What We've Been Up To...

When Google Wave shut down earlier this year, I spent some time combing through a lot of our oldest waves deciding what, if anything, was necessary to pull out and save. Looking back at where this journey started in 2009 and where we are now, just one single word sums it all up; wow. In that light, I want to take just a few minutes today and share just what we have been up to this summer with improvements to the core experience of Operation LAPIS.

1. KEY-TEXTs gain audio:

One of the great affordances of moving to a completely digital format over the traditional print book is the ability to add audio and video. The KEY-TEXTs serve as important opportunities to work on reading skills and to learn more about the topics inside of the role-playing immersions. Each one now has an accompanying audio file embedded right into the text to allow the learner to hear the words as they read them.

Here’s one of my favorites: link to KEY-TEXT 4.3

2. VERBA and NAV get overhauled:

Thanks to some unbelievable power packed into Google Fusion Tables, both the VERBA and NAV sections of the CODEX were rebuilt from the ground up, allowing for more information to be packed into the databases. We’ve spent a great deal of time correlating all of the vocabulary entries throughout the immersions, ensuring that each word is glossed three times before that scaffolding is taken away. The dynamic tables generated for each CODEX entry is sortable so that the student can change the view to something that works best for them.

Sorted by part of speech

The NAV sections gained a dynamic map that increases in points of interest as the operatives make their way through the narrative. Points are color-coded based on their status and also provide information such as visuals and links to additional resources.

3. Gear overhauled as scaffolding for composition:

As I’ve mentioned in earlier entries, gear has a whole new look and function within Operation LAPIS. Now the students will have additional Latin composition scaffolding when telling the story of their RecentiÄ« inside of the narrative. Read more about the gear here and here.

4. ATTUNEMENT exercises re-imagined:

Thanks in large part to the unbelievable work of Mark Pearsall this summer, we’re really excited for what these exercises have become. Instead of feeling “tacked on”, or just something extra, beginning with the very first episode, these revised ATTUNEMENT exercises are an integral part to the immersions and scaffolding student composition. Here is just a small sample of one of these new exercises.

5. Edmodo is now the default for communication and collaboration:

Edmodo is quickly becoming a major player in the education scene and it is easy to understand why. Their interface, which takes a page from popular social networking sites, is intuitive for teachers and students alike. They are committed to keeping their platform free to use and have started to build a curated app store which operates within their platform. We’re happy to have Edmodo as the suggested platform of choice for instructors utilizing Operation LAPIS in the fall because it’ll provide a better experience than anything we could have built on our own. Plus, by partnering with Edmodo, we’ve been able to spend more time on the materials themselves, rather than worrying about the delivery.

Edmodo is intuitive and feature-packed

6. There’s an app for that...

Speaking of Edmodo’s App store, perhaps the biggest improvement to the overall usability of Operation LAPIS comes in the form of an app about to go live in Edmodo’s App store. This app, which contains all of the immersion episodes for Operation LAPIS, will provide an incredibly easy to use interface for instructors. This will allow them to publish effortlessly new immersions for their operatives to explore. Anyone who has used LAPIS in the past year will immediately appreciate the point-and-click interface as opposed to manually cutting and pasting text and attaching links and pictures from a Google doc. The app will also launch inside of Edmodo’s iPad app as well.

As you can see, it has been a busy (and productive) summer. There are a countless number of other enhancement, tweaks, and overall improvements that continue to make Operation LAPIS something all of us are immensely proud of. Given what has changed since August 2011, I can’t wait to see what August 2013 brings.

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