I've made a decision. Actually it was Rose Williams
who helped me make it. Sometime this fall, yours truly, the eponymous eClassicist himself (and friend to commas), will be going into the contemporary high school Latin classroom. Let it be said that I took a whole lot of German in high school in the 1980s when computers were for programming classes only. I took my Latin in both college and graduate school back when Al Gore was busy inventing the Internet and the library was only just porting over its card catalogue into an electronic system. That dates me to being in grad school from 1994-6. So it's been eleven years since I took a formal Latin class.
What interests me is seeing what technology, if any, is being used by Latin I and Latin II classes in a Chicago-area high school. I would also like to compare that against any tech that is being employed by modern language classes in the same school. I need to know the reasons behind why technology might not be making an appearance, too -- budget, security, teacher and/or student resistance and no knowledge of current technology may all be factors. And if technology is being used, why were the decisions made for certain hardware, software, and other elements? Again, was the choice based on budget, on usefulness to pedagogy, or something else?
Since May 22, 2007, the day eClassics launched, I have been pushing for the use of distance learning technologies, Second Life, iPods and MP3s, YouTube, wikis, blogs, and more. But how widespread is the use of these technologies, and how do we decide how the envelope gets pushed? Will Classics publishers like Bolchazy-Carducci push Classics teachers and their students into the future? I certainly hope so. I also have the hope that this progress will be met with enthusiasm and delight at using new tools that do a service to students and make teachers' lives better while improving and updating the state of Classics pedagogy. So says this pie-eyed dreamer.
Computer scientists and revolutionary thinker Dr. Alan Kay once said, "the best way to predict the future is to invent it". I agree with Dr. Kay and hope to illuminate the future of teaching Classics guided by emerging technologies tempered with the reality of spending time in a contemporary American Latin classroom.
Wish me luck! I'll be posting notes from the field once the week-long visit begins.