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CO 74.1 [Fall 1996], pp. 24-25; ACL on the Internet; TechnologyTask Force; Latin Night on AOL; Basic Latin Drills: Latinitas, Verbarium,Substantarium, Liberation Philology; Univ. of Penn. Museum CD-ROMs:Ancient Theater, Parthenon; Vergil Reference CD-ROM; SoftwareDirectory for the Classics on the Web
Institute Goes Internet
It was another exciting Institute adventure in June--this time in therolling, wooded hills of Maryland, with some rather fine weather for summertimein the DC area. The Univ. of Maryland has gained a strong reputation asa role model for campus networking and computerized outreach throughoutthe state. This expertise proved very useful to the computer-based workshopsat our Institute, since four out of the six were also Internet-based. Ontop of that, the ACL used this opportunity to showcase its own growing cacheof Internet-based resources by way of two networked computers--one Mac,one PC--in the Teaching Materials Display area.
John Muccigrosso, a doctoral student at the Univ. of Michigan, has beenimplementing many of the new resources sponsored by the ACL and availableto anyone with Internet access. First, an announcement service is available;to be included on its mailing list, send an e-mail message of your own wordingto a.c.l.@umich.edu. Second, a discussion list for ACL members only isnow in operation; to join the list, send the e-mail message, "subscribeacl," with no subject to email@example.com. Third,and most importantly, there is a growing Web site (http://www.umich.edu/~acleague),which has a wealth of information for our profession. For more about anyof these resources, contact John (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Technology Task Force Gets Boost
Cindy Pope and Leslie Noles Flood have been overwhelming audiences atprevious Institutes with their demonstrations of the cutting-edge sound-and-graphicsshows that they create for their distance-learning classes on the TI-INNetwork. They have also been serving as co-chairs of the new TechnologyTask Force since its inception last year. After the initial brainstormingsessions at the 1995 Institute, the Task Force has gained a new infusionof energy to carry out some of the many ideas proposed over the last year. These projects include: 1) a new survey on computer usage in our professionto update the previous 1991 survey; 2) a referral list of "peer coaches"available to answer questions, perhaps organized by region and/or computertype; 3) a "Computers & the Classics" FAQ list (FrequentlyAsked Questions--with answers) on the ACL Web site; 4) coordination ofextended pre-Institute workshops on technical topics, tracked by levelsof experience; and 5) an increased number of software reviews by teachers.
If you are interested in contributing your own resources and energyto any of these projects, please contact Cindy (cindyp@tenet) or Leslie(email@example.com).
Latin Chat Night Gets New Room
One of the most well-attended and fun-filled workshops at the Institutewas given by LeaAnn Osburn, Josephine Garmer, and P.A. Magee. LeaAnn andJosephine act as co-hosts of the Latin Chat Night on America OnLine (AOL),and P.A. is the official greeter for the group. (You may have read aboutthem in the Spring issue of the ACL Newsletter.) Latin Chat Night is anonline conversation among Latin teachers and others interested in classicalpedagogy. They meet on Tuesday evenings at 8:00 pm Eastern Time. You mustbe an AOL member in order to participate in the discussion, but you canuse a free 10-hour trial membership to find out what's going on. Call AmericaOnLine at 800-827-6364 to get a free installation disk.
There is an e-mail newsletter sent out weekly to announce that week'stopic for discussion and other related issues. If you are interested inreceiving it, contact Josephine (firstname.lastname@example.org). The last Tuesdayof every month is an all-Latin session. Last year several of the discussionmembers organized a group project with their classes in which a novel aboutRoman life was written in Latin. Each class took their turn writing a chapterand e-mailing it on to the next group, and each chapter tended to move thestory to a new and interesting location.
As the Latin Chat Night moves into its second year, it is also movinginto its own "space" (or, should I say, "cyberspace"). (Previously, the group met in the Italian Chat Room.) To find them now,you first go to keyword "International Cafe," then "One World,Many Voices," and finally "One World Cafe"--at the appointedtime.
Basic Latin Drills from Abroad
Before I start talking about CD-ROM disks again, there are a numberof basic Latin drill programs that have appeared in the last year or so--onefor Mac, one DOS, and one for both--that I think you should know about. Coincidentally, they are all from outside the U.S.--a sign of the new globaleconomy, perhaps.
Latinitas was written by Bruce Robertson at the Univ. of Toronto usingHyperCard on the Mac (figure 2). It is a very efficient and easy-to-useparsing drill for nouns, adjectives, and verbs; and it is keyed to fourdifferent textbooks (Ecce Romani, Cambridge, Oxford, and Wheelock--4th ed.). Right now it includes all four text versions, but future editions may becomemore specialized. It is an open-ended drill, so you can practice to yourheart's content, but it does not keep any kind of score. You can even changelevels in midstream, if you want.
A Latin form is randomly generated, based on the level chosen, and youmust first identify it by part of speech. Once this is done, you are givenall the appropriate parsing categories and asked to choose parsing labelsfrom pull-down menus. Then, you are asked for the main dictionary formand a single English meaning. You can ask to be "marked" or correctedat any time; then you can try to correct your mistakes before being markedagain. You can also "cheat" and ask to be given the answers. This process continues until you decide to ask for a new form.
The author is always working on new embellishments to the program andsending them out to licensed users. Plans are now being developed to adda printed evaluation of some kind. The program requires HyperCard 2.2 and2MB RAM on a Mac. A single-user license costs $25 (with quantity discountsavailable), a single-computer dept. license is $50, and a site license goesfor $250. There are free downloadable demos available on the Web (http://www.chass.toronto.ca:8080/~brucerob/Latinitas/intro.html). For more information, contact Bruce Robertson, 88 Bernard Ave. Apt. 303,Toronto, ON M5R 1R7, Canada; e-mail: email@example.com; (also availablefrom the ACL's TMRC).
Dutch DOS Drills in Color
A similar type of parsing drill for DOS is contained in a pair of programsfrom Holland that have been converted for English users. Verbarium is forverbs, and Substantarium is for nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. Theseprograms are not tied to any particular texts, so you must select your levelof proficiency (by declension, conjugation, tense, etc.) from a menu beforestarting a drill. As in Latinitas, a form is randomly generated, and youmust make appropriate selections from the lists of parsing categories provided. In Substantarium, you are given a list of several meanings to choose from,but Verbarium does not require a meaning. However, both programs do providehelpful, context-sensitive feedback when errors are made. Once again, scoresare not kept, and the drilling session is open-ended.
These programs are used by a majority of schools teaching Latin in Holland,so they are very well-tested. Three other programs of greater complexityare also in the process of translation. Each of these programs is distributedin site license form for approximately $95 (depending on the current exchange). For more information, contact: Edwin Bos, SOS Nijmegen, Nijmeegsebaan 156,6564 CN Heiliglandstichting, Netherlands; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web:http://www.willamette.edu/~tjones/languages/latin-software.html.
Can Philology Drills Be Liberating?
Finally, there is a program called Liberation Philology from Canada,which has both a Mac and a DOS version for Latin. It also has versionsfor a number of other uncommon languages, such as Sanskrit, Catalan, Dutch,and Portuguese. There are three main sections to choose from: 1) nouns,adjectives, and pronouns, including agreement; 2) verbs; 3) vocabulary. This program is also not tied to a particular textbook, but it uses 1900vocabulary words on the elementary level; and it is one of the very fewwhich offers optional macrons. These are marked with carets(^) over thevowels, and they can be created by the user with the shift key or severalother methods.
The format of the forms drills can be straight parsing, "reverse-parsing"(create a specified form), or a randomized combination of both. It willinclude all correct possibilities in the parsing format. Once again, thisis an open-ended drill: you decide when it's over. When you do quit, youreceive a comprehensive, percentage score for your work, but it is not recorded.
You can download a free demo of this program from the publisher's Website (http://members.aol.com/libphil). It is sold only in a single-userpackage at $19.95 each. For more information, contact Liberation Philology,453 Duke St., Cambridge, ON N3H 3S9, Canada; e-mail: email@example.com.
Museum Publishes Classical CD-ROMs
Now we can begin the CD-ROM update! The Museum at the Univ. of Pennsylvaniahas jumped into the CD-ROM publishing business, and two of their early offeringsare classical titles: The Ancient Greek Theater and The Parthenon. Bothtitles have been written by Philip Betancourt, and they use a straightforward,menu-driven interface which offers 8-12 "chapters" of materialwith 6-16 pages each (except for a 65-page "Picture Gallery" onParthenon). The pages are very well designed, with plenty of color graphicsand photos, and music is used sporadically to add a multimedia dimension. There are no quizzes involved, though, making the programs merely expositoryin nature.
These disks are both part of a series called "Introduction to Greece,"and they do an excellent job of providing just that--an introduction--totheir respective topics. They are reasonably priced, at $29.95 and $39.95respectively, and would serve well in a school's software library as referenceworks or as required reading at the start of a special unit. They could,however, do a bit more to distinguish themselves from an electronic textbook.
Both titles are available in PC-Windows format only. For more information,contact Univ. Museum Publications, Univ. of Pennsylvania Museum, 33rd &Spruce Sts., Philadelphia, PA 19104; tel. 800-306-1941; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;Web: http://www.upenn.edu/museum_pubs/GreekCD.html.
Vergil Reference CD-ROM Has It All
This CD-ROM program is exactly what it says it is: an extensive Vergilreference work (figure 3). Among the resources it provides are: 1) a completetext of Vergil's major works (Aeneid, Eclogues, Georgics) in both Latinand English (electronically cross-linked); 2) Distler's Vergil and Vergiliana, 3) Murray's Manual of Mythology, 4) Duff's Literary History of Rome, and 5) grammar paradigm charts. There is also a word list linked to someparts of the text.
Sally Davis is acting as editor for the Romanitas series, for whichthis disk is the initial entry. She has created a set of assignment guidesand search strategies to assist teachers and students in making good useof these materials. Also, the Folio Views software framework which organizesthe materials and facilitates searches provides a number of tools for creating"shadow" files, containing personalized sets of bookmarks andnotes.
The Vergil Reference CD-ROM will run on a Mac or PC-Windows system withat least 4MB RAM. Single copies for personal use are $99 each; school purchasesrun $179 each, with additional copies available for $79 each. For moreinformation, contact Paratext Inc., 1409 Newport Springs, Reston, VA 22094;tel. 800-600-TEXT; e-mail: email@example.com.
Software Directory Now on the Web
For a long time people have been asking me to create some kind of condensedlisting of the Software Directory for the Classics that could be made availableonline. The Web has finally made this extremely easy to do, so it was oneof the first projects I tackled after learning how to set up a Web sitefor Centaur Systems. The online version of the directory (figure 4) containstitles and brief descriptions, is organized by computer and software type,and includes direct links to the publishers directory, which also has Internetlinks to e-mail addresses and Web URLs wherever available. (http://www.centaursystems.com/soft_dir.html)
On another page at the same site is an archive of all past "RandomAccess" columns with a table of contents listing topics covered ineach issue. You can use the search tool in your Web browser to find informationon a specific topic. As I have been adding more complexity (and assumingmore knowledge) since the column began in 1989, I hope this resource willmake it easier for anyone to bring themselves "up to speed" orfind that crucial bit of information that appeared "way back when."
And, finally, a humorous note from Debby Borg of Oak Hill Academy: "Accordingto one of my students, the ancient Roman household gods were the Lares andthe Pentium."
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