Teaching with Digital Texts

Texas Classical Association

November 9, 2013

Chris Francese, Dickinson College

email: francese@dickinson.edu 

website: http://blogs.dickinson.edu/francese/

Dickinson College Commentaries: http://dcc.dickinson.edu/



Intro.: The four-quadrant knowledge community (concept from Daniel E. Atkins, Prof. of Community Informatics, University of Michigan, “Cyberinfrastructure” HASTAC 2012 keynote. Video: http://www.hastac.org/documents/cyberinfrastructure watch from  5:10­-10:00): Time face to face is precious, not to be squandered with gadgets; but we can use technology to make face to face better, more productive. The best thing is to put students in the position of being content producers, public scholars. The second best thing is to use good digital delivery methods along with complementary classroom routines.

  1. Text annotation, analysis, and contextualization
  1. Crowdsourced annotation is possible, but a dead end in my opinion
  1. not well aligned with main learning goals
  2. faces high barrier of social inhibition and credit issues. But here is a successful (non-academic) example: the PynchonWiki http://pynchonwiki.com/
  1.  Podcasting assignments: use Audacity (free download: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) and WordPress (free dowload http://wordpress.com/ but go through your institution if possible). I have students research a short poem or passage, then discuss, translate, and read aloud (in that order).
  1. nicely aligned with learning goals, but the assignment needs to be crafted carefully (my assignments and rubrics are here: http://blogs.dickinson.edu/francese/classes/)
  2. transforms writing process in a healthy way, but requires some coaching (my students’ podcasts: http://blogs.dickinson.edu/catullus/ and http://blogs.dickinson.edu/homer/)
  1. Timelines: use Timeline JS (http://timeline.knightlab.com/) and Google Docs (here is the Timeline JS template: http://bit.ly/1bPnMTU)
  1. enhances a familiar activity, consistent with learning goals
  2. encourages contextualization and documentation, and looks good; just watch out for copyright issues (example I made for my mythology class: http://dcc.dickinson.edu/greek-and-roman-mythology-historical-background)

  1. Grammar and Scansion
  1. Jeffrey Rydberg-Cox (University of Missouri-Kansas City) is developing Greek materials based on John Williams White, The First Greek Book (Boston: Ginn & Company, 1896) with online quizzes, for use in a hybrid setting. Site: http://daedalus.umkc.edu/FirstGreekBook/index.html Discussion: http://bit.ly/1i8YAcR 
  2.  technical topics such as grammar and scansion are well-suited to flipped class approaches (Salman Khan on this concept: http://www.ted.com/talks/salman_khan_let_s_use_video_to_reinvent_education.html) Students can watch video many times, practice in class
  3. the ShowMe app for iPad is useful, easy: http://www.showme.com/  Here’s me on the basics of Latin scansion: http://dcc.dickinson.edu/ovid-amores/scansion and the basics of the Homeric dialect:  http://www.showme.com/sh/?h=JJqlpjc These are made with .ppt slides converted en masse to .jpg and imported to the iPad for use in ShowMe. Students could also make these easily.
  4.  just need to monitor comprehension, and test acquisition, since video viewing is less active than reading

  1. Vocabulary acquisition and reading fluency
  1. the DCC Core vocabularies help students do triage (Latin: http://dcc.dickinson.edu/latin-vocabulary-list  Greek: http://dcc.dickinson.edu/greek-core-list ) The DCC texts gloss only non-core words, which is partly meant to encouorage mastery of core.
  2. Mnemosyne and spaced repetition are helpful, but have to be integrated into class routine. The Mnemosyne project: http://mnemosyne-proj.org/ How to: http://blogs.dickinson.edu/dcc/2013/03/25/vocabulary-study-with-mnemosyne/ Card sets for DCC core: Greek http://mnemosyne-proj.org/category/greek and Latin http://mnemosyne-proj.org/category/latin 
  3. sight reading tests and comprehension worksheets give further incentive to master the core. Here is my 2013 APA talk on this topic: http://blogs.dickinson.edu/dcc/2013/01/17/greek-core-vocabulary-a-sight-reading-approach/  An excellent boook: Edwin Post, Latin at Sight: With an Introduction, Suggestions for Sight-Reading, and Selections for Practice. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1894. Available free on Google Books: http://bit.ly/OfeI3I 
  4. my dream of a non-core vocabulary list generator and a plea for help with DCC