Virtual Teacher Newsletter  No. 156 February 3rd 2008 - TRUST THE TROOPS




1. Welcome

2. Mind Candy


4. New Printables and INTERACTIVES - ART

5. Technical Stuff - STEVE JOBS KEYNOTE


7. Cathy's Forum TRUST THE TROOPS

8. Great Sites

9.  Readers' Requests/Comments

10 Next Issue

11. Code of 'Netizens'

12. Tips


1. WELCOME EVERYONE. hope you all had a great break.

Best one I've had for years. I holidayed in Tasmania and stayed
at Tarraleah, the oldest hydro-electric town in Australia.


2008 promises to be a great year, wonderful new ideas and innovations,

watch Steve Jobs keynote address, with your students. Incorporate
a bit of Open Space thinking in your classroom.  And think about
TRUSTING THE TROUPS.  Give me you thoughts on this one.

What are you plans, what great websites and IT ideas have
you discovered, send them in, I just love them.




There are Four Principles and One Law which serve as
guides to the leader and all participants.
The principles are:
Whoever comes are the right people.
Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
Whenever it starts is the right time. When it is over, it is over.

The Law of Two Feet.
Briefly stated, this law says that every individual has two
feet, and must be prepared to use them.


Harrison Owen


Chaos is the way the fields of the mind are plowed so that
new ideas can grow."


You gotta' have a dream or how are you going to have

a dream come true? South Pacific


"You know, at one time there must've been dozens of companies
making buggy whips. And I'll bet the last company around was
the one that made the best goddamn buggy whip you ever saw.
Now, how would you have liked to have been a stockholder
in that company?” Larry the Liquidator


It is not how old you are, but how you are old.
-Jules Renard, writer (1864-1910)


Our heads are round so that thoughts can change direction.
- Francis Picabia, painter and poet (1879-1953)


3. WWWinfo - TIME and DATE
fascinating site to explore.

Leap in to Leap Years
Why are they used??



Make your own art a the NGA, abstract, still life, interactive
art that you can make online.

Try the collage machine
or the jungle scene
or the Brushter


If Macworld Expo is the biggest week of the year for the Mac market
and the  biggest day of the year is when Steve Jobs kicks off the
annual Mac trade show with his keynote.
This is great to watch every year.

Here is a great site to use as a model. There are some great
ideas here, which can help define your leadership in the classroom
going forward in 2008, I found some ideas reinforced existing
practises, and others opened new avenues for development.
In the final analysis it remains true that genuine learning only
takes place on the basis of interest and commitment, and there
is absolutely no way to force any of that

Sensitive leaders today, in a world marked by progressively
expanding Open Space, know all too well that most of what
they have to deal with is beyond their control, and maybe
out of control.

Leadership defined as control can only fail. But that is not
the only definition. Gandhi described the leader as one
who intuits which way the parade is moving, and then races
to reach the head of it. The function of leadership is to provide
a focal point for direction, and not to mandate and control a
minute-by-minute plan of action. The details must be left to the
troops, which means amongst other things, the troops must
be trusted. In no case can any leader possibly solve all
problems or direct all actions. Leadership in Open Space
requires that one set the direction, define and honour the
space, and let go.

There are Four Principles and One Law which serve as
guides to the leader and all participants. The principles are:
Whoever comes are the right people.
Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
Whenever it starts is the right time. When it is over, it is over.

The Law of Two Feet.
Briefly stated, this law says that every individual has two
feet, and must be prepared to use them.
Harrison Owen
7. CATHY'S FORUM  Trust your Troops

For a long time, trusting teachers and students has been off
the agenda.  Protocols for assessing students and accountability
have been at the forefront of educational development. Simple trust

is used, only as a last resort. I find that trusting students, is
absolutely the best option, micromanaging them is the worst.
Checking that every assignment is finished, every page is complete,
all homework is done, is an onerous task for both
teachers and students, and it is based on
micromanaging an ever increasing TICK, sheet of outcomes.

The more time is spent on this type of stultifying drudgery,
the less time is available for true creativity and excitement in the classroom.

Jettison the driftwood in 2008.

Claim back great teaching and learning.

Trust your Troops.

Teach them about trust and achieving the best they can for themselves.

After all, it's all for them.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts.

Does it Matter? It sure does

Hi Cathy,

I have been receiving and reading your newsletter for ages now,
and hate to say bad things at Christmas time, but I am sure that
no-one will see this until back for the new year, so here goes.

I interview all apprentices wanting to be Refrigeration Mechanics
in South East Queensland. There are many issues we discuss,
including licensing, method of delivery of training, scheduling
of training, qualifications of tradesmen, and so forth.

I recently had an enquiry from an employer wanting to engage
a mature age apprentice. The apprentice was in his early thirties
but was unable to read or write. I find this unacceptable in
Australia in 2007, and can only wonder how such a thing
can happen.

Before attending the technical college, we now apply a
Language Literacy and Numeracy indicator to ALL students,
and find that about two in ten have some form of educational
deficiency. We are unable to put pre-requisites on our students
due to the training packages and an apparent belief that apprentices
do not have to be able to either read or perform simple mental

Everybody in industry MUST be able to read and interpret
Material Safety Data Sheets. Their very lives depend on this.
In our trade, we must be able to make single digit calculations
immediately and involving positive and negative numbers.
Without this ability, our tradesmen are unable to perform
their duties satisfactorily.

Our next situation is when we identify these educationally
challenged young men and women. We are unable to make
them seek remedial training. Of course we offer such a service,
but this is all we can do. About one in ten receiving the
offer will actually accept and engage in the remedial training,
which is generally basic arithmetic.

I think that Mr Rudd, instead of giving students computers
would be better advised to see that they are taught to read,
write, add, and subtract first.

It is all very easy to say that teachers are to blame, but that is
not the answer to the situation.  Some months ago, I ran across
a couple of young 'about to be teachers' who had recently
earned their degrees and were about to go teaching high school.
Being an evil old fellow, I asked one of them to subtract minus
two from plus two. After a couple of "I don't understand what
you mean's" the young ladies father answered "four", so you
see, there are some generational problems here. We as
parents have a responsibility in the training of our children,
as does the government through it's educational systems.

I thought that a simple question should have automatically
rolled off a young teacher's lips, but find it sad that people
without the necessary skills will be responsible for the training
of my grand-children.

In these days of 'Skills Shortages' this impacts on vocational
Unfortunately by the time we get to them, they are out in the big
bad world where they must perform or perish. Look to Bill Gates.
Life isn't fair, and you don't pass exams by just repeating them
until you finally stumble over the line. If you think that you can
be an apprentice to 'find yourself', forget that too. Once Year 12
is over, it is time to either be very good, or fall by the wayside
and be trampled.

With a drop-out or failure rate in the order of thirty per cent,
the skills shortage will continue for many years to come. Industry
WILL NOT lower it's standards or expectations, nor should it.

The bottom line is that some tradesmen have much higher
earning potential than university graduates, and should not be
considered to be second class citizens any more. Strangely
enough, it is now quite common to enrol graduates in
apprenticeships. Some come from research facilities, and
others from engineering areas. They are most welcome because
they progress quickly and generally offer some degree of peer
support to lesser students.

Just to sum up, I would like a Christmas present from every
high school teacher in the system, whatever subjects they teach.
Lead your students along the simple arithmetic (mental)
path, and make certain that they can read and comprehend
all the words BEFORE you teach them to appreciate the Bard,
because if they are unable, they will not flourish.

Cathy, I do love reading your newsletter, and I do believe that
ALL teachers have their hearts in the right place, especially the
ones that read your newsletter, but that is not enough.
They must prepare their students for life in the big boy's sandpit
and I still believe that this can only occur with a return to simple
teaching methods of fifty years ago. Please don't judge me
harshly and if anybody wants to take issue, please ask them to
email me, then I will certainly back up broad statements with facts.

In the meantime, may I wish the compliments of the season
to all the Netizens.

Trevor Phipp



Valentines Day


Great site for histories great speeches, video and audio files.
Including science and technology, mystery, exploration and lots


Hi Cathy

Enjoy your break...well deserved!!

Linda Zugai


Hi Cathy

How about iWeb? Would certainly let Kieran easily modify and
create web pages. Results are brilliant.

Have a great Christmas.

Garry W.


Hi Cathy,

If I could give you some other options for Mac web page building


iWeb is part of Apple's iLife suite. It's an easy-to-use program.

RapidWeaver is also a very good Mac web building program

Sandvox is another

Here is an article that compares these three applications:

The discussion at the end of this article is interesting, and includes other

possible applications. I personally use Dreamweaver, but the cost is more

prohibitive for schools. One FREE solution for schools is to use Google Page

Creator. It's cross-platform and very easy to use:



10.  NEXT ISSUE - Innovative ideas and how to stimulate
them. Send in your ideas.


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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