I don’t blog enough. I ought to be writing articles about CyberCaesar or Classics or education far more often but I just don’t have the time. I’m always developing the site instead, adding a new feature or changing an existing one to make it look more attractive or to function more effectively. However, if I’m constantly tinkering with the course, I don’t have time to write about what I’m doing. I intend to change this and to show you all what I have been doing and how the course works.
It has been almost a year since I launched CyberCaesar to the public, after years of developing the course. We’ve had a successful year but I still get the impression that much of the Classics community still don’t know about the course or have a very vague view of what we are about. I suppose that’s my fault. I’m not much of a marketer: I’m a Classics teacher. Sure, we have to market our subject, sell Latin to pupils and to parents, sometimes even to governors and management, but it isn’t the same as marketing, per se. That’s why I am writing this blog – to try to increase awareness of our course.
So what changes have I made over the last year or so? Firstly the entire structure of the front page has been transformed. It provides a much more attractive introduction to the course and the information page is far easier to access. The layout of the information page is (I think) far simpler and everything you need to know about the course should be at your fingertips. I’ve also linked this blog to the front page of the course so that this can become a far more organic part of CyberCaesar itself.
What about changes to the course itself? I’ve added so many features over the last year that I’ve lost count. The Demonstration Course has been moved back to the main part of the site. It was a mistake to host it separately and it caused some confusion to users casually visiting the site. It should prove much easier to access now and already we’ve seen an uptake in people using this free course. I’ve added user guides to students on the Basic Latin course in order to explain how the course works and to help access all the resources available to them. I’ve added a lot of content to the Further Latin course, including vocabulary lists, tests, and flashcards, as well as reorganizing the language exercises to make them more effective. I’ve also added badges and a certificate to this course, to mirror the structure of the two other courses. I’ve added a vocabulary search function to the entire course, to make finding words that a student may have forgotten just slightly easier. Revision exercises have been added to the Intermediate and Further Latin courses that force students to revisit their work and keep their learning up to speed. In my opinion, this has had the most significant effect on student learning this year, improving the retention of previous material considerably. Games have been added to the course and these have been hugely popular. They can only be accessed on completion of certain activities and they practise aspects of grammar or vocabulary in gameplay. You may now understand why I’ve not had time to blog.
A resource that I hope will be of interest to everyone in the Classics community is the Classics Launchpad that I’ve added to the front page of the course. This has been designed to be a hub of information for the teaching of Latin and Classics – a landing site for Classicists. I’ve tried to put on one page all the materials and resources that Classics teachers use regularly. Here you can find links to the most important sites that we use every day, like the Classics Library, the ARLT, or to more specialist resources such as Perseus, Theoi or Loebolus (which you MUST visit). There are also links to some really excellent teaching tools, like Nearpod, Explain Everything and Kahoot. You can also find several playlists of relevant videos from YouTube, a Twitter feed about the latest developments in our subjects, a Roman calendar and a scrapbook of articles about Classics. I hope that you will find it useful. Please, please, please contact me for further suggestions for addition to the launchpad.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, we have revised our pricing structure and have cut prices dramatically. An individual subscription now costs £12. Institutions can now receive discounts of up to 40% on each user depending on how many subscriptions they need. The old system was far too blunt an instrument for schools and I’m happy to amend this. Further discounts are available to state schools. For more details, please visit the information page.
We have been hard at work over the last year. Please come to take a look at our work. We seriously think that CyberCaesar can transform the teaching and learning of Latin in schools.