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CO 85.3 [Spring 2008], pp. 112-113: Micheal Posey's Institute workshop on Apple's iLife and Web 2.0 applications; Latin podcasts from Latinum (Evan Millner); Anthony Hollingsworth and Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers release first Digital Scholia DVD on Cicero's First Catilinarian Oration; Artes Latinae 2.0 on CD and The Horace Trail 2.0 released; farewell for the column.
Podcasting Comes to Latin
No doubt, you've become aware of the prevalence of iPods and other pocket-size audio players which teenagers can't seem to live without. Probably you've considered it another terrible distraction from the studying that they are "supposed to" be doing. Well, now you've got more ways to capitalize on this phenomenon with the age-old strategy: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!"
Yes, there are now ways to sneak some Latin onto those music players, and their friends won't know what they're listening to. Welcome to the world of Latin podcasting!
Plenty of Latin teachers have been experimenting with this medium for the last few years, ever since Apple's iPod became such an iconic accessory in everyday 21st century life. Apple was not only instrumental in making these mini-"Walkmen" more stylish and ubiquitous; they were also the first to make it easy for almost anyone to create materials to play on them.
This is where I will put in a plug for Micheal Posey's pre-Institute workshop on Apple's iLife suite of software, including iTunes, and some of the free online tools from the Web 2.0 renaissance, which is moving Internet content into more media (audio, video) on more devices (phones, iPods, PDAs), and usually for less money (due to open source programming and online advertising).
One of the first people to make a serious splash with a website devoted entirely to podcasts for Latin is Evan Millner, webmaster of Latinum. He is passionate about getting students exposed to more aural Latin in the hope that they will eventually feel more comfortable trying oral Latin next. To this end, he has amassed an enormous collection of audio readings of Latin literature, along with a graduated course in "Spoken Conversational Latin," using restored classical pronunciation with tonal accentuation, and all in MP3 format (one of the major podcast file types). To find out more about this exciting new mode of instruction, check out his site at latinum.mypodcast.com.
Digital Scholar Does Cicero
Another attempt to make the Latin learning experience more multi-sensory is a new release from Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers. They have worked with Anthony Hollingsworth of Roger Williams University to put his multimedia presentations on Cicero's First Catilinarian Oration on DVD for others to benefit from. Hollingsworth made use of animated whiteboard technology to illustrate his classroom lectures on the grammar, vocabulary, syntax, and rhetoric involved, without giving away the actual translation.
There are a variety of ways to use such a resource. Presentation in the classroom can be used to organize and spark class discussion, with added commentary from the teacher. Or, the optional M4V version allows students to listen to any part of the 5 hours of lectures on their pocket music player to help them approach the text. The DVD (or CD) contains a total of 144 separate movies, 3-5 minutes each, the full text, a concordance, and a complete word list.
After Cicero, they plan to tackle Vergil (Aeneid I). For more info, contact: Bolchazy- Carducci Publishers, 1000 Brown St. Unit 101, Wauconda IL 60084 USA; tel. 847-526-4344; web: www.bolchazy.com.
Artes Latinae Updated to Version 2.0
Bolchazy-Carducci has also just announced the release of version 2.0 of the CD version of their Artes Latinae textbook. The original text was written by Waldo Sweet, and it became very popular with home-schoolers because of its carefully managed, step-by-step approach to Latin and an abundance of prepared tests and supplementary materials, which made it possible for even a non-Latinist to administer.
The CD version has, of course, become a natural replacement for the print version, as the format of the text lent itself to easy computerization. The usual treadmill of operating system upgrades over the years has made it necessary to update the CDs, and this was handled by Jeff Lyons, the same person who mastered the initial electronic version. In so doing, it has been expanded onto a DVD-ROM, as well.
The updated version has a nice, new user interface, which is much easier to navigate and find what you need. The software can now be installed completely on your computer, so you don't need to have the disk on hand to use it--definitely an improvement.
For more info, contact Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers (above).
The Horace Trail Adds Quizzes in 2.0
Even though Julian Morgan has taken on a new teaching position at the European School in Karlsruhe, Germany, he has not slowed down in his development work for J-PROGS software. While working on a new Latin textbook with his multicultural students, he has also been updating The Horace Trail, one of the best historical and visual resources available to support the study of Horace.
The new version makes use of Morgan's 'Quizmaster' system, which allows for the customization of quizzes based on the user's preferences for quiz style, length, and material to be included. As usual, all scores can be recorded for future reference by a password-holder.
The program itself contains over 400 photos accompanied by historical information, textual citations, and other commentary to help fill out a picture of Horace that is truly life-like and multi-faceted. Topics covered include: The Early Years, Journeys to the East, the Trip to Brundisium, Maecenas and Augustus, and Horace's Italy.
For more info on this program, in the U.S., contact Centaur Systems Ltd. 407 N. Brearly St., Madison WI 53703; tel. (toll-free) 888-236-8287; web: www.centaursystems.com; in the U.K. and elsewhere, contact J-PROGS, 106 Rue de l'Eglise, F-67160 Cleebourg, Bas-Rhin, France; web: www.j-progs.com.
Not too long ago I was recounting the 20-year history of the ACL's Committee on Educational Computer Applications. Now I am approaching the 20-year anniversary of this column, and I have decided that it is time for it to change into something else. Computer-based tools have expanded in so many different directions, and the Internet has made it possible for anyone to put the fruits of their labors online for the benefit of all. The Web 2.0, as it is sometimes called, takes the democratization of the Internet to a whole new level by promoting free access to multimedia materials by an even wider variety of networked devices, such as phones, iPods, and PDAs. I am also very happy to note that the training and experience that we have undergone over 20 years (often "by the seat of our pants") has brought most of the senior teachers up to speed, while, of course, all the younger teachers who have grown up with computers simply take them for granted.
In the near term, keep in mind that there are several good technology workshops coming up at Institute this summer, and the "Rome: In Situ and in the Lab" technology workshop-tour is on track for an exciting two weeks in the Eternal City this July. In the long term, keep your eyes and ears open for more opportunities to learn about the ever-expanding world of 'high-tech' tools for teaching the Classics. The CO Editor is considering a special issue on technology and the Classics, and she would very much like your input by providing stories about how you are using the latest "tech tools" in your classroom.
My thanks to all of you, for your comments and questions over the years, and to my editors, both Mary English and Rick LaFleur, whose idea it was to start this column in the first place. It has been a pleasure writing for you all. Valete!
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