Virtual Teacher Newsletter  No. 44 February 22nd 2002 -Year of the Outback




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Newsletter Archives can be found at:-



1. Welcome

2. Mind Candy


4. New Printables -  Amazon Swallowing

5. Technical Stuff - Australian Museum Eureka Prizes, Wavelet Modulation



8. Great Sites

9.  Readers' Requests/Comments

10 Next Issue

11. Code of 'Netizens'

12. Tips


1. WELCOME EVERYONE.WOW what a week, 2 Olympic Gold

medals for Australia, I have loved watching the coverage, the

jump was phenomenal. on these hot steamy summer days in

Sydney it is great to watch some COOL sport. There was a

problem with Winter Olympics Link in Netscape from the

last newsletter - the new link is

I have placed a link for the Year of the Outback at VT, some

great sites and fantastic ideas there.  The Wavelet Modulation

Technology may offer some hope for increased Internet access

speed and reliability in schools,  it's an interesting new technology.

the maths sites on Tessellations are real sockdolagers.




It is with the heat that one sees rightly: what is essential

is invisible to the eye.

Antoine De Saint-Exupery, the Little Prince


" If you say I give up, you lose.  If you say I'll try,

you might just win; But only you've got the power to choose."

--- Author Unknown ---


"Our task is to provide an education for the kind of

kids we have... Not the kind of kids we used to have...

Or want to have... Or the kids that exist in our dreams."

Mary Kay Utech


"Education is not a preparation for life; education

is life itself."   John Dewey


" It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken

joy in creative expression and knowledge."

Albert Einstein


"It might look like I'm doing nothing, but at the cellular

level I'm really quite busy." -Unknown



What time is it in  ??????????????? Be the time master.

Goto the Full world Clock and pick a city, when does the

sunrise there, do they have daylight savings, what does

GMT stand for, what is the GMT time of the city you have


Make a calendar for any city in the world, for any year.



Amazon Swallowing

interview with the person swallowed in an article

I read recently, I have put it on the web for download. 

The steps "What questions would you ask this guy? 

Now what would his replies be??

(think of 5 questions and answers).



Media personality Adam Spencer has recently sponsored

a new Prize for secondary students as part of the 2002

Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.

With co-sponsorship from his alma mater, the University

of Sydney through the School of Physics, the prize offers

$10,000 in prize money for lateral thinking by students.

The new prize will involve secondary students entering

a real time competition through the Australian Museum's

webpage at 2.00pm EST on Friday 17 May.  Students

will be asked to answer a number of logic/problem solving

 questions and to submit a short essay outlining their

imaginative solution to a social/economic problem

facing Australia.  See

for more info, sample questions etc.


Wavelet Modulation - 10Gbps -Maybe this is the answer

for our schools' slow/non-existent, internet access

Soon, It's Gonna Rain. A New Modulation Technology

Promises to Turn Your

Cable Connection Into a 10 Gigabit-Per-Second Digital Fire Hose

One of the great problems with technical progress is that it

often requires throwing away much of a previous investment.

At the heart of Rainmaker's business plan is an awful truth:

The part of the network most resistant to change is the wire itself.

Plugging in a new box is easy, but replacing the wire that is in

our walls and under our streets, well, that takes decades and

isn't undertaken lightly. If it was easy, we'd all have optical

fibre connections to the Net, yet few of us do. The very heart

of network infrastructure, then, is the wire, and Rainmaker

claims to have a way to use the same old wire to carry 10

times as much data or more. 

Perhaps this is a possible solution to our School internet

connections  - check it out - I'd certainly love 10 times the speed.



2002 year of the Outback

By reading on through our web site you'll be taken to numerous

outback destinations just waiting to be explored; given access to

an endless list of fascinating "Outback 2002" events that are

scheduled throughout the Year Australia-wide; and given the

opportunity to actually participate in the year by staging an

Event/Project of your own. 


Students participating in Postcards Around Australia will travel

around all Australian states, visiting one coastal town/region and

one outback town/region on their virtual trip.  They will send an

electronic postcard from each of the 14 locations to their email partner.


Wanpa-rda Matilda Centre is an excursion centre with a difference.

Wanpa-rda (pronounced waarn-pra-da) is a Wangkangurru word f

rom the Birdsville district and means "to carry". Hence, Wanpa-rda

Matilda means "to carry your swag". From this Centre, you can visit

42 sites from Winton to Birdsville and from Barcaldine to Boulia.

These sites capture the uniqueness of the Outback and challenge

visitors with their great natural beauty and historical significance. 

Comprehensive resources.


NSW Country Areas Program


Check out Aust newspapers on Net and then go to the

newspaper of choice and search for info on the outback.


Search the ABC site at


VT page with all the above links is at:-



Article from 0z-teachers newsletter which was great



Shipwreck Island Adventure:

A Mystery Island WebQuest

Grades 2-4

Journey Into the Unknown:

A WebQuest on the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Grades 5-8

Hello Dolly:

Cloning WebQuest

Grades 9-12


Webquests from VT

Mythical creatures


People and Their Beliefs

Cool Fuel

First Fleet

There are more webquest sites on the

directory page of VT.


Each WebQuest contains similar components,

including a central theme, "do-able" task, detailed process

and predetermined evaluation method or expected outcome.

All are critical to a successful online learning adventure.

More than 500 WebQuests are available online, ready

for use in your classroom. You can scour this collection

of examples for integration into your tried-and-true learning


WebQuest Examples Matrix

Creating WebQuests

Once you've experienced the power of WebQuests, you'll

want to create one of your own. Dodge has assembled a

wealth of training resources and creation tools to help

you get started. Be sure to set aside a block of time

to absorb this incredible collection of knowledge.

WebQuest Site

A WebQuest about WebQuests

WebQuest Creation Overview

WebQuest Building Blocks


WebQuest Components

1. Introduction

Every WebQuest begins with an introduction -- a concise

paragraph or two that supply students with background

information and motivation for completing the assignment,

such as an intriguing problem to solve, exciting role to play

or interesting scenario.


2. Task

The task provides a clear outline of what students will

accomplish. It should be doable and important, plus fun

for students. Developing a compelling task is often the

most creative and difficult part of authoring a WebQuest.

Consult the Taxonomy of WebQuest Tasks page for ideas.


3. Process

The process is a detailed, step-by-step guide each student

team follows to accomplish the task, complete with Web

links embedded in each step. The final step in the process

asks students to translate what they've learned into a written

report, Web site, video production, oral presentation, etc.


4. Resources

The resources collection contains a list of the information

sources (Web sites, print books, magazines, atlases, etc.)

your students should use to complete the task.


5. Evaluation

Create a rubric for evaluating the work of each student

team. The rubric should be clear and fair and should

relate specifically to the central task. More information

about creating a rubric can be found online.

Creating a Rubric for a Given Task


6. Conclusion

This critical step wraps up the activity and gives students

a chance to reflect on what they've learned. Set aside

some time to discuss what they thought of the process

and outcome. Allow them to offer you advice on revising

the activity to make it more meaningful and successful.


Once you've created your WebQuest, turn it into a simple

Web page and post it online. Thankfully, a helpful set

of templates will help you publish your WebQuest in a



Consider providing tips for using your WebQuest in other

classrooms, plus an email link or form to allow your peers

to send you feedback or success stories.


Finally, use this handy rubric for evaluating your new

WebQuest. You're sure to discover dozens of ways to

improve your activity before using it with students

for the first time!




A great site. AMOL Discovernet is touted as the "Learning gateway

to Australian museums and galleries". Its museum locator alone

makes it worth a look.


DID THE SOIL APPEAR BY MAGIC?? answer these an other

intriguing questions at:-


***** Gigafloppingly Brilliant TESSELLATIONS *****

Mathematicians define "tessellate"  as covering a plane with a

pattern, and it is a concept that interests scientists and

artists, as well as mathematicians.


Intriguing Tessellations

Marjorie Rice discover four new tessellating pentagons in

the late 1970's. 


Tessellating Animation

Japanese artist Makoto Nakamura has taken tessellations a step

beyond the plane with his awesome animations.  See his

tessellated birds fly, his tessellated fish swim, and his

tessellated dancers dance.  Next, visit Nakamura's Jigsaw Puzzles 

reassemble tessellated cats, pigeons, gorillas and more. 


Tessellation Tool

Pattern Blocks

Virtual Manipulatives


Totally Tessellated

Don't skip over this opening splash screen too quickly.  Take a

few moments to scroll through the image gallery by clicking on

the tiny Load New Images link.  It has a section on M.C. Escher,

the Dutch artist and father of

modern-day tessellations.


What is a Tessellation?

This Math Forum page is a great introduction to tessellations

for those who know some geometry.



Thank you for adding a link to "Color Theory for Kids and

Teachers" at:

The URL for this site has changed to:

(NOTE: no WWW)

Lazzelle Parker

art teacher/webmaster


Dear Cathy

Your endangered animal site has been written in yellow text

on white background which makes it impossible to read,

particularly for young children. Perhaps this could be altered.

Rosalind Bell

Hi Rosalind,

Site is fixed - seems background image dropped out - I have

replaced it with black.  A good site for printables is:-

The site now works

As to your other problems - I would say you have some systems

conflicts - difficult to fix via email.  I have attached the pdf of

coolfuel.  Open acrobat reader and open this file directly in there -

hope it works.

ciao cathy


The website of P.L. Duffy Resource Centre, Trinity College has

a huge collection of links on curriculum related and educational

topics. Use the search facility

Freefind  P.L. Duffy Resource Centre Site Search  and site map

P.L. Duffy Resource Centre Site Map to explore.

Unfortunately for those who are used to accessing it we have moved.

Owing to massive re-organisation, the

P.L. Duffy library has moved to 

Rosemary Horton

Teacher Librarian

P.L. Duffy Resource Centre


Hi Cathy, Congratulations on a wonderful website, it is great to

find something Australian for teachers.  I work in a special needs

school in Perth  and we have been using a terrific free program from

 which allows the children to listen to emails and word documents

rather than read them (great for struggling readers in mainstream

schooling).  I was wondering if there may be a teacher or class

from a small outback school who would like to become our email

penpals for the year of the outback. Just a couple of sentences

emailed each week is all that is needed as our students love to

listen to their emails and then send one back.

Thanks and keep smiling

Jo Vernon

Technology Coordinator

Durham Road School



Any help with ants in the apple program would be appreciated -

my daughter has just received her first posting as a teacher to a

kindergarten class -


Subject: Re: Ants in the apple

From: Marg Howard

Thanks Cathy! You're amazing!

This is a great site for Kindergarten - includes the music and

words for this phonics song.


Just wanted to let you know that some of the links of the

webquests are not working, therefore unusable for my students. 

(Gold, Gold, Gold)  Hoping you can investigate!

Thanks Cindy

Hi Cindy,

Think I have fixed up all the broken links - just double check for

me.  A few seemed to have vanished into oblivion.  Hope it works

for you now.




Dear Cathy

Thanks for all the information about upcoming conferences.

Can you make it a regular item?

Pam Rosser

I will add conferences as they come to hand.


Hi Cathy

This link loads the html page as text so no clickable links:

Can you fix it please - I know a teacher at my school is

focusing on the Winter Olympics with her class this week and

I'm sure she''l want to know about your site.

Thanks Jude

Hi Jude,

A netscape problem eh! - tried a shortcut - worked alright in

IE but netscape needs the html tag - fixed the directory page

here's the new link

ciao cathy

Fantastic - thanks a lot, Cathy!


Dear Cathy

Thanks heaps for the comments about A Maths Dictionary for

Kids and for including it in your VT directory page.

I made it after work at the kitchen bench and submitted it to

some lists two weeks ago. I've had a Yahooligans "5 Cool Sites"

mention last week and some 53000 visitors so far with consistent

positive feedback ... so I'm stoked as they say on the beaches

up here.

Again, many thanks,



This is a great site and there is a link to it on the directory

page of virtualteacher.


10.  NEXT ISSUE - A few folk have pointed out dead links

on the VT site - thanks for this any feedback is great and helps

me keep everything up to date.  Feel free to direct link from your

site to these topic link pages so that your students can have

access. Next Newsletter will look at thinking strategies and

teaching strategies and some reporting program software. 

Any ideas send them along.




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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