Virtual Teacher Newsletter  No. 64  January 31st  2002 ­ DIGITAL LIFESTYLE




1. Welcome

2. Mind Candy

3. WWWinfo

4. New Printables -  Watchable -MACWORLD

5. Technical Stuff ­ NASA Press Release

6. Web Site Focus ­  Computer Lab Tips


8. Great Sites

9.  Readers' Requests/Comments

10 Next Issue

11. Code of 'Netizens'

12. Tips


1. WELCOME EVERYONE. I hope everyone had a great holiday.

Now Term 1, 2003.  On January 7th, Macworld San Francisco

was held.  You can watch the Keynote address by Steve Jobs at :

Streaming video, fantastic.  One and a half hours direct from

the net, amazing. I was thinking, wouldn¹t it be wonderful to present

lessons like this to my students, wouldn¹t I love to motivate and

stimulate and excite as much as this presentation did. Apple has

come along way from the early days of expensive high end

machines marketed only to professional users, they now target

everyone and have fantastic programs, a wonderful OS, great

prices, just check out the latest Teacher prices at:-

Nano Technology has lept ahead with predictions of smaller

things to come.  Check out the tips for Operating a computer lab,

and send me some of your own.  Have a great term.



"You can learn many things from children. How much patience

you have, for instance." Franklin P. Adams (1881-1960)

American journalist, humorist, "Nods and Becks"


"I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my

ship." Louisa May Alcott (1832-88) American writer, reformer


 "The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery."

--Mark Van Doren


"Compassionate teachers fill a void left by working

parents who aren't able to devote enough attention

to their children. Teachers don't just teach; they

can be vital personalities who help young people to

mature, to understand the world and to understand

themselves. A good education consists of much more

than useful facts and marketable skills."

--Charles Platt


"You can observe a lot by just looking around."                  

Yogi Berra



Searchable movie database, gives specific details of ratings

including the US MPAA.  The intention is to provide specific

information about movie content and ratings.



Not a Printable but a watchable.

Steve Jobs Keynote address at MacWorld



SAFARI Speeds Web Browsing

The fastest and easiest to use web browser ever created

for the Mac, Safari features integrated Google search

capabilities, SnapBack for retracing web paths, improved

bookmark management and automatic ³pop-up² ad blocking.



Everyone Can Now Edit Video Like a Pro


AIRPORT Extreme 802.11g Wireless Networking

Five Times the Data Rate, Wireless Bridging & USB Printer Sharing

50 computers.


iLIFE­ This is fantastic ­ everything integrated.

Latest Versions of iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD & iTunes Work

Together Seamlessly

iLife is the only integrated suite to include all of the four

applications required for today¹s ³digital lifestyle²‹digital

music, photography, moviemaking and DVD creation‹and

 is the first product to offer the benefits of seamlessly integrating


³iLife does for our digital lifestyle what Microsoft Office

did for office productivity‹all the applications you need

are in one box, and they all work together,² said Steve Jobs,

Apple¹s CEO. ³Apple is far ahead of its PC competitors in

offering the best-in-class applications for digital music,

photography, moviemaking and DVD creation, and now they

all work together seamlessly.² The iLife retail package $95 AUD



Professional-Quality Presentations for Everyone. Steve Jobs

used this for his Keynote address at MacWorld. A new generation

of presentation software that brings the ability to create stunning,

professional-quality presentations easily.



12-inch PowerBook G4 with a brilliant 12-inch, active-matrix

display housed in a lightweight, durable aluminum alloy enclosure

weighing just 2.1kg Teacher¹s Price from $2,063.60AUD



First Notebook to Feature 802.11g Wireless Networking, FireWire

800 & Backlit Keyboard

For more details:-

Over the next few newsletters I will take an in depth look at

some of this products.



NASA Breakthrough Method May Lead To Smaller Electronics

From: A NASA Press Release

NASA scientists have invented a breakthrough biological method to make ultra-small structures that may well be used to produce electronics 10 to 100 times smaller than today's components.

As part of their new method, scientists use modified proteins from 'extremophile' microbes that live in near-boiling, acidic hot springs to grow mesh-like structures so small that an electron microscope is needed to see them. A research article describing the new technique appeared in the Nov. 24, 2002, on-line version of the journal Nature Materials.

Scientists have crystallized new protein to form tiny, flat, lattice-like structures that act as nano-templates. These crystalline structures, made of rings about 20 nanometers across, are about 5,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter.

Technical information about the new process can be found at:


Images are available at:

High quality audio files are available at this URL:

Questions: E-mail:


Online Course Available - the intro videos are great.  If you are

looking for online courses to upgrade your skills these may suit,

there are sample units to try.


IrfanView is a very fast, small, compact and innovative FREEWARE (for

non-commercial use) graphic

viewer for Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000/XP. IrfanView is free for educational

use (schools and universities) and for use in charity or humanitarian

organisations. Many plugins available. Only one EXE-File, no DLLs, no

Shareware messages like "I Agree" or "Evaluation expired"  No registry

changes without user action/permission!

Download at


GEM lives in Syracuse, New York it is the Gateway to

Educational Materials, located at

and sponsored by the US Department of Education. It is non-commercial,

and aims to be a way of getting people in touch with educational



Free Downloads and Tryouts ­ Of many major software programs.


Australian State wide software deals on computer software


The 12th Annual Conference of the Queensland Association for Gifted and

Talented Children inc. will be held at the Queensland University of

Technology (QUT), Kelvin Grove, on the weekend of 16th-18th May 2003.

You may wish to note this date in your diary.

The conference theme is "Productive Partnerships for a Smart Education".

The conference web site is ...

If you are interested in presenting a paper or workshop, please download the

"callforpapers.rtf" from


StarFest May 2nd ­ 9th  2003

Information about the StarFest 2003 week, and that call for participation

is now at


A new US study regarding 'high-stake' testing of students

More Schools Rely on Tests, but Study Raises Doubts

December 28, 2002 By GREG WINTER

Rigorous testing that decides whether students graduate, teachers win

bonuses and schools are shuttered, an approach already in place in more

than half the nation, does little to improve achievement and may actually

worsen academic performance and dropout rates, according to the

largest study ever on the issue.


With calls for accountability in public education mounting, such

make-or-break exams have become cornerstones in at least 28 states in

the drive to improve public schools. The idea is that by tying test scores

to great consequences, the learning process will be taken that much more

seriously and tangible progress will be all the more likely.


The approach is also central to some of President Bush's sweeping

education overhaul, lending even greater momentum to the movement

known as "high stakes" testing.


But the study, performed by researchers at Arizona State University

and financed by teachers' unions that have expressed skepticism about

such tests, found that while students show consistent improvement on these

state exams, the opposite is typically true of their performance on other,

independent measures of academic achievement ...

Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company


6. WEBSITE FOCUS - TIPS for Working in a Computer LAB

Terrie wrote:

My school is taking the plunge and setting up a new computer lab

for next year. The aim is to ensure all children get adequate IT time.

Has anyone been involved in the setting up of a lab and have suggestions/recommendations? Are there any rules/ideas to ensure

that the lab that runs smoothly and efficiently?


We already have a projector which the boss aims to hang from the

ceiling as a fixture. We will have 17 PCs and will be purchasing a laser

printer. We are looking at at server. At present all PCs are peer to peer.

The lab is being set up in what used to be the AV room so it is quite

secure and air conditioned.


As for the lesson formats and structure, I guess that will be trial and

error for me. It's very daunting! I will check out previous newsletters

though I can't remember seeing anything that springs to mind at present.

If you think of anything to help the lab routine run smoothly, I'd

appreciate a line!!

Have a great Xmas, stay safe and rested. Thanks for another great

year of IT support.



Hi Terrie,

This is a pretty good question. The school is a Primary school. 

Setting up a server is most important and should bee done as

soon as feasible.


1. Initially set up all computers with the same interface at start

up.( as students become more proficient this is less important)

2. Establish rules of computer use that all students sign.

There is a computer policy document at

3. Also a Scope and Sequence.


4. Set up a folder for each class on the server, and a folder

within each class for each child. (kindergarten and year 1

maybe better simply to save into class folders).  Establish

saving process into personal folders in your first lesson.

5. Use a the computer activities downloads

 as lesson starters, or other similiar ones.  I actually like to

make up plastic sleeve books - one for each computer, with

these so that I am not continually running off stencils.

6. I also like to work on one program for each term - not chop

and change.  So work on Word for a term, Excel, PowerPoint

for a term etc.  This consolidates the learning.

7. Teach the students to be self sufficient, ask each other,

use the help key, before asking the teacher.

7. All students must stay in their seats with their computer

and hand-up for attention.  You can't solve a problem unless

the child is seated in front of the computer.

9. Computer lessons are about discovery learning, there is no

need to cover every detail.  Give a small amount of info, use

the stencils at VT, show or discuss the required result, and

let the students discover as much as they can.  Demonstrating

a procedure from go to whoa is a bore, and the students

don't need it.

10. All Intros should be kept to 5 minutes maximum.

11. Students need to ask precise and thoughtful questions ­

encourage this.

12. Stop five minutes before the end of the lesson, and discuss

what the students have discovered.  Praise and support

discovery learning.  Value the discoveries the students have made.






Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates introduced a number of new technologies at

the International Consumer Electronics Show. CES


1.    This fall, watch makers will begin selling 'Smart Wristwatches'

that receive a constant, low bandwidth stream of data over the FM

spectrum. People will be able to get info like weather, traffic, and

stocks on their watches. IT works with a 28 megahertz processor. The

prices will range from $200 to $1,000.

2.    'Smart Refrigerator Magnets' could also be programmed to receive

traffic data, school lunch menus, or local restaurant ads. These would

also use the FM spectrum.

3.    A sewing machine that can download stitch and embroidery patterns

from the internet.



I have noticed the development of a new style of online sites

- they are not just replicas of the paper versions, they are using

the new media, the internet to invent new ways to communicate,

they are more fun, easier to use and more motivating - they save

time and enhance learning - way better than the old, time wasting,

laborious older website styles - bring it are a few that

fit this description


This site is fantastic, easy to use and fun to play, and it deals with

multiplication.  It has worksheets and awards to download as well.

 It can be downloaded onto your pc to play of line - great site.


Multiflyer is a fun online game developed to help anyone who is learning

multiplication tables. It takes place in space and even sprinkles in

learning about the planets. You can play it online, or register and

receive a full downloadable version as well as downloadable interactive

support tools. The game lets you figure out the answers, or you can turn

off the table and wing it on your own. Simple, fun diversion to help

reinforce multiplication skills.




A beautiful site built with Flash. A bit of a time waster? Or really

more like a trip to an online interactive museum of new media--but hey,

that's educational too! Features a considerable collection of lovely,

addictive games and a smaller collection of interesting media called

"Experiments." (Roll down past the News)




This wacky Web site, hosted by Science Bob from his mobile

science lab, has amazing science facts, trivia, and tips on tackling

science fair projects. Read the silly scientist's Q&A section, then

select weird items -- slime, rock candy, chicken bones, etc. ­

that the entire class can experiment with.


National Library of Virtual manipulations  this is a great site ­

I played it for ages.

Kids in all grades can use this site's marvelous math manipulatives

by moving and arranging them on-screen! Users can finish colored

bead patterns, add electronic base-ten blocks, find areas and

perimeters on virtual geoboards, and more! Teachers can click on

"Standards" to learn the NCTM standard supported by each game.




Dear Cathy

Many, many thanks for your efforts for 2002. I was made aware of

this site during this year and have passed on ideas to many others

from your Newsletter. I begin at a new school next year so will

check for those who have not heard of it there.

My contribution is this upgrade to Outlook that you can add by

"clicking" on the suggested bar. Heaps of fun to add to all your

emails etc.

Best wishes for Christmas and 2003.


Diane Boon


Western Australia

Thanks Diane


Dear Cathy,

I had bookmarked this great website ( well I thought it was great)

that was called something like 'teachers suitcase' it had a series

of icons on the screen that you could put your homework on ,

messages , sites for children to use, etc. I think it was made by

Kathy Schronk (?) I can't find it again, do you know what I am

talking about? If you do could you send me the site.



Hi Raelene,

You may mean the Discovery School - Kathy Schrock - some

good stuff at this site - however I don't know which part you are

referring to.

Could be custom classroom

Let me know if this is the one.




I am working in a school in Hounslow, London. I am looking for a

site for teaching phonics audio visual (reception class). you had

a site some months ago which had pictures and a rhyme for each

letter but i seemed to have lost it. i would be grateful if you could

find that site or you know of any others. great site by the way.

thanks phil...


Hi Phil,

Great site - still works beautifully - turn up the volume.




Hi Cathy

What a powerful story!!






You're definitely a star! I've been teaching for 18 months and love your

newsletter - such a wide variety of useful resources and great teaching


Many thanks for all your hard word.

Have a wonderful Christmas.



Dear Cathy,

I was most interested to read of the online computer training site you sent

out in your newsletter. What if people are going away? Can one do this

course at any time of the year?

Also, I'm not familiar with the term 'printables'. I was a Victorian

teacher. I presume they mean lessons which can be printed off. Is that


Also I'm pleased to see in the newsletter that there are links to

unsubscribe and resubscribe. I am also changing my email address

shortly as I am going cable :-)


Jenny Campbell


Hi Jenny,

As far as I understand courses can be completed at anytime.

Access is given for a certain period only once the fee is paid. 

Printables is a common web term used mostly for black line

masters, and is also used for printable documents.




Hi Cathy

Thank you so much for your excellent newsletter.  I look forward to

receiving it every fortnight. 

Can you recommend any sites for successful multi-age group

classes in upper primary?  Can you also recommend any sites

that have essential Australian knowledge for upper primary


If you are looking at studying 'learning to learn' with your kids a

great site can be found at

Definitely worth spending some time there.

Have a great Christmas and New Year.

Irene Louden

This is almost interesting site.

Hi Irene,

If you search the VT site you will find many sites suitable for

multi-age groups.  I like http://www.enchantedlearning .com,

all the sites above in this newsletter under Œgreat sites¹ would

be great.  There are so many, you would need to pick a topic

and search.  A good starting place is just a search on the Virtual

Teacher site.  For Australian sites there is a link on VT:-




Dear Cathy, what you said about John and the Blue ribbon dedication was


Thank You Beverley Fine


10.  NEXT ISSUE -  More on Apple ­ starting with ILIFE. 

Some great sites and webquests on Energy and Simple Machines.

Any ideas you would love to share ­ send them a long. Perhaps a

slogan to start the term, for the Classroom and for the WorldŠ


Have a gigafloppingly brilliant fortnight.


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