Virtual Teacher Newsletter  No. 81  IMAGINE AGAIN ­  November 1st 2003




1. Welcome

2. Mind Candy


4. New Printables -  Next time

5. Technical Stuff ­ G5 + Seminars

6. Web Site Focus ­ New Look PBS


8. Great Sites

9.  Readers' Requests/Comments

10 Next Issue

11. Code of 'Netizens'

12. Tips


1. WELCOME EVERYONE.  This fortnight I have been busy

evaluating a new type of software, I think weıll see more of this

type of software in the future.  It offers a comprehensive basic

skills program in mathematics. Students can work at their own

pace, and evaluate their own work, this is a much better solution

to learning basic skills than the current methods of whole class

teaching and is an excellent use of technology for the classroom. 

It frees the teacher to do the real work of teaching, inspiring,

challenging, discussing and praising.  Check out the Maths

Power article below.



Make definite assertions. Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating,

non-committal language.‹ Rule 12


Strunk, Jr.


Surely the world we live in is but the world that lives in us.

Daisy Bates

Social Worker 1863-1951


"It's not me who can't keep a secret it's the people I tell

that can't." --Abraham Lincoln


I have found the best way to give advice to your children is

to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.

  --Harry Truman


"Never again will we stand

On the threshold of a new age.

We that are here now are touched

In some mysterious way

With the ability to change

And make the future."


- from Ben Okri's

Mental Fight: An anti-spell for the 21st Century

Phoenix House, London, 1999

ISBN 1-861591 64 0.


"Things are more like they are now than they ever were before."

  --Dwight D. Eisenhower



How did I happen to be here? (past)

How do I feel about being here? (present)

What would I like to have happen? (future)



Next Time Iıll have some Christmas Templates, if you have

Some great ones send them in.



Release of panther

Mac OS X has evolved. The fourth major release in just

three years, Panther offers breakthroughs in innovation,

ease of use and reliability that wonıt be seen in other

operating systems for years, if ever.


ACEC 2004 : "Research,. Reform,.. Realise the Potential!"

Call for proposals (papers, symposiums, workshops, and posters)

³We would like to invite you to attend ACEC2004 and

submit proposals for papers, symposiums, posters and

workshops. The proposals will examine the use of

information and communication technology in education

and training.  Proposals on papers, symposiums and posters

will be reviewed for inclusion in the conference program. 

Accepted papers and symposium summaries will be published

in the refereed conference proceedings.²



Are you using Macromedia products in your school and want

to know more about the new features in Studio MX 2004?

Do you want to encourage more of your staff and students

to contribute to the intranet and the school web site?


If you answered ³yes² to either of these questions then

donıt miss out on attending this free Macromedia demonstration.

When:-           Thursday 6th November

Time:- 4.00 pm ­ 6.00 pm

Coffee and tea from 3.30 pm

Where:-          Cheltenham Girls High School

                        The Promenade ( off Beecroft Road )


Presenter:- John Treloar


Country Manager

Australia and New Zealand

To register for the seminar please contact Linda Zugai at Edsoft.



The Young Australian Readers Award - this year's children's choice is

Diary of a Wombat,

written by Jackie French

and illustrated by Bruce Whatley. 


For any one-topic group discussion, use the QuickTopic free bulletin boards instead of just email! Your messages will be in a private central place, and each of your friends can opt to participate by email or just use the web forum. That's because QuickTopic's super-easy single-topic web bulletin boards are also fully email-enabled : you can get and post messages via email. Use it on your web site too. Over 200,000 served.


Seminars Adobe Australia

³Imaging Solutions Aust presents BRUCE FRASER

in a series of inspiring SEMINARS AND WORKSHOPS

DON'T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN FROM ONE OF THE MASTERS. Bruce Fraser is an internationally known authority

on Digital Imaging and Colour Management. In addition to speaking

and consulting on these topics, he has co-authored Real World

Colour Management and The Real World Adobe Photoshop

series of books, and is contributing editor for Macworld

magazine and The National Seminars

and Workshops will explain the new features of the latest Adobe

Photoshop and will demonstrate colour management in detail

from the master himself. The Bruce Fraser Tour is sponsored

 by Adobe

Adobe Creative Suite is the complete design solution for

print and Web publishing. Featuring new and full versions

of Adobe's most famous software, Adobe Creative Suite

combines Adobe Photoshop CS, Adobe Illustrator CS,

Adobe InDesign CS and Adobe GoLive CS with Acrobat 6.0

Professional and the new and innovative Version Cue - the

enhancement that brings your files together and your ideas to life.

Seminar -Monday 17      November, 2003

€ 10:00am - 4:30pm (9:30am registration)

Sydney Maritime Museum - ANZ Theatre, 2 Murray Street,

Darling Harbour


Workshop -Wednesday      19 November, 2003

€ 10:00am - 4:30pm (9:30am registration)

College      of Fine Arts - Computer Lab No 1, Greens Road,



To help you discover the full functionality of Adobe Creative

Suite, Adobe is holding a series of free, one-off  in Australia

and New Zealand.


At our special event we will show you the real business

benefits of using the Adobe Creative Suite in your digital

workflow. You will also see how tight integration allows you

to switch applications without slowing down, thanks to

common commands, tools and palettes. And, of course,

we will include in-depth demonstrations of each new

version of the component products.

Get Creative Suite Premium:



Thursday,  6th November

Bradman Theatrette, National Convention Centre


Wednesday, 12th November

Palladium A/B, Crown Entertainment Complex


Thursday, 13th November

Wesley Theatre,  Wesley Conference Centre


Friday, 14th November

Ballroom North,  Sheraton Brisbane


Thursday, 20th November

Hall A, Adelaide Convention Centre


Friday, 21st November

Ballroom, Duxton Hotel Perth


Wednesday, 26th November

Ballroom, Crowne Plaza



PBS is a great site with lots of reliable info. As well as online

quicktime movies and interactive components.

Try the Gallileo section

or the excellent section on The Runaway Universe

or Check out the 18 ways to make a baby


7. Maths Power ­ Software ­ designed for Australian

students by Australian Teachers

Back to the Future Education


IMAGINE, thereıs that word again, one of my favourites.

Imagine a lesson in which you explained a concept from

beginning to end logically, with a little flair, a few insightful

comments and NO interruptions.  No knock on the door,

visit from the head teacher, collections for charity, reminders

about the Sports Carnival, loud speaker announcements,

giggles from the 2 boys at the back, pencils dropped, thrown,

sharpened, pencil cases opened, closed, dropped, recovered,

no absolutely urgent questions about the lunchtime activities

for the junior school open day in 2 weeks time, no emergency

gossip, visiting parents, late notes, toilet requests, injury

reports; ŒSTOPı, she says, IF YOUR NOT ACTUALLY

BLEEDING PROFUSELY NOW, then youıll just have to

wait till I have finished speaking, type of interruptions. Imagine it,

the power, the learning, the satisfaction.


The Maths Power folk have given a teacher this opportunity,

and it is brilliant.  The voice over teacher explains each Maths

concept logically, in a consistent manner.  He asks questions

to provoke thought and engage the listener.  I enjoyed listening

to the Mr Chips type voice, not patronizing more informative,

it makes you feel as if you are being let in on Mathematics

little secrets. Each mini lesson is approximately 2-6 minutes

in total.   Not to long, in fact a length ideally matched to the

attention span of most students. These small bites of information

do enhance learning. Like any good teacher, the Maths Power

Teacher breaks problems down into smaller components and

consistently solves problems using the same logical steps.

The instructions are simple and clear and it seems as though

the teacher is talking directly to you. The lessons work from

the simple to the complex in logical steps, and with no

interruptions, even algebra can seem easy.


So how does it all work.


First you load in the program and then login with your

name and password.  The first screen that comes up gives

the grade level access to the program you have purchased,

in our case years 7 & 8. The next screen lists the topics.

The program suggests you start with some ³limbering up²

exercises to practice speed and number skills.  The speed

skills are beat the clock fast answers to the simple arithmetic

questions and are completed on the computer. The sound is

quite addictive and Catherine and I wanted to beat the clock.

The number skills are done on the computer, and practice

more complex multiple digit calculations.  . All results are

recorded to track progress. There is also a neat chart for

recording results of speed tests, to print out. The suggestion

in the manual is that you start each session with these

Œlimbering upı exercises, a great idea and a great learning

habit to train. You will need to use the Numbers Lock and

Numbers keypad for entry of answers to the games and speed sections.


Then itıs onto a selection of a topic, and a sub-topic. My first

choice was Algebra II, Indices 1.  Lessons are figures/numbers

only, with areas highlighted as the teacher speaks emphasizing

the lesson points and concepts. This is most effective and you

can watch videos as often as you want, youıre in charge. 


After  watching the video, the you can print out a set of

questions with all the answers at the bottom of the page.

I thought the answers at the bottom of the page was a flaw,

but no, these guys have it worked out well.   The answers are

in random alpha order, enough answers are tantalising close

to make it quite a challenge.  Once the questions are answered

using good old pen and paper, the alpha equivalent is entered

into the results grid on the computer. Click OK, and all the

incorrect answers are highlighted, YOU CAN HAVE A SECOND

TRY. This is great, you really feel in charge, you have the power. 

Correct those few pesky little mistakes. Click OK again and

your results are recorded, sans silly mistakes.  The program

keeps a record of your results and progress, you can also

keep a written record on the sheets provided in the folder.

There you have it, Bobıs your uncle. Slick effective and

NO interruptions.


The presentation is simple, it doesnıt try and get too complex

and uses predictable procedures. Headphones are an

advantage, a none interruptable clear concise explanation of

mathematical concepts is a dream.


This program represents a new style of software.  It provides a

comprehensive program covering the core mathematics syllabus

for most curricula.  It allows students to progress at their own

speed and evaluate and control their own learning, to repeat

lessons as many or as few times as they need.  Students who

learn quickly are accommodated, students who learn slowly are

accommodated.  Using these types of programs the pressure is

off the teacher to pitch a lesson to the whole class. Basic

mathematics can be learned individually by students at their own

pass in their own time. Mini lessons can be given in an ordered

logical manner without interruption.  Once basic skills are nailed

by a program such as this teacherıs can get on with the real

business and enjoyment of teaching mathematics:-


Like discussing the lives of some the great mathematicians,

Erdos, Heptia, Pythagoras, Euler, Mandelbrot,

discussing some of the great mathematical problems like,

The Bridges of Konigsberg or The Value of Pi or

Puzzle of Primes or The Problem of Points or

A Proof of the Pythagorean Theorem

and discussing some contemporary mathematical problems,

why are their traffic jams, why do buses come in threes,

how can we solve the canteen queues and get lunch quicker.



Great Dictionary Site


Sun monitoring screensaver downloads the latest images from

the SOHO (The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) every

time it starts up. Check out the official SOHO homepage

Download the SS directly here



by Barbara J. Feldman

The following recommendations bring the study of grammar into the

Internet age with their use of email, forums, and the Web.  


11 Rules of Writing


Today's first site condenses English grammar down to just eleven

rules.  Drawing heavily from The Elements of Style, an anonymous

college teacher created these rules based on his experience

grading freshman papers.  Each rule is hyperlinked to examples

of correct and incorrect usage.  For questions not covered by

the eleven rules, peruse the Frequently Asked Questions page. 

And for extra credit, click on the New Word of the Day (at the

bottom of the page) to scroll through some high-school level



Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation


"Effective Writing.  Rule 1. Use concrete rather than vague

language." As the title implies, Jane Straus's guide is divided

into two sections:  grammar and punctuation.  Each is further

organized into rules with examples (navigate these with the

drop-down menus), exercises and tests.   The quizzes are not

interactive (try printing them instead) and include answer keys

on the same page.  A print edition of The Blue Book is also

available for purchase.


Common Errors In English


From "AM/PM" to "your/you're," this clickable alphabetic list

of errors is fun to peruse. Sometimes the easiest way to learn

proper grammar, is to learn what NOT to say.  For example, did

you know a "pompom" is a large gun, but  the fuzzy end of ski

hat is a "pompon"?  And a narrow confining garment is a

"straitjacket" not a "straightjacket."  Just click on any

phrase for the complete skinny.



Dear Cathy,,

I am making a school intranet page of websites for primary

school children and teachers to link to when searching for information.


I would like to use a copy of the title image ³logo.jpg² as the

image for my link to this page

and am asking for your permission to do so.

Judy Miller


Happy Valley Schools

South Australia


Hi Judy,

That will be fine.


Hello Cathy,

I received your newsletter today with the green light of our fantastic

highlights on for educators, families and students

online. Thank you for your interest in sharing the rich content of this site

with your visitors! I look forward to reading the well of resources shared

in your future newsletters.

In addition, how many readers is your newsletter distributed to monthly?

I look forward to hearing from you.


Katherine Foster

On behalf of

Connors Communications


Hi Katherine,

Keep me updated on all new Smithsonian events - currently I have over 5,500 subscribers WW - many newsletters goto schools - these are distributed amongst staff of between 10  plus staff.




Dear Cathy

I'm not sure if you have already told your readers about this great new

search engine. It is excellent for children to use.

The URL is

Thanks for your brilliant newsletter. I finished my BEd next month and I'm

looking forward to going out teaching and having the chance to use some of

your fantastic suggestions.

Many thanks

Louise Camden


What do you think of this search engine??

10.  NEXT ISSUE - 


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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