Virtual Teacher Newsletter No. 28 2001

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4. NEW PRINTABLES/VT Pages - Art, Writing & Writers
5. TECHNICAL STUFF - Tiny Powerful and Dirt Cheap
12. TIPS
1. WELCOME EVERYONE. It is my honour to send you a
newsletter each fortnight. I do hope you enjoy it. You'll love
the geometry jokes, I set it as a very 'serious' maths test for a
class of year 6, answers were supplied as a jumble at the
bottom of the page, it was a lot of fun. You might like to write
to Mr Holmes about children and computers and set the record
straight. Have a look at the music site - brilliant - is there
nothing you can't teach using the web. Digital cameras are
becoming more and more useful in schools and cheaper and
cheaper to buy -right now a reasonable one for student use
can cost around $100-$200, lots of fun, buy one, use it and
have some fun.
Life is splendid.
Geometry Jokes
1. What do you call a man who spent all summer at the beach?
2. What do you say when you see an empty parrot cage?
3. What do you call a crushed angle?
A Rectangle
4. What did the Italian say when the witch doctor
removed the curse?
5. What did the little acorn say when he grew up?
6. What do you call an angle which is adorable?
acute angle
7. What do you use to tie up a package?
A Chord
8. What do you call a fierce beast?
A Line
9. What do you call more than one L?
A Parallel
10. What do you call people who are in favour of tractors?
11. What should you do when it rains?
"No, I didn't actually build it," said the beaver to the
rabbit as they stared up at the immense bulk of Hoover Dam,
"but it's based on an idea of mine."
"Of course I'm proud that you invented the electric light
bulb. Now turn it off and get to bed! -Thomas Edison's Mother
Every teenager should get a high school education. Even if
they already know everything."
Two fonts walk into a bar. The bartender says to them, "Get
out! We don't serve your type here."
"A horse may be coaxed to drink, but a pencil must be lead."
- Stan Laurel
In the last newsletter I wrote an article on this book and its
totally biased and unsubstantiated representation of computer
use by children. I also sent this article to the ABC.
The response from the ABC is below. I have suggested, to
them in a return email that they could provide a balanced account of
computers use by children by interviewing some people who do
know what they are talking about namely Jenny Lewis
( previously interviewed for this newsletter and Classroom
Magazine) Mike Horsley or myself. If you would like to email
Jonathan Holmes at the ABC and let him know you would like a
balanced report on computer use and children,
here's his email address.
I believe it is hard enough teaching and working with
computers in the classroom, keeping updated with all the
new equipment and technologies without having to spend
time countering the doubts parents my have after watching
spurious Television reports. These tend to fuel parents fears and
make our job harder. Let's get some positive publicity for teachers...............
To follow Mr Holmes Letter
"21 May 2001
Dear Ms. Brown,
Thank you for your e-mail dated May 8, 2001.
I have noted your criticisms regarding our report on children's use of computers.
I have passed a copy of your e-mail on to the reporter for her information.
However, I don't believe that Tracy Bowden's report endorsed Alison
Armstrong's book. She was simply presenting the book as a topic for
discussion ­ and allowed time for Ms. Armstrong's critics.
I don't believe there are many people who would argue that familiarity with
computers is not an essential part of a modern education. I guess the real
debate is to what extent the use of computers in early childhood is beneficial,
especially if it lessens the time spent in direct pupil-teacher contact.
Clearly this is a matter for continuing debate. Tracy's report was attempting
no more than to make a very modest contribution to it.
We do appreciate people taking the time to write and I hope future reports
are more to your liking.
Yours sincerely,
Jonathan Holmes
Executive Producer
The 7.30 Report"
Webpage for book sites
Short Writing Tasks for Children - selection of activities I have
written with instructions and links to websites.
Art Websites
Tiny and Powerful Elegant and Dirt Cheap"
"Cute," writes Andrew Gore in Macworld about the new iBook.
"It's a terrible thing, having to describe what may well be the
single greatest price, performance, and design breakthrough
in portables since, well, ever, with the word cute, which is such
a frivolous adjective. But, when
faced with the challenge of summating in a single word
what is both tiny and powerful, simple and clever,
sophisticated and light-hearted, elegant
and dirt cheap, the vast eloquence of the language
Shakespeare used to sculpt his love sonnets drops into a
petulant squat and tosses out 'cute.'" [May 1]
New iBook
The all-new iBook - lightest and smallest full-featured
consumer and education notebook - weighs just 2.2kgs,
with 1024-by-768 resolution 12.1-inch display, FireWire for
video editing, up to 5 hours of battery life and prices starting
from $2,995 Inc GST. [2 May]
If you teach Music, have a look at the Music at School website
It has loads of resources, mainly in the form of PDF files,
there are online quizzes as well, and plenty of
links. Strangely, there does not seem to be any sound files on the
site,but I may have missed them.
The site is nicely laid out, although there is at least one broken link,
and the title of the Home Page ("Home") is not especially helpful.
On the other hand, you can see at a glance where you are in
relation to the Home Page, so it's very easy to get back to
square one if needs be.
Digital Cameras are just great. They are now pretty cheap
and once purchased you simply download them into your
computer. This is splendid as there is no running to the store
to have them developed infact there are no further development
costs at all. Except of course if you print them out - then there
is the cost of ink and paper. The general procedure is:-
1. Take the photos.
TIPS Digital cameras generally need less light than conventional
cameras so will work indoors and out with existing light(I hate
the on camera flash and would advise against ever using it).
When taking photos indoors simply turn on all the lights you
can. Lower priced digital cameras require both the subject
and the operator to remain still, due to slow shutter speed,
the photographer should try to steady themselves by leaning on
their elbows or against a wall, and remain still when depressing
the shutter button . Ask you subjects to freeze. You'll soon get
the knack of it.
2. Download the photos into your computer.
TIPS I like to use a camera with a direct USB connection from
camera to computer. If you use this style of camera simply
connect from your camera to the USB port on the computer.
Your camera will come with a software, which will enable
you to download the photos from your camera to the computer
(make sure your camera hasn't switched itself off during this process).
Most software will come with an online tutorial -
Once you have downloaded the photos, you will need to
take them into a photo manipulation program like
photoshop lite or corel, these programs should be supplied
with your camera.
To do this 'select all' your photos at once and transfer them
into the program. Then 'delete'('select all' then select 'delete')
all the photos from the camera so that it is ready for the next
photo session
3. The photo manipulation program.
The most important photo adjustment will be
brightness/contrast. This will usually be in the effects menu.
Unless you have hours to spend avoid the temptation of
fiddling with anything else until you are familiar with the
program and have read the manual.
4. Save
Save your photos in a file you will be able to find again.
On Windows based platforms this can be in mydocs on
mypics which ever you prefer.
Save your files as jpegs (100-150 dpi for print or 72dpi for web)
- label each one individually.
5. The photos can be imported into microsoft word
(Insert menu "picture" - from "file"), or any other program,
or used on webpages, or attached to email.
Glossary of Terms
Can't afford a Digital Camera try making your own Pin hole
Great ABC Federation Site
Try the Federation Quiz
Zooish is a fascinating site with all at things scientific. It is
updated every 15mins with the latest images and info. It
has pictures from space, animals and amazing images.
The pages are image heavy so the site can be slow to load,
but worth the wait. There are sounds and animations, that
will delight anyone.
Newstext contains millions of words from News Limited's
newspapers, dating back in some cases to 1984.
Here are details of the starting dates of newspapers in this
enormous database. Article downloads are $1 each however
schools can apply for a discount. what a fantastic resource.
I really enjoy your newsletter, but have not received one for
quite awhile. I was wondering if I somehow was deleted from
your mailing list. Please add my email address to your list
if possible. Thanks!
Glad you like the newsletter, you are on the list, let me know
if you miss further issues, all newsletters are posted on the site at:
Hi Cathy!
Yes, I've joined but I have to tell you that there's a spelling mistake
- 2 in fact - in your letter of confirmation. It should read
"...other than their own "
and not "other then there own". I hope you don't mind my
mentioning this.
Are you in Melbourne by any chance?
Regards, Edna Collins
Hi Edna
I live in Sydney but would love to come to Melbourne for any
good reason - I run seminars and inservice training just about
anywhere. Thanks for the info about the mistakes - I'll fix it -
it would be good to have an editor on board.
10. NEXT ISSUE - I will be looking at 'how to set up an
EPALS account' and also using digital portfolios. If anyone
has any ideas on these topics please send them in. Let me
know what you would like in the newsletter, send in your good

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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