  Being a computer whiz I do spend time with
other teachers to help them with their computing shortcomings
– I figure that’s the least I can do for their help with my
teaching shortcomings.


Thanks for your newsletter,
Jacki Dyte
Jacki mentions the discipline issue in schools.  Goes back to
many previous issues in VT, also the forum question this week.

What are out hidden messages, how relevant is our curriculum,
are we teaching kids what they need to know?  Are we empowering
them and giving them relevance, or making them feel worthless??

10.  NEXT ISSUE - VT secrets of Time Travel revealed.

Stay tuned to this next exciting episode. 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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