Renovation and Communication, IV

salvēte, amīcī et sodālēs! I’m writing the draft of this post as beautiful early-evening thunderstorm is getting started – and I’m very thankful for laptops and their batteries! My own children, who’ve grown up in a wireless world, find it funny that I spent years not answering “the phone” in the house during storms because of the threat of electrocution if lightning happened to hit “the wires.” Now, safely unplugged, their only complaint is that they don’t have wireless Internet access if the power goes out. How things can change in a few short years! (I recently discovered that my alma mater has stopped installing telephones in dorm rooms because all their students have cell phones … but I remember how excited I was as a student, less than 25 years ago, when those phones were installed, replacing the one or two “hall phones” on each dormitory floor. Why did that make me feel old and young all at once?)

Anyway, Wednesday was the day I officially introduced my school-district colleagues to the Tres Columnae Project. There are four Latin teachers in the district – one at a middle school, and three of us at high schools. We’re a congenial group, but we’ve sometimes disagreed about textbooks and methodology, so I was a bit unsure about how they’d respond. And then I discovered that my most “traditionalist” colleague had decided that textbooks were useless and counterproductive for her students, so she’s been working on a story-based curriculum with an innovative order of grammatical presentation! As you might imagine, it was a wonderful day … they’re all excited and are quite eager for their students to start reading the Tres Columnae stories. I think we’ve all decided to use our existing textbook (which, despite my occasional rants, I’m still pretty fond of) as a supplementary reader and for some small-group and individual work. But there are now at least 5 schools in the world that will be using Tres Columnae Project materials regularly … and I’m sure there are more out there that I don’t know about, too!

Of course, if you just want to have your students read the stories and use the other free material, I guess I don’t exactly need to know … but it would still be nice! So please send us an email or leave a comment here or on the Version Alpha Wiki site if you’re planning to use Tres Columnae with your classes this year. I’d also love to know how you’re planning to use the project materials and whether you’d be interested in any of the paid subscription models.

If all goes well, those will be available by early September at the latest. Our biggest remaining hurdle was embedded audio, and our technological advisor has finally found a good solution for that. So Version Beta of the Tres Columnae Project should be available soon. All the stories and other content from the Version Alpha Wiki will still be there, of course (and we’ll maintain the Version Alpha Wiki “as is” after the move, too, for those who are fond of it). But, in addition to embedded audio, we should also be able to offer you

  • a much-improved interface for comments on stories;
  • a straightforward way to subscribe – and purchase paid subscriptions – online;
  • a very simple process for uploading and editing content (Free Trial subscribers who attempted to submit stories know that this was harder than it should have been with Version Alpha); and
  • some other behind-the-scenes features that will make our lives easier.

We’ll keep you posted on the developments, and we definitely want to know if you find any issues or problems with Version Beta once it’s been officially launched. And unlike the Frontō brothers’ cōnsilia in this week’s featured stories, we don’t think your response to Version Beta will be silence followed by horrified laughter! 🙂

Speaking of yesterday’s featured story, I know you’re probably dying to find out why Caelius and Vipsania responded as they did – and what those pictures looked like! And you will find out … but not today. We’ll pick up with that story in Friday’s post, or possibly Saturday’s. If you’re reading this post “live,” the school Open House is this evening, so it’s a long and late day in my face-to-face world.

quid respondētis, amīcī?

  • What features would you like to see in Version Beta of the Tres Columnae Project?
  • Are there any features you’d like to see disappear forever?
  • What are some ways that you’re thinking about using the materials with your students (or with yourself, if you’re an independent learner) this school year?

If all goes well, though, I should be able to put the final touches on that story when I get home … or early Friday morning, if necessary. intereā, grātiās maximās omnibus iam legentibus et respondentibus.

Published in: on August 19, 2010 at 11:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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