Monday, July 06, 2015

Classics in the News, Part 2

Classics in the News, Part II
Bringing Modern Reports of Ancient History into the Classroom

In a recent blog post I touched on a few ways for students to take classics-related news they find online and bring it into the classroom. The idea is to have students briefly browse the internet for or set up an alert to help find an article relevant to classics studies. Then, students share the article with the class, discussing its main points and the significance of the article, as well as its relation to classics. Additionally, I mentioned a couple of different ways to present the article. In light of the March 2015 eLitterae, where Lynne West provides a "Tech Tip" on the movie-making program, Animoto, I will here show how students can use the program for this type of classroom project.
An article taken from the UK news site,
Independent, discusses a botched
restoration  job that ruined mosaics.

The first step is to find the article. As mentioned in the previous post, I receive daily Google alerts, so it was easy to find this article from a United Kingdom news site, the Independent, on a restoration job that left several mosaics warped and ruined. I recommend that part of the project involve students setting up an "ancient news" alert, using terms such as "Ancient," "Greek," and "Roman" to help narrow the results of their alerts.

Next, it is important for students to find out what the main point of the article is, the article's relevance to classics, and why it is significant. Students should not have to force the answers. If they cannot answer these questions easily they should scrap the article and find another as there will be plenty to choose from. In this article, the Independent reports that "negligence in the process of moving the artefacts [sic]" led to the damage of eight or nine mosaics, including one depicting the sacrifice of Isaac and one of Dionysus. This point is at the center of the article. These mosaics are ancient Roman artifacts, directly linking them to the ancient world and thus, making this article relevant to classics. Lastly, the article is important because it raises awareness to the issue of negligence when handling ancient artifacts and how, when not handled properly, valuable pieces can be lost.
A shot of the Animoto dashboard.

Once students have established these points, they should then put it all into presentable format. With Animoto (which, for those interested in trying this approach, allows for a free 30-day trial), all students need to do is pick a video format, add photos and some text, pick some music to accompany the project, and produce it! Students might want to let their film run while they present over it or designate a spot during their presentation to show it to the class. Something simple like this one I've created may work better as an illustrative auxiliary for when the presenter makes their points, though something fancier may deserve more attention.

Students have a chance to let their creative sides shine in a variety of ways! If you have any ideas or suggestions on how else to make "Classics in the News" an effective project, if you you have any experiences using Animoto or any similar format, or if you have other classroom project ideas, comment below! I would love to hear from you.

-Connor Hart