Virtual Teacher Newsletter No. 30 2001

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Newsletter Archives can be found at:-
1. Welcome
2. Mind Candy
3. ICT Programming
4. New Printables - Niels Bohrs
5. Technical Stuff - DELL and the HelpLine
6. Website Focus - Enchanted Learning
7. Internet Access Survey Results
8. Great Sites
9. Readers' Requests/Comments
10 Next Issue
11. Code of 'Netizens'
12. Tips
1. WELCOME EVERYONE. This fortnight has been a
busy one, I have had a lot of HELP requests from all
over the place. All these little challenges, and I have
good success in finding solutions - I love it. You will be
delighted to find some answers to the 'problems with DELLS',
issues, and also the results of the survey. There are
some real issues here to be solved, and by working on
them things can only improve. Live it up.
Of all the things I have lost
i miss my mind the most
Andrew Bone
Some tourists in the Chicago Museum of Natural History were
marvelling at the dinosaur bones. One of them asked the guard,
"Can you tell me how old the dinosaur bones are?"
The guard replied, "They are 3 million, four years, and six
months old."
"That's an awfully exact number," says the tourist. "How do
you know their age so precisely?"
The guard answered, "Well, the dinosaur bones were three
million years old when I started working here, and that was
four and a half years ago."
Doctors at a hospital in Brooklyn, New York have gone on
strike. Hospital officials say they will find out what the
Doctors' demands are as soon as they can get a pharmacist
over there to read the picket signs!"
"Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys them so much."
--Oscar Wilde
"Why shouldn't truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction after
all, has to make sense." -Mark Twain
"I've never had major knee surgery on any other part
of my body"
(Winston Bennett)
"He dribbles a lot and the opposition don't like it,
you can see it all over their faces."
(Ron Atkinson)
"The lead car is absolutely unique, except for the one
behind it which is identical"
(Murray Walker)
"Well, either side could win it, or it could be a
(Ron Atkinson)
"Strangely, in slow motion replay, the ball seemed to
hang in the air for even longer."
(David Acfield)
"What will you do when you leave football, Jack, will
you stay in football?"
(Stuart Hall - Radio 5 live )
"Morcelli has four fastest 1500-metre times ever. And
all those times are at 1500 metres."
(David Coleman)
"I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and
(Greg Norman)
"Sure there have been injuries and deaths in boxing -
but none of them serious"
(Alan Minter)
"The racecourse is as level as a billiard ball "
(John Francombe)
"If history repeats itself, I should think we can
expect the same thing again"
(Terry Venables)
"I would not say he (David Ginola) is the best left
winger in the Premiership, but there are none better."
(Ron Atkinson)
There is a theory which states that if anyone ever discovers
exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will
instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more
bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which
states that this has already happened.
I have several requests for ICT scope and sequence documents.
Scope and sequence is a tough one for ICT.
Here are a few thoughts:-
1. Staff development is as important as developing
the program so you can't start with anything to complex -
better to start with a simple plan and add to it - something
everyone understands, this means you will develop your
scope and sequence over time rather than in a couple of
staff meetings BUT it will have more meaning and be more
I. run such inservices, and when I am looking developing
a scope and sequence I like to start simply with
Discussing the 'tasks' we want students to develop.
2. Next To install some generic programs on all the
computers in the school for both staff and students to
use - my preferred programs are
1. Microsoft Office
2. Kidpix
These 2 programs will cover all students from K-6 and
teachers needs, if explored fully for 1-2 years, and offer
extension and challenges enough for the most gifted
3. Using the above simple scope and sequence write down
the programs and variations that each class uses
throughout the year, ask staff to share and discuss their
usage at each staff meeting. Allocate 15mins of each
staff meeting for the introduction of a new computer skill
or program use - presented by different staff members.
( a lot of possible printouts and uses can be found on my
4. From here a more details Scope and sequence chart
can be developed with a more informed staff.
In the next newsletter I will publish some scope and
sequence charts from different schools. If you have a
good one send it in.
The Legend of Niels Bohr, is an interesting read, for both
upper primary and secondary students, a lesson in lateral
thinking and informative. Copy and past it into a Microsoft
Word document at:-
Last newsletter - I levelled a number of complaints at
DELL and the HELPLINE. This Newsletter I must say -
DELL comes out smelling sweet, but the Helpline
does not.
Complaint No. 1. Phone Calls to the 1800 043 434
number for tech support take more than the school
recess break - no teacher can wait that long.
This weeks phone calls:
1. Phoned - listened to NSW students Jazz band
3mins, spoke to someone who couldn't help, 2mins,
they redirected the call -2mins Jazz band, the next
person took my details, and problem gave me a
number and said they couldn't help, but would have
someone phone me back. The NEXT DAY, they called
back while I was teaching, so I was unable to take
the call. the folk in charge think the helpline works
well, please send in your experiences. Do
International schools have helpline facilities for
computer problems- do they work??
I spoke at DELL with a great guy who was most helpful.
Marc Flores, Contact Details for DELL are:-
2. A back up file of 50 floppy disks needs to be
made for each type of machine as original program
disks are not supplied -
THE FIX for this is
The program the enables this reminder is called
disknag.exe. All you need to do is delete this file.
It should be in C:\Dell directory.

3. Some of our computers were supplied with
external speakers, an internal speaker option
was not in the specs, the speakers take up another
outlet, and are a nuisance with the children.
In future DELL will give buyers the option, according
to Marc this was a DET initiative.
4. KidPix, (a program widely used in schools) doesn't
work so well on the DELLs. This is particularly evident
in the stamp tool, however the program freezes
frequently in other sections as well.
Issue Solution:
Step 1
1) Click Start and choose Run.
2) Type: QTW.INI and click OK
3) Under the [VIDEO] section there will be the words
change DRIVER to BMP.
4) Choose File, Save.
5) Close the QTW.INI file.
Step 2
1) Click Start, Settings, Control Panel.
2) Double-Click System.
3) Click the tab labelled Device Manager.
4) Click the + next to Display Adapters. Ensure
that the video card is an ATI Rage 3D or one similar
to this type of accelerated video card.
5) Click the tab labelled Performance.
6) Click Graphics button at the bottom.
7) Lower the acceleration 2 notches to the
left to Basic Hardware acceleration.
8) Click OK, Close.
9) Restart the computer and run the program.
Step 3
Install the current driver for the display card
from the display card or computer manufacturer.
Thanks Marc
I have had 2 requests this week for sites on "Dinosaurs"
and also on "Pets". A great site for this is Enchanted
Learning - I love this site. It is fantastic for K-6 and lower
Secondary for Remedial. It has Beautiful printables,
excellent precise info, and covers a huge variety of
animals. Enchanted Learning has specific areas for
K-3 themes and crafts, Dinosaurs, butterflies, and
Rainforests etc. There is a search engine as well, which
makes finding info easy. For older grades Enchanted
Learning deals with Biomes, gives details of timelines
and rainforests etc. I have mentioned this site before -
but it is worth another mention.
Brilliant just Brilliant
Results are still coming in for the internet access survey.
Below is a link to the results so far. I will update it with more
info in the next newsletter. As word gets around more people
are sending in info.
The biggest concerns seem to be internet speed.
If schools are using the internet as a teaching tool
in labs a 64K ISDN is unworkable. Most ICT teachers
find the lack of access a total frustration and many
see this as the biggest hurdle to teacher use of the

Some schools seem to have access to only dial-up
facilities, others like the school in the UK have real
access problems due to the 'horse committee
designing a camel philosophy'. Still others have given
up altogether - what a pity.

The best solutions seem to come from the US -
where the use of T-1 access seems common.
Frequently this access seems to be subsidised or
free to schools. The comments are most interesting,
with some schools expressing concerns about use of
firewalls, and netnanny type programs, others
believing these unnecessary preferring to educate
their students in Neticate.

Please use this information to advance your own
access situation by approaching your own educational
authorities and let me know what happens.
Coral Reefs
Ocean Animals:
Introduction To Sharks:
Secrets of the Ocean Realm:
Under The Sea: Great Little colourful Primary school
unit with lesson plans and activities.
A Day On A Whale Watch: Great reading activity -
upper Primary
International Nautical Flags Alphabet
Nipper's Nook: fishing tips - great fish printables(K-12)
info on fishing this site has something for everyone

All About Cows for Kids includes a nice little
interactive tour about milk
All About Turkeys:

Farm Animal Sounds:
Farm Clipart:
Farm Phonics Activities:
Farm Worksheets for Kids:
Old MacDonald's Farm:
On The Farm Or At The Zoo:
Dear Cathy,
First of all, I would like to thank you for providing such a facility for
teachers all over the world. I am an instructor at ELT Department of
Faculty of Education in Cukurova University, Adana, Turkey. I teach
methodology courses and I share most of your ideas with my students who are
going to be English teachers next year. I really appreciate all your
efforts to get things go on.
Yours Sincerely,
Dr. Turan Paker
I am a first year Bachelor Ed student at
Griffith University Logan campus. I have a Diploma in
Education - child care and only had to do one subject
first semester because of credits - that subject was
learning with Information Technology. The questions
you have I can not answer but I would like to tell you
that many child care centres (I have done relief work
and have been to many centres) have computers in their
preschool room (year before starting school). The
games they have are often out of date, and their
computers are often quiet old but sufficient for the
few games they have. I think that the opportunity to
use the computer is as important as for the children
to be able to correctly hold a pencil or cut with
scissors. Ideas on making computer use in p-3
in future newsletters would be great.
Keep up the excellent work.
Felicity Orth - there are some sites above for p-3
Sorry to hear you are having trouble trying to contact us.
The correct process that the Department of Education and
training use to log a job with Dell is for the school to contact
the DET helpdesk they will then assign a DET reference
number and then raise an issue with Dell. Please let me
address the issue that you have.

1. We have two Departments, one is Home and Small
Business and the other is Major Accounts. The phone
line that I think you maybe calling is the Home and Small
business. The correct phone number for Major Accounts
is 1800 633 559. The average wait time on this line is
60 seconds.

2. When a Dell PC is sent out it should have with it a
resource CD. This CD contains all the drivers necessary,
there should be no need to create backup disks on floppy.
If you do not have the CD it maybe best to contact the
DET helpdesk. (solution above)

3. As for the external speakers, this is what somebody
at DET requested for their requirements.

4. I have searched our database and I was unable to find
any issue relating to Kidpix causing the problems you
describe. What I would suggest though is click on the
URL below as this should take you to the support site.
Log a call and the Tech support should be able to help.
They may know of a common issue with the Dell's
and the Kidpix software if there is one. (solution above)
Matthew Baber
Team Leader - Desktops
Major Accounts
Australia & New Zealand
P: 612.8972.5420
F: 612.8972.6420

Hi, Cathy,

I just received your wonderful newsletter and always enjoy
reading it.Something I thought you might be interested in
is a wonderful, free gameavailable from the Port Authority of
NY. I contacted, Barbara Olton,and she referred me to her
associate. Richard Graziano came to our school, and he
gave me the run down on how the game works. It's
fabulous, and it entails at least 5-days of curriculum,
though it could be stretched longer. Also, everything a
teacher needs is included in the game box. The
curriculum/game is centered on the ports of NY/NJ,
and addresses trade, commerce, importing, and some
environmental issues. Lots of good stuff, which a teacher
can embellish through internet lesson plans. Many of
these I'd already found in previous surfing adventures,
and I'd be willing to share some with others.

Although I doubt Richard can travel far a field,
nor do I know how far they will send the games
(or how many they have), he may be agreeable to
forwarding them to interested educators.
The addresses are: Barbara Olton
Manager, International Relations
Port Commerce Department
One World Trade Center, 34S
New York, NY 10048-0682
(212) 435-6735

Richard Graziano
Hoping they have enough games to accommodate need.
Nancy thanks again Nancy
Dear Cathy,
Just joined on, great site excellent newsletters, will recommend
this site to all staff. At the bottom of your page there was
reference to the programming format. Would love to have a look
at it. I sent Allan a copy of this document - If you would like one -
send me an email.
10. NEXT ISSUE - We'll be looking at scope and sequence
documents for ICT programming. Send in any goodies you have.
Also keep phoning the helpline and registering your complaints.
Ciao for now.

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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