Friday, March 13, 2009

Podcasting from Ancient Rome

Every now and then I like to post assignments here that my classes are working on. I hope they give a practical view into what goes on in a paperless classroom.

Here's a podcast project my Latin II students are currently working on. The students were given the option of working individually or in groups and the aim of the project is to gauge their a) skill in pronunciation (having the project in MP3 format gives me the opportunity to listen to each individually in a way reading in class does not allow), b) accuracy in translation (the skill Latin teachers have been losing sleep over for two-thousand years), and c) ability to synthesize their knowledge of an author's biography with the creation of an original narrative (think steps 5 and 6 in Bloom).

The students turn in a script with their podcast -- well, actually they post their script to their blogs. One cool feature about this type of project is that is obliges each student to read, listen, and write. In other words, it hits on many different approaches to learning in a very simple way.

In addition, students are collecting hyperlinks for a bibliography; these hyperlinks are compiled and annotated at the end of each of our class projects and posted into a link list on the students' own blogs. Over the course of four years with me, they create a substantial and useful personal bibliographic resource that a) is instantly accessible and b) can be shared with classmates.

One of the problems I often hear from students and teachers alike concerning group projects is that one person often either dominates the project or is forced to complete the project for all the slackers. If you see this happening in your class, just have the kids do all the initial written work in a Google Doc; through the revision history on the doc, you can track minute-by-minute exactly what each student contributed to the doc. Feel free either to grade accordingly or use the revision history to demonstrate to student groups why they have to manage the workload in a more equitable way. In addition, having the students record for podcasts 'forces' each student to play an active role. I like to set a max and minimum limit on the amount of speaking each group member must submit to the final product.

One of the things that I like about this project is that it extends into my Digital Audio Production class. I like to give students in that class 'real jobs'; so, one of 'em is gonna pick up some 'freelance work' editing these pieces together with music and production into a broadcast-quality half-hour radio show. In the end, I will take the final product and stream it on our intra-class podcast.

For practical purposes, this sort of project would take about two weeks to complete. I'd give the students about 20 minutes per class to work on their projects, the remaining 25 minutes consisting of vocab review, grammar work, and sight translation.

Honors Latin II -- Radio Show!
Due March 24

double weighted test grade

Welcome to 98.6 FM WOJO! This is the "Latin-tastic Late Night!" which runs 2AM to 4AM every other Tuesday morning!

Objective: You all are going to create a podcast to show me how you are doing in pronunciation and translation. In these selections, special attention should be given to the mood as well as the conditional forms. In addition, make sure you 'get in character'; I want to see that you understand 'who' your author is and not just 'what' he wrote -- and if you are in a group, each member should pronounce roughly the same amount of Latin. You should consult your bios as well as secondary information available on the Web before writing a script; you will submit your script and a hyperlinked digital bibliography.

Group 1 - DJ: Cicero on the Catiline Conspiracy (Paragraphs 1, 4, and 7)

Group 2 - DJ Caesar on the Geography of Gaul (Book I.1 and 2)

Group 3 - DJ Ovid on Love (Amores 1, 3, 9)

Group 4 - DJ Catullus on Dead Birds (Poem 2 and 3)

Group 5 - DJ Livy on Romulus and Remus (in Book 1, paragraph 4)

1. Read your DJ's bio, research and translate the selection. Do this work on a Google Doc so that I can check your revisions. Each member should take about a paragraph of translation.

2. Produce with Audacity ( ) or an audio editor of your own choice; you may also use the Macs in the audio studio. But, I am more interested in hearing clear versions of your Latin and translations than I am in you being an expert audio producer. Let me know if you run into problems.

3. You are making a five-minute radio show based on the text you are assigned. The show must include your DJ (narrator), any and all characters in the text, spoken versions of the original Latin (this will be graded for pronunciation), and your own translations of the Latin (graded for accuracy).

4. Your final versions will be uploaded to the Web in MP3 format (we'll do this together; for now just keep on a flashdrive or iPod) and will be combined together to form a half-hour long radio show edited and produced by one of my audio students. In addition to your MP3, I would like each member of the group to please post the script to their blog along with a bibliography page hyperlinked to at least three outside sources related to the biography of your author and the history surrounding the events featured in your selection.

We will listen to the entire produced program and have discussion on the 26th.

1 comment:

  1. This is an amazing Latin project. I'm impressed with the range of skills that are included in the project to test full understanding of the material. You are using technology as a means to an end. Ultimately, the project is about the Latin, a goal all of us Latin teachers try to achieve. Thanks for the inspiration. (Are your Latin 2s really reading unabridged Cicero!?)


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