I recently set up the Classics Launchpad on the front page of CyberCaesar. It has already proven to be quite popular and within a just a couple of days I’ve received a lot of positive feedback. The Launchpad is designed to be a front page for teaching Classics, a hub with all the resources for learning Latin, Greek, Ancient History and Classical Civilisation at one’s fingertips. I think that it is quite easy to make your way around the Launchpad. There are six tab buttons set across the top of the page, each dealing with a separate aspect of teaching and learning Classics. Within some of these tabs, fields are broken down into several other fields of relevance.
The first tab contains sites of specialist interest to Classicists. The first section is a general area, providing links to resources that Classics teachers will use on a regular basis. The first site is the Classics Library, an absolutely essential website, containing a huge amount of teaching materials, forums for sharing ideas and updates about developments in Classics pedagogy from far and wide. If you haven’t yet signed up to the Classics Library, you need to. There are links to Classics for All, ACE, the Classical Association and the Iris Project, all organisations vital for the promotion of Classics. The Association of Latin Teaching is linked, as they too provide an excellent range of resources and ideas. The final additions to the first section are Ars Longa and Classics in Communities, the former, an attempt to index every Classical reference ever, the latter, a project to encourage the teaching of Latin and Greek in primary schools.
The reference section of the Classics tab provides links to some brilliant resources. Theoi is a comprehensive guide to Greek mythology; you will struggle to find anything more exhaustive in its treatment of the subject. Silva Rhetoricae is similarly a thorough guide to rhetoric – you can spend hours just browsing through the various pieces of information as you jump from one rhetorical device to another. The final entry in this section currently is Orbis. If I were to state that Orbis is a guide to travelling around the Roman Empire, I would be doing oversimplifying to a ridiculous degree. It’s another great website and well worth exploring. At the moment the content found in the courses section include our own course CyberCaesar, the CLC and WJEC Latin resources, an excellent site for Latin GCSE.
The text libraries section is really useful, with a huge range of resources that simplify, facilitate or enrich the teaching of literature. The first site listed is Perseus. If you haven’t accessed Perseus before, you are really missing out. The site contains an all-encompassing range of Greek and Latin literature, links to vocabulary, translations and commentaries. I particularly like the tool linking to Lewis & Short, which lists how frequently a word can be found in the corpus of literature. Dickinson College Commentaries site is less well-known than Perseus but does contain some absolutely invaluable materials. As well as providing some key texts, DCC hosts some excellent learning materials. The vocabulary tool, “The Bridge,” helps teachers prepare transitional lists from textbooks to Latin authors. Heartily recommended. The Latin Library offers a plethora of texts and some of the medieval and modern options are well worth exploring for usage with more advanced readers of Latin. Loebolus is a repository of free, public domain, digital versions of Loebs. Poetry in translation is a great free alternative to the translations provided by traditional book publishers, a big consideration for school departments restricted by shrinking budgets. Edwin Donnelly has collected a vast amount of old Latin and Greek textbooks on his website. I must also mention TextKit as a helpful resource, containing resources and advice.
Other helpful resources for Classicists include a link to the examination specs hosted on the Classics Library, various links to studying Classics at university, other portals and gateways of information and other miscellanea. You can find Latin Vicipedia, the news in Latin (Finnish radio) and Ephemeris, an amazing site full of all sorts of information. Also worthy of mention are Ancient Rome Live, full of great videos on Roman history, and the Interactive Chronology of Ancient Rome, which is a brilliant and absolutely underrated timeline of history, linking events on the chronology to its corresponding page on Wikipedia. Please use this site as it really has so much potential.
The teaching tab of the launchpad lists some of the more helpful digital tools that can be used in the classroom to enhance learning. Here you can find links to some of the main flashcard apps (Memrise, Quizlet, Anki), presentation tools (Explain Everything, Prezi, VideoScribe, Haiku Deck and Timeline.js – I recommend the first and last of these tools in particular), online assessment sites (Socrative, Kahoot, Quizizz) and other helpful classroom tools. I also recommend exploring ThingLink – which enables a teacher to make an image interactive, ClassTools – a site that helps teachers create a range of engaging activities for the digital classroom, and Nearpod – which enables teachers to control to a certain extent what a student is doing with his or her device in the classroom. There are also links to the blogs of Mark Anderson (ICT Evangelist), Larry Ferlazzo, Richard Byrne and Jerry Blumengarten (Cybraryman), who all provide excellent advice and insight on using technology in the classroom.
I’ve also generated several playlists of (I think) some of the best videos to be found on YouTube for use in the Classics classroom. There are lots of Ted-Ed videos on Greek mythology, various videos on Ancient History, including the Crash Course lessons on the ancient world, some interesting presentations on Philosophy and lots of other videos on language, literature and linguistics. All of these can be found on YouTube. Please let me know if you can think of any more videos to be included in these playlists.
The other three sections of our Launchpad contain a news section that provides regular updates on news items about the Classical world via Twitter, a Roman calendar listing the date in Latin, interesting religious festivals and important events from Roman history, and a scrapbook of articles dealing with the importance of Classics in the modern world. All of this information is extremely helpful and available at your fingertips. The Launchpad provides instant access to some important and convenient details about the Classical world.
I hope it will be of use. Please let me know what you think and if you have any further recommendations.