"Intellectual distinction is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for election to a Rhodes Scholarship. Selection committees are charged to seek excellence in qualities of mind and in qualities of person which, in combination, offer the promise of effective service to the world in the decades ahead. The Rhodes Scholarships, in short, are investments in individuals rather than in project proposals..."

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: An iBook from Providence eLearning

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

This was the fourth book I reviewed for Providence eLearning.  These books are available via the iTunes store for use in the "iBooks 2" application. 

The last contact I had with the infamous Sir Gawain was with a boy's book club three years ago when we tackled some medieval literature, including King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Green.  There was only a chapter about this tale, so I was anxious to hear the real story written by the Pearl Poet, rather than a retelling.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is an alliterative verse poem written in Middle English  in the 14th century.  The Providence eLearing version is enhanced with more than forty interpretive videos to guide the reader through the story.  This is incredibly helpful because of the language and imagery used throughout the story. 
Probably as useful as the interpretive videos is the audio narration that accompanies each page.  The narrator's voice is so easy to listen to and helps the reader through the difficult words and names.  This is so helpful for me, who slaughters names.  My kids jokingly pick on me whenever we are working through literature from a different time or country.  For example, when we worked through the Iliad, I continually slaughtered the names.  It's embarrassing, but true.  This is also a great feature for kids with reading difficulties as they can follow along with the narrator.

There are quizzes littered throughout the story and the artwork used in the text and videos is beautiful.  

My son is anxious to read this, and I will be letting him even though we don't cover Sir Gawain until next fall.  He's seen how the Providence eLearning textbooks work and is really excited to tackle this book in this innovative way.

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