Virtual Teacher Newsletter  No. 91  May29th 2004 ­  THE GOOD WAY TO LEARN




1. Welcome

2. Mind Candy

3. WWWinfo Today Tonight

4. New Hearables -  Seymour Papert

5. Technical Stuff ­ 1 to 1 Conference

6. Web Site Focus ­ Peace Education


8. Great Sites

9.  Readers' Requests/Comments

10 Next Issue

11. Code of 'Netizens'

12. Tips


1. WELCOME EVERYONE.  Last night was the first really cold

night of winter.  I unwrapped my doona and was enclosed in a

wonderful warm cosy cocoon that made the job of sleeping a


Comfortable, warm and cosy is not the way teachers are currently

feeling, about their profession, so at least thereıs the doona option.

Synonyms for  cosy  include calm, comfortable, stress-free,

hassle-free, peaceful and tranquil, and Iım here to tell you that

teachers in NSW are not feeling any of these things either.  

We need to attract the best people into the profession and then

support them so that they can do the best job possible for our

children, I have always believed that teaching children, future

generations, is one of the most important things anyone can

do; itıs hugely important. We need the best people, we need

to support these people with structures that mean they can

get on with doing the best job possible, more time with their

students, not fixing computers, administering tests, filling in

endless paperwork, making grant applications, raising money with

chocolate raffles and  the like.


ŒOver the past 25 years teachersı salaries have fallen in real

terms from 150 percent of the average weekly wages to hovering

close to average.ı Sydney Morning Herald School Sport Linda

Doherty May 29-30 2004 PP29

So you donıt attract the many of best people, and you donıt keep them.

And the ones that stay, because they just love teaching, feel devalued,

and are exhausted through overload.

I hope that some sanity prevails, I hope solutions are found, otherwise

 we face a really cold winter of education, that will see the vast

majority of the states children disadvantaged and our

best teachers demoralized even further.



Seymour Papert ­ USE IT NOW

³Now with the computer, somebody whose interest is in graphic

arts can use mathematics as an instrument to produce shapes

and forms and motions on a computer screen. Somebody who's

interested in music can make digital musical instruments, and so

right along the line, we have infinitely greater ways of connecting

the particular interests that an individual human being might have

 -- and a kid particularly -- with the powerful ideas. And so they

really can learn knowledge by using it, and that's radically different

from school, where you learn knowledge which you are not going

 to use. Maybe never, or maybe even if you are going to use it in

12 years' time, even granting that what they learn is going to be

useful one day. That's not a good way to learn. The good way

to learn is to use it now.² Seymour Papert



³ In the rush towards artificial intelligence, it is all too possible to

forget that the naked, non-electronically enhanced human brain

is bound to remain the thinking organ of choice for the

over-whelming majority of the worldıs population.²

*pp 165


³Shlain believes language and literacy have been responsible 

for the subjugation of women by men throughout recent history.

This is because language and, even more so print are functions

of the left hemisphere of the brain and as such are essentially

male-dominated functions. What is happening now, Shlain says,

is that the graphical, visual nature of film, television, and. most

significantly, the internet, have put women, n whom the nurturing

holistic, right hemisphere of the brain dominates, back in the

driving seat, or at least in a more equal position in societyŠ²

*pp 76


*A Brief History of Tomorrow

- Jonathan Margolis, Bloomsbury NY 2000



Offers a great search facility for all itıs stories. As do other

news providers and TV shows.  If you are trying to find a recent

story goto these sites and use their site search engines

­ spectacularly effective.




Hear Seymour Papert on Project-Based Learning

The renowned expert on children and computing describes learning environments in which children collaborate on meaningful projects

and powerful ideas. 11/1/2001



Seymour Papert visitis Australia - one not to miss

there may be still time to register if you are quick.  This is the sort of PROFESSIONAL CONFERENCE teachers should be attending.

A major thinker in education and technology for over 40years

Seymour Papert ­ visits Australia to give the keynote at this conference.

If you are serious about education in the next millennium

you canıt miss this.



I have been using Photoshop Elements lately and loving it.

The students love it ­ it is quick and easy to use at start-up as

well as offering a lot of sophistication available in the full-blown

Photoshop, and for a literal fraction of the price about

$69.00 AUD per user. A knock out product at an affordable

price for schools.  Try it out  for 30 days your self.

The stitch program is fantastic.


6. WEBSITE FOCUS - Peace Education area:

Human Rights:


Our own ABC Civics:



Food Safety Music

The Elvis of E. Coli provides new lyrics to old rock songs, including

Stomach Ache Tonight, We Are the Microbes, and many more hits.


Virtual Museum of Bacteria

Brings together many links on bacteria, bacteriology, and related

topics available on the web. It also provides clear

information about many aspects of bacteria.


Bacteria Study Kit

This is an all-in-one source for culturing common bacteria.


Henry the Hand

Henry offers information on food safety and the importance of hand

washing, plus activities and a contest.


Stalking the Mysterious Microbe

Solve microbe mysteries, conduct experiments, read microbe news and more.


Home Food Safety Survey

Kids can have fun surveying their households for areas that need

improved food safety action.


Cells in Their Environment

In-depth study guide for information on cells and microorganisms.


Educational Worksheets from GlowGerm

The producer of GlowGerm, the bacteria simulator, offers some

experiments and information for educators.


Sponges and Sinks and Rags, Oh, My!

Where microbes lurk and how to rout them.


How Stuff Works: Black Light

Of course, the kids wanted to know how the black light works.




The Place for Kids on the Net(K-6)


Aussie School House

Readers Theatre Scripts for Science


Where Money Sense Rules including the Budget Gadget and Calculator


E- learning Student Internet Projects


Cover Check and Write Spelling Words Online


First 100 Hundred Words


ESL Word Lists ­ Words Ranked in Frequency of Usage.



From: Wendy Hughes

I visited the and in 15 minutes I found an

error in the mathonaire game and also the circus matching game. Although the

games look great, having correct answers recorded as wrong could be

frustrating, if not confusing for some students.


Hi Wendy,

Thanks for the feedback - I played them for a while but didn't check everything so didn't find the errors. I guess it would be good to let them know.

Hope you are using the free atomic learning site - that's excellent.


Hello Cathy.

Just a quick congratulations on the newsletter. I subscribe to a

number of newsletters (US based) but am constantly frustrated

that the contents aren't really relevant to an Australian context.

Keep it up.

Also, that IT teaching program of Peter's sounds excellent. 

I've found one of the biggest problems with IT lesson is that 

it is virtually impossible to have all kids on-task at the same

time. The idea that you can conduct and troubleshoot from

just one computer is great and a long time coming.

A real time saver.

Cheers, Paul


Today Tonight aired the Cellfield program on

Reading resolution

REPORTER: Chris Allen

BROADCAST DATE: January 28, 2004

The Cellfield program offers new hope for these kids.

Many children suffer problems with reading. If they fall too far

behind some give up on further education, but a new reading

program offers to help kids overcome this barrier.

Perhaps this is the one.

I have found Phonics Alive an excellent program.

Some other sites include


Hi Cathy,

Thanks for the great newsletter. Are their any phonics based

computer programs suitable for a stage 2 reader with severe

difficulties? I remember seeing one being used (I think in public schools)

 on one of the Œtoday tonightı type programs but have had no

success in tracking it down,    Thanks in anticipation,     Tracey


 Hi Elizabeth,

Links worked for me - if not just copy and past to your browser

- here are a couple more.

if you still have no joy I can send your email address onto

apple and they will sort it out for you.


10.  NEXT ISSUE -  Please write in and let me know how

teachers fair in terms of wages in other countries and other

states, do you have technical support for your computer

programs, do you have decent inservicing, do you feel valued by your communities, is positive educational change supported? Also:-



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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