Virtual Teacher Newsletter  No. 90  May16th 2004 ­ GREAT TEACHERS




1. Welcome

2. Mind Candy

3. WWWinfo Australian Bureau of Statistics- School trends

4. New Printables - The Fable For  School People

5. Technical Stuff ­ My New G4, Atomic learning for 1 Month

6. Web Site Focus ­ visualizer mathematics

7. Geneology

8. Great Sites

9.  Readers' Requests/Comments

10 Next Issue

11. Code of 'Netizens'

12. Tips


1. WELCOME EVERYONE.  Something Special ­ for my 90th

edition I treated myself to an Apple G4 1.5 gig laptop. WOW,

and Iım considering some really big questions, likeŠ.


I have been musing on  this one for some time. It's a pretty preppy

question really, and also a little introspective.......  It's not the great

presentation, the wiz bang effects, the planning, the time/effort

deal, all these things can help; the nut of it is to inspire kids to

action.  Not what you do, but what you can inspire them to do.

I am not going to re-use the word motivate, because that conjures

up notions of tricks, rewards and tokenism. Itıs real action,

generated by real interest and curiosity, the type of inspiration,

way of seeing things that goes on well after school is out for the

day and hopefully for the rest of a students life.


Itıs a way of looking at things, of seeing something in a new

way, of inventing learning as you go along, of seeing it for the

first time, of bringing a new perspective. Itıs a way of making it

fresh and personal.  If you can inspire students to do even some

of these things ­ you are heading toward being a great teacher.

And the great thing is that the journey becomes more enjoyable

for everyone.



³After all, kids like to play games, but they don't like school.

But, Gee noted, you cannot learn in school unless you are motivated.

It is important to not set up a false dichotomy between gaming and

learning. Though gamers say "I don't think of it as learning,

" it is clear that they learn a great deal.

Identity - "No learning happens apart from an identity,

" notes Gee, and suggests that in online games players

create and are committed to an identity for an extended

period of time. In order to learn through experience, you

have to experience from a place, from a perspective, from

an attitude. In order to learn science, therefore, you need

to take on and customize the persona of a scientist.²


Œwhen a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something

is possible, he is almost certainly right, but when he states that

something is impossible, he I very probably wrong.ı Arthur C. Clarke *


³The real history of progress is the unfolding of endless layers

of surprise.  What constitutes a surprise can, in itself, be rather

surprising, too.²*


³Trying to second guess tomorrowıs surprises requires thinking

around corners, or what might be called knightıs-move thinking;

itıs a question of jumping three steps forward ­ this part often no

more than straight-line extrapolation from what already exists

­ and then, crucially, one step to the side.²


³A Brief History of Tomorrowı Jonathan Margolis 2000

Bloomsbury Publishing NY


3. WWWinfo

Australian Bureau of Statistics

Australian School Trends!OpenDocument

National Report on Schooling 2000 2001



Hereıs an old favourite of mine:-

The Fable For  School People

³ONCE UPON A TIME, the animals decided they must do

something heroic to meet the problems of "a new world".

So they organised a schoolŠŠ²

Seems more examples of this last week than usual, good to reflect.



I have just purchased an excellent new G4 15² 1.5gig PowerBook

 ­ itıs fantastic. I now have a portable classroom, showroom,

a go anywhere  virtual teacher. The new features o this little

beauty are numerous.  But there are a few that have me really

intrigued. GarageBand ­ is a marvelous piece of software that

enables folk to produce their own multi-track music, record it

and play it back. Students can produce their own music to

accompany PowerPoints and movies they produce without

worrying about copyright. Its an excellent piece of free software

bundled with the new G4s,  and rounds out nicely the

iphoto, idvd, imovie, itunes line-up.  The Visualizer ­

mentioned again below is a knock out, and plays full screen

­ what a wonderful use of mathematic.



Atomic Learning

The free trial is now for the full Month of May so the sooner people ask, the longer they will get!


This is a fantastic offer ­ please take advantage of it.  Youıll kick yourself if you donıt.


The demonstration Computer Skills Assessment Practical Test for Year 6 is now available for demonstration at this URL.  It is a diabolic mess really.  Press Œf11ı for full screen view of test ­ this will help some folks.  Just for laughs take the demonstration yourself. Are you up to this practical test??  The trick with it will be in the ability of students ot deal with the procedures rather than their knowledge of computers.  For  international and interstate folks ­ please let us know how your Educational Authorities are dealing with Computer assessment ­ are there better ways out there???


6. WEBSITE FOCUS - Mathematics behind the Music Visualiser

I used my new G4  with iTunes to play ŒWar of the Worlds, and

turned on the music Visualizer.  On this laptop it plays full screen

and is quite spectacular ­ really WOW factor, the same thing

can be done on PCs in the media player program. The music

 is accompanied by visuals ­ that are fantastic, abstract, and

based on mathematical formulas like fractals.  They are complex

versions of the simple algebraic equations students learn in

school. What a wonderful application of mathematics. 

Show students the visualizer ­ and tell them that it is

all based on mathematics, algebra in fact.  Below are some

sites with images and formulas to really start investigating

this highly inspiring territory.

Chaos theory


Fractals Chaos and mathematical Formulas



NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages ­ online searchable database for NSW from Births [1788 - 1905]  Deaths [1788 - 1945]



Provides searchable databases, family trees, mailing lists, and message boards.


The Genealogy Homepage

Genealogy help and guides, a variety of resources, maps, deeds, software, events and more.


Cyndi's List

A categorized & cross-referenced index to nearly 229,925 genealogical resources across most counties on the Internet.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has "the world's largest family history library." Site includes information on getting started with genealogy, maps, forms, guides, and much more.


World Gen Web Project

A non-profit, volunteer based organization dedicated to providing genealogical and historical records and resources.


Genealogy Today

Articles, tips and links geared toward a variety of levels from beginner to professional.


Genealogy Instruction for Beginners, Teenagers, and Kids

Projects, interview tips, books, blank forms, and more.


Tracking Your Ancestors

Project idea for younger children: make a tabletop map showing your family's history.


Genealogy Today Jr.

Tips, family stories, "fun ways to learn about genealogy" and more.

Links from recent article in HEM




Count On Maths Games and Activities


Microbe World

Resources and hands-on activities.


About Flash



Dear Cathy,


The following comments rang a big bell with me.

        "I think I am taking a stand.  I think unless we start to get

computers working better in schools with the right software – up-to-date equipment enough technical support and teacher tuition we are going to

frustrate ourselves back into the 19th century."


I have been an IT manager in a high school, and I have seen so many teachers

put off by bad experiences in the computer lab that they virtually never

used the resource again. This is a huge waste of capital investment and a

great shame, because as you regularly show us, there is an fantastic array

of great material available in electronic format (either via the web or on

CD/DVD),in virtually every subject area. However, the mechanics of using

this material with a class still puts many teachers off.


That is where this new software that can make a difference. ClassIT from

Fourier Systems ( is one of a new class of network

management software that you load over the top of what ever network you are

running in your school, and when it is installed (which takes about 15

minutes), it gives the teacher complete control over what goes on in the


Teachers can view every student screen on their monitor as thumbnails, they

can zoom in on one student screen, they can take control of a student

computer to demonstrate procedure, they can black out screens, lock

keyboards, broadcast their screen or any student screen to the whole class,

they can restrict web access to selected sites or block selected sites, thay

can restrict access to selected applications or block access to selected

applications and they can communicate by voice, message or chat to selected

students or the whole class.


With just a little training, teachers from all areas, primary and secondary,

suddenly find their computer lab lessons a much more rewarding experience

for all concerned. It is also a great monitoring system for the school



You can download a free 30 day trial of ClassIT from here

but if your subscribers would like a CD and printed Instruction

Manual, they can send me an email to

and I will post them out a package. I can

also offer them direct support while they are trying out the package in

their school. Virtual Teacher subscribers will also receive a special

discount, so be sure to mention Virtual Teacher in your email.


Peter Niass

National Education Manager

OZIntell Pty Ltd


What do you think of Peterıs idea ­ let me know???


Hi Cathy


I just wanted to say well done! I have only just begun as a

subscriber to your web site. For many years I have been a

subscriber to many OS sites but your's is truly Aussie. Great

work and thank you



Thanks Kerrie


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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