And It Seems …

… that eighteen months have passed from when I “broke the silence” with my last post here. Three face-to-face teaching semesters, a whole summer, and part of another. So many changes!

In the fall of 2010, we had moved Tres Columnae from the Version Alpha Wiki to Version Beta, a Drupal-based site with a much cleaner look and feel.  If you’ve worked with Drupal, you know it’s incredibly flexible, incredibly powerful, and sometimes incredibly needy, like any high-performance vehicle.

After the huge snowstorm that January, the whole semester felt like a mad scramble, and blogging took a back seat to survival!

That June, I made a whirlwind trip to Minneapolis to present Version Beta to the American Classical League Institute.

Last summer, I was introduced to Google+ by a dear friend and started using it as … not exactly a blogging platform, but a place to engage in short and medium-length reflective conversations. That was what I needed, so blogging took a back seat.

Last August, we “cut the textbook cord” and started using just the Tres Columnae Project materials in my face-to-face teaching world. Local colleagues of mine started using “TC” as at least a supplementary resource, and our subscribers in the UK continued to enjoy creating and sharing films and stories with “TC” characters.

For the next few months, we kept discovering the limitations of Drupal for an audio- and image-intensive online project.

In November 2011, we made the move to Joomla! as the back-end for the current production version of Tres Columnae … and I spent the next several months fighting off one minor illness after another.

My Latin I students, on their semester-block schedule, finished the first 14 or 15 Lectiōnēs. It took us a while to find the best rhythm of small-group, whole-group, and independent work with “TC,” and the mid-year introduction of a “Bring Your Own Device” policy at school helped in some ways, hindered in others.

During the spring months, my Latin II students worked through what is now Lectiō XXX, but was numbered XXVIII when they saw it. We continued our quest for the right rhythm for each class, and we discovered that curation of materials was a better fit for some of us than creation. We made some amazing response projects … and some terrible ones. We were engaged … and disengaged. We were fascinated by “Roman stuff” … and sometimes repelled by it.

We had a small but very enthusiastic crowd for our Pre-Institute Workshop about Tres Columnae at this year’s American Classical League Institute … and lots of interest from other folks who were there.

It was a remarkable time … and a typical one. And I was so busy making and fixing Tres Columnae Project “stuff” that I never found the time to write and reflect on it … or at least not here.

I hope I’m back for good.

I’ve been thinking again about Stephen Covey, since he died earlier this week, and particularly about one of his more recent books, The Eighth Habit. “Find your voice,” he says, “and help, encourage, inspire others to find theirs.” Sometimes you need a megaphone for that, but sometimes you just need to be quiet and listen. As we bring this blog back to life, I hope it can help you, not just me, find our voices and inspire others to find theirs.

quid respondētis, amīcī?

Published in: on July 19, 2012 at 11:52 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. As always, Justin, you leave me feeling overwhelmed and hopeful! Finding voice is such a large command…but in today’s mine field of buzz and mega media, it is an important aspect of education! One that is often overlooked and undervalued! Voce molli mente, non autem quietem tulit, donec auditi sunt. (I think…my Latin is rusty and AJ is not here to edit!)

    • Thanks, Shannon! I’m glad you feel hopeful as well as overwhelmed. The more I think about it, the more I realize that finding voice is central to any solutions to the problems in education today. It seems that so many groups (administrators, teachers, students, parents) feel their voices aren’t being heard and their perspectives aren’t being acknowledged. No wonder there’s so much polarization, even in good schools, and outright mistrust in many places!

      Good job in general with the Latin, too. Please give AJ my best when you do see him!

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