Virtual Teacher Newsletter  No. 61  November  15th  2002 ­DIGITAL AGE OF TEACHING




1. Welcome

2. Mind Candy


4. New Printables - PUZZLEMAKER

5. Technical Stuff - ACER Presentation

6. Web Site Focus - VISUAL LITERACY


8. Great Sites

9.  Readers' Requests/Comments

10 Next Issue

11. Code of 'Netizens'

12. Tips


1. WELCOME EVERYONE  I went to a fabulous lunch this week

at the new Adobe Offices at Chatswood in Sydney.  What a treat, not many school days include Cordon Bleu cooking, a glass of wine, excellent coffee; and great ideas - I loved 'image interrogation'.  Visual Literacy was the topic of the day, and Anne Bamford presented an excellent round-up of the research todate, and some insights into their preliminary findings.  It was great to have some innovative ideas and perspectives presented on this new and expanding area of education.  This type of presentation is just what teachers need, an input of new ideas, in a professional environment with a great lunch.  Teachers need to be treated professionally,  great lunches and new ideas, forums for exchange of ideas and networking occur in the boardrooms around the world, the educational issues and concepts discussed in this type of relaxed professional setting are MORE important than any other commercial boardroom. Not about profits and AD campaigns, strategies and accounting, they are about the EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF OUR MOST VALUABLE FUTURE RESOURCE, OUR CHILDREN.  More power to Adobe and companies like them, who invest money in education and educational research, provide training and forums for educational discussion.  More on Visual Literacy below.



Some jokes to make them laugh................................

What was the pirate movie rated?



What subject is a witch good at in school?



What do firemen put in their soup?

Fire crackers!


Why did the cookie go to the doctor?

Because it was feeling crummy.


What did the duck say when he bought lipstick?

Put it on my bill.


What would you call a sleeping bull?

A bulldozer.

Why do cows have bells?

Because their horns don't work.


What pie can fly?

A magpie.


How can you make seven even?

Remove the "S".


Did you hear about the two silkworms who had a race?

It ended in a tie.


My Favourite Jokes from


3. WWWinfo Teachers Jobs on the Net



An Old VT favourite - Just a reminder for Christmas Activities.



DON'T miss the ACER Computers & XSIQ coming up next week. It's FREE, you will hear about all the latest ideas and offers, in  professional elegant surrounding, just what teachers deserve.

Sydney is on Tuesday from 4.30pm-6.00pm at the Novotel Olympic Park Homebush Bay

XSIQ and Acer signed an agreement in September 2002 for the bundling and distribution of a hardware/software

solution for Australian and New Zealand schools.  The result?  An

affordable, reliable, high quality and cost-effective learning solution

for schools.

Contact Jason Shanley

XSIQ International Pty Ltd





Research todate has been a bit thin on the ground in this area. Dr Anne Bamford presented findings from recent research conducted in conjunction with Ian Brown and Wollongong University.

"This paper overviews an Australian study of Visual literacy in relation to educational multimedia communication'.


Basically students aged 10-15 were shown 20 images and asked 3 questions:-

What is this image trying to communicate?

How has it been made?

Who made the image?

Then students used PhotoShop to manipulate pictures of themselves.

They were then shown another set of 20 images(similar to the first) and

asked to respond to the same questions.


Basically the study showed that students understanding of Visual Images, became more sophisticated with just 1 1/2 hours of experience with ADOBE Photoshop.  Students initially had a very superficial understanding of the meaning of an image, even tough they often understood the 'idea' the image was conveying.  After working with Photoshop they began to understand how image had been made, structured and crafted to  achieve the impact of the final idea.  These leads to a better deeper and more critical understanding of visual imagery.


This study was a preliminary study only, designed to point the way for more rigorous studies in the future.  The outcomes were not unexpected.  Presenting a new program to students will naturally provide them with new insights and understandings, otherwise there would be little reason to use software in education.  The gender differences noticed by the researchers are apparent to observant teachers, many boys will try to produce gross, and disgusting images whereas most girls will try to produce beautiful images, images that are more appealing.

WHAT WAS INTERESTING the development of some new - to me at least terminology, I loved - 'interrogation of the image'. I loved the fact that this area is now being considered for research and is being funded, finally being acknowledge as an important aspect of education. We are, as the paper states, an "information and image-permeated society'.

ALSO the researched gave the 10-15 year olds a brief introduction to a complex program, PhotoShop, and the students were able to manipulate images and produce results with it almost immediately.  Anne mentioned that in her masters class, over 14 weeks, PhotoShop would be taught in stages, with a new tool/tools being introduced over the period.  The students in the study were able to navigate the program and produce results without the need for sequential, analogue tuition.  SO HERE is a research technique that dynamically shows the downward escalator model of technology.  HERE IS a research technique that acknowledges and uses a 'digital' rather than 'analogue' approach to teaching. A DIGITAL approach that offers all the information simultaneously, students select relevant material, use the help menu, use friends ask questions, find out answers directly related to their immediate needs.




Therešs quite a few here to sift through, enjoy them.

Barbara's Christmas links page from Palmerston

A Christmas Treasure Hunt - I liked this one.

How is Christmas celebrated around the world?

A page of Christmas links for websites, webquests & worksheets at:

Santa's Mail Room

Celebrating December Around the World -

Education World offering on ways to incorporate the holidays into your

classroom; includes ideas from articles and websites to help you plan


Clip Art -

Free images you can use on your webpages, newsletters, activity sheets and letterhead. Check this out!

Christmas Around the World -

Extensive listing of traditions from various countries.

Christmas on the Net -

Excellent overview of the history and traditions of Christmas; includes an animated calendar and  music files

Christmas Traditions in France and Canada -

Available in French and English, a joint effort from Canada and France

to present the traditions of these nations in consort: family traditions,

religious traditions, community celebrations, and coverage of the

Middle Ages, the 15th through 18th centuries, and the 19th and 20th centuries.

Dozens of downloadable recipes you can use with your students.

Party Games and Ideas -

Puzzles and games you can use in your classroom this December for

Elementary and Middle School aged students.

Trees and More -

From the University of Illinois Extension, a highly comprehensive guide

to all kinds of December greenery: varieties, facts, traditions, care,

events, flowers, recipes and so much more (thus, the title!).

Trivia Quiz -

Thirty questions on Christmas traditions presented in an interactive

multiple choice format which allows the participant to click on any and

all of the choices to test their knowledge and gain information on the

history of this holiday.

The Twelve Books of Christmas -

Recommended reading from the American Library Association for Christmas

season in your classroom; great Children literature to enrich  your unit of study

Virtual Christmas Tree Farm -

The Christmas Tree Farmers of Ontario have put together this virtual

field trip to a farm to learn how trees are grown, cared for, harvested and

sold for the holidays; includes a history of trees and kids activities too.

Worldwide Christmas Calendar -




Songs for the End of Year Concert

Marvelous Toy

Site packed with everything, and I mean everything.


Netd@ys 2002 - Images of Oz, chats, forums and OzProjects.


Illuminations (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics)  This is a fantastic site - just what you have been looking for - Interactive maths activities online

Spanning the entire K-12 range, this great resource includes:

1)i-Maths: online, interactive, multimedia math investigations. All i-Maths are built around interactive math applets, and some also include video clips.

2)Internet-Based Lesson Plans: examples of how the Internet can be used to help create effective Standards-based mathematics lessons.

3) Math-lets: math applets you can download and use to explore math and create interactive lessons on your own.

4) Inquiry on Practice:  video vignettes, research reports, and articles designed to encourage thinking and discussion about how to improve the teaching and learning

5) Selected Web Resources: use the dynamic table to selectively search over 1040 carefully reviewed resources.



HOT HOT HOT In Search of the Ways of Knowing -Trail 5 Star Rating

Your trip to the village of Epulu takes a detour when your jeep experiences mechanical failure. You are forced to walk through the Ituri Forest in central Africa accompanied by four youths from different local cultures. Along the way, you'll make choices and learn about plants, animals, and survival. A Forest Factbook serves as a glossary. Totally Flash-driven. Could get noisy!

years 3-12




I enjoy your newsletter. You and your readers may be interested in

my pages on

Webquests and On-Line Research Modules

and Collaborative Projects: Co-operation Across the World by E-mail and



Rosemary Horton Teacher Librarian

P.L. Duffy Resource Centre Trinity College

East Perth WA 6004

thanks Rosemary - updated


Hello Cathy,

This is great stuff.

Who funds it?

Where do you teach?  I see indications of Sydney's East - pics of Rose

Bay sports and promotion of Crown Street.

I have a 9-year old daughter currently at school in London.  We are

returning to Sydney (Balmain) for the start of the 2005 school year.  I

have been disappointed with the apparent failure of Sydney girls'

schools to recognise just how central the Internet is going to be to

almost any kind of work in the year 2018, when my daughter will be 25.

Which schools are on top of the Sydney heap?


Boyd Munro


Hi Boyd,

No Funding - just what I think should happen - free ideas - free info and lots of use of computers that save time and energy and make education more thrilling.  I consult, to a few schools, I write, I teach, I also run inservice courses. In my other life I work as a producer on commercials and films, website design and promotion.


AS to which schools are the best in Sydney - hard to say.  My daughter was enrolled in one of the top private all girls schools - too prescriptive and stereotyped - much more so than equivalent boys schools - many of the public schools here are fantastic.  It really depends on the sort of child you have.  Quiet, and obedient, fairly standard sort of child there are some good all girls schools that would suit, Kambala, Ascham, SCEGGS.  Outgoing, original, creative, imaginative - your out of luck.  Most of the girls schools seem to want to fit your child to their mold, this can be great if you have a sort of mold fitting child - I didn't.  So public schools were the best bet, and there are many great public schools around.  There are a couple of co-ed private schools that are sounding pretty interesting at the moment - Redham House and the Sydney Grammar School - however I have had no personal experience of either.

I guess it starts with your child - what sort of child is she.




Hello Cathy,

Found this interesting site when researching water tension, after Master 8 wanted to discuss ways of testing the strength of the surface tension of different liquids (not to be confused with density as I have found out!)  Well, I am still looking for answers, but thought you might like to take a look at this site, and add the link to your resources if you think it is worthwhile.

I always look forward to your newsletter and have used your resources endlessly.


Susie Wurf

Here is another Cathy, for young arty folk.  It is abit over American in parts, but worth sifting thru and lots of good links to follow.


Susie Wurf

Good Teacher resources to check out


Susie W.


Thanks Susie - What do you all think of these....


10.  NEXT ISSUE -  I probably went a bit overboard this week with the Christmas sites ­ there are so many out there. Next issue I will take a further look at Visual Literacy.  Any thoughts???? 




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