I'd like to ask for people's help in setting some priorities and strategies for the auxiliary materials I'm developing for my "Aesop's Fables in Latin" textbook (now listed as forthcoming at Bolchazy-Carducci
- it will be out in January!). The book contains glossary and vocabulary lists and notes for each fable - but I'll be developing a wide range of materials online that were either too bulky to include in the book (detailed grammar commentary, additional illustrations) or not possible in print (audio, video, quizzes, etc.).
I would really appreciate feedback from people about just what materials are most useful and how I can make them as useful as possible. My goal is to have a complete set of auxiliary materials available for each of the 80 fables by the end of July 2009, in time for the 2009-2010 school year. I'll target my efforts this winter on the materials people think could be of the most immediate use (and I'm honestly not sure which kind of materials are the most desirable, which is why it would be great to get some feedback!).
You can see the range of projected materials done for the fable of the boy who cried wolf here - I have developed ALL the planned materials here for this fable, and will now be developing a similar set of materials for all the other fables in the collection: Auxiliary Materials for De Pastoris Puero (Boy Who Cried Wolf!)
These materials include: detailed grammar commentary; minilecture on the history of the fable and its interpretation; Quia.com quizzes for vocabulary, parsing (Latin-only), and reading comprehension (Latin-only); crossword puzzle (English prompts, Latin answers); audio recording of the Latin text; gallery of illustrations; video slideshow of illustrations with Latin audio; Latin prompts (question and answer) for the illustration; digital book page (showing the original 17th-century book); links to additional versions of the fable in Latin and in English.
All of the materials are accessible through a Ning much like this eClassics Ning - which is to say, a free interactive discussion space online (which has the great advantage of resembling Facebook - a big plus with my students), where people can ask questions about the fables, create study groups, and so on. The materials themselves are either available at the Ning itself, or at some associated blogs and wikis which I've been developing over the several years that I've spent working on this book. (It was very nice knowing that whatever did not fit in the book could be made available online!) The Ning is open, which means anybody can view it; to actually contribute comments and participate in discussions, etc., you need a Ning account (which you may have already created here at the eClassics Ning - you can use the same sign on for the Aesop Ning).
I can publish materials at the Ning, and so can the people who join - there are discussion areas where everyone can contribute (including a dedicated discussion area for each of the 80 fables), plus every member of the Ning has a blog of their own if they want. You can even upload your own audio and video versions of the fables, which I think would be absolutely fantastic (the wider the variety of Latin pronunciation styles that people hear, the better!).
Anyway, the Ning makes it easy to have an interactive space side-by-side with the textbook, and I would like to take advantage of this very flexible space to provide the most useful materials to supplement the book for the use of classroom teachers, homeschoolers, independent learners, and so on. I don't know about those of you here who are book authors, but for me, the chance to actually interact with readers, answer their questions, etc., is something incredibly exciting! I've never had an opportunity quite like this with any of the books I've published previously - Ning has definitely arrived at the perfect time for me, and I am so curious to see what can be done with it!
Ideas, suggestions, comments are very welcome - you can leave comments at the Ning itself: Aesopus.ning.com
If anyone is curious about any of the technology I'm using to develop these materials (audio, widgets, quizzes, etc.), just let me know. Except for Quia.com (for which there is a small annual teacher's fee, and no fee for students), I am using all free tools to create these materials, and I'd be excited to share information about creating online content using these tools if you think it is something you'd like to try.
Thanks in advance for any input you can provide!