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CO 83.3 [Spring 2006], pp. 112-114: Logos Bible Software releases electronic/CD version of Liddell & Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon (LSJ), announces pre-publication offer for complete Oxford Latin Dictionary on CD; Transparent Language, Before You Know It (BYKI) for Latin; J-PROGS' Pompeii program & Pompeii Photo CD; CIRCE Manual launch in London; ACL committee calls for "successful scenario" case studies.
Logos Tackles More Greek
In my last column I let out the word that Logos Bible Software, in concert with Oxford University Press, had released an electronic version of Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon (LSJ). This is the full ninth edition, with the 1996 supplement fully integrated into it ($145). Since then, they have also released more Greek grammar “e-books” for the New Testament and Koine Greek.
Their electronic version of the hallowed lexicon is quite easy to use (Figure 1). There is a handy hierarchical index which can be kept in one pane of the lexicon window and adjusted for depth of detail, all the way down to specific words, for quick “thumbing” through. An ever-present search tool sits prominently at the top of the window, when you know what you’re looking for. The text pane is a continuous scroll, so you can move as gradually as you like up or down through the lexicon and get plenty of context, much like a printed version and unlike some electronic versions that only show one entry at a time.
Linguistic connections between entries (variants, related stems, etc.) are highlighted in red as cross-links, and source abbreviations in green can be quickly expanded with a rollover caption and referenced in the “Authors & Works List.” Like all of the Logos materials, this lexicon is based on and designed to be used with the Libronix Digital Library System, which is included with it; however, there are no real obstacles to using it on its own with your own texts and other tools in various windows. All in all, it’s a pretty slick way to access that magnificent reference work.
Just as a reminder, too: Logos is still doing a “pre-pub” promotion to drum up support for putting the complete Oxford Latin Dictionary (OLD) on CD. For more info, contact Logos Bible Software, 1313 Commercial St., Bellingham WA 98225; tel. 800-875-6467; web: www.logos.com.
Learn Latin Words Before You Know It
Transparent Language has been a long-term player in the field of foreign language software. While they work with an immense variety of languages, they included Latin in their offerings almost from the beginning, due to some strong interest and prodding from the late Ed Phinney, a former ACL president and Classics professor at the Univ. of Massachusetts—Amherst. Though their range of hypertext versions of classical texts has changed over time, Transparent Language have always maintained a strong presence in Latin pedagogy with their main Language Now series.
Recently they have released a new program line called Before You Know It, which appears to be an updated and expanded version of some of the vocabulary drills which they have previously offered as tangents to the Language Now program. This program focuses entirely on vocabulary acquisition and uses the now characteristic Tranparent Language style of multimedia support, including textual, visual and aural cues. It is helpful to have your computer equipped with a microphone and speakers in order to take advantage of these facilities.
BYKI comes with a built-in set of word lists which are not tied to any particular text but provide a fairly basic range of vocabulary, organized by part of speech. The real power of the program comes from its editing options, which allow a user to create their own lists, complete with images and sound files attached to each word in the list. The program is very careful about keeping things well organized, and its interface is fairly intuitive, so that you don’t have to spend hours reading the help files before getting started.
The other impressive side of BYKI is the way it maintains an ongoing record for each user of how well they “know” a list, by keeping a running progress score on each word until a proficiency level is reached.
A clear methodology is laid out for learning each list. First, it is reviewed in basic flash card format, with or without the audio files. When you’re ready, you start quizzing yourself, using the same flashcard process and giving yourself credit (or not) when the answer side is revealed. Then, it gets more interactive, as you are required to type in your answers, and let the program correct them (simply right or wrong). You can do either of these quiz types in either direction--Latin-to-English or vice versa.
Once you feel you’re ready for more challenge, there are several other activities to test your proficiency level in multiple media: multiple choice drills in either direction, dictation (typing the Latin after hearing it), and pronunciation (mimicking the sound file and getting judged on your proximity electronically).
Obviously, it might take a lot of work to create data files to match your class textbook, but the ones that are built-in may be quite useful to intermediate and advanced students who have some vocabulary under their belt. The chance to practice their pronunciation and hear more Latin aloud may be the most valuable part of this program for most school and college students.
For more information, contact Transparent Language, 12 Murphy Dr., Nashua NH 03062 USA; tel. 1-603-262-6300 (toll-free US 1-888-245-1829); web: www.transparent.com.
Take a Virtual Tour of Pompeii
After creating a very comprehensive photographic tour of Rome in his Rome the Eternal City, Julian Morgan has now gone on to the next most popular site for tourists of ancient Roman ruins, Pompeii. Using his persistently accurate eye for the best compositions and most illustrative presentation, Morgan has put together a Classics teacher’s perfect guide to that most well-preserved Roman town. Taking advantage of the timely presence of a archaeologist friend working on the site, he was able to get many choice shots without any tourists intruding!
All locations can be accessed through a map or an index, organized broadly into Contexts, Focal Points, Buildings, Houses, and Art. Much like the Rome publications, there is both a programmed tour and a photo CD, which can be purchased either separately or together (program $125 site license, $40 single user; photo CD $95 site only; suite of both $195 site only). The Pompeii Photo CD contains over 900 high-quality JPEG images from the program, which can be used as a digital slide collection for presentations, handouts, or even web sites (with proper crediting for any public display).
For more info, in the US contact Centaur Systems Ltd., 407 N. Brearly St., Madison WI 53703; tel. (toll-free) 888-236-8287; web: www.centaursystems.com. In the UK and elsewhere, contact J-PROGS, 65-A St. Helen’s Gate, Pocklington, E. Yorks YO42 2JW; tel. +44-(0)7986-584867; web: www.j-progs.com.
CIRCE Manual Launched in London
I have tried to keep you all up-to-date on the ambitious work that Julian Morgan has also been doing with the CIRCE Project in Europe (CO 82.1 Fall 2005, p.26, and CO 81.3 Spring 2004, p. 114). While Morgan teaches Latin part-time at Derby Grammar School, publishes software under the J-PROGS label, and conducts computer workshops for Medusa and other training organizers, he has lately been a partner of this unique EU partnership with Latin teachers across Europe to create a “Classics & ICT Resource Course for Europe”—hence, the acronym, CIRCE. After several years of meetings in all 6 participating countries, their work is now starting to bear concrete results.
On April 21 (the birthday of Rome, no less), at the IBM headquarters in London, Morgan conducted a day-long launch of the new CIRCE manual and announced the offering of their first 5-day training course, to be held this summer at Oxford University. The launch included a wide variety of speakers, including teachers, students, industry representatives, and members of Parliament. Due to its high-profile location and sponsorship, the event received a substantial amount of mainstream press coverage. Rarely does Classics get right out there in front of the public eye, but this was certainly one of those times, and the anachronistic combination of Classics and computers turned out to be the hook. Morgan and all of his colleagues on the organizing committee should be congratulated on reaching their goal and providing such an impressive model for others to follow.
Copies of the new CIRCE manual can be obtained by contacting Morgan at the J-PROGS address above. For more info, you can also refer to the very well-designed, official CIRCE web site, www.circe.be.
Show Off Your Own Successful Scenarios
One of the most useful parts of the CIRCE manual for teachers anywhere will be the collection of “case studies” from teachers in the field, documenting their own successful applications of computer-based tools in the classroom. In a blatant attempt to expand on this model, the ACL’s Committee on Educational Computer Applications would like to solicit similar stories from ACL members or any other readers of this column. There’s nothing more useful and inspiring than hearing directly from your colleagues what they are up to, how they manage it, and why it works for them .
So, please, if you have found any particular “scenario” involving computer tools, both online and off, take a moment to jot down the essentials of what you and your students are doing, along with any feedback from you or them about why it’s “a good thing” or how it might be improved. Please send them to me at the addresses above. Our committee will select some of the best ones for publication in this column, and they may also get added into the ACL Software Directory for the Classics. Your colleagues will thank you, and you may very well learn a few fun things from them at the same time.
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