How I Use It
This app would be ideal for students struggling with The Odyssey. ELL or students with special needs would benefit from the Read to Me option which allows them to follow along with the words on the screen as the program reads to them (in English or Italian).
If the student's reading skills are up to it, he/she can disable the read to me option and read the simplified text alone, too.
I would use this to prepare struggling readers for the next reading. Reading/listening to a section of the story on this app would allow low literacy students to better follow the story and then more actively participate in the class discussion and activities.
The animations on each screen allow students to swipe and manipulate parts of the pictures (adding to engagement). In one screen, they can tickle Polyphemus' feet or move the boulder from in front of his cave. I might use ideas like this to ask students to create their own illustrations or try to improve on the images from the program.
More advanced students would appreciate the additional information (added details and historical context) available on each screen.
Since the app doesn't offer them, I would encourage students to construct questions on the story. General or advanced students could also be asked to choose a scene to write about in more detail. For example, when Circe turns the men into swine, the app doesn't provide a ton of detail. Students could imagine the chaos and fear of such an event and write the story in greater depth.
This was a fun overview of The Odyssey. It begins with a brief history of the Trojan War, hits all of the major stops on Ulysses'/Odysseus' journey home, and concludes with Penelope testing her husband to make sure he is who he says he is.
The graphics and sound are interested and well-conceived. One small complaint, sometimes the sound effects of the animations made it hard to hear the audio version of the text. Some of the animations made it hard to read the words, too.
I'm surprised it offers a second language besides English. Maybe more surprised that this second language is Italian. The population in my school would benefit more if it offered a version in Spanish.
I really liked the accessibility of the text. The language was clear without being too simple. The story was told in enough detail for struggling students to benefit.
It was also nice that each screen told a key point from the story but also included a pull-up window with additional information with more detail or historical context.
It's also nice that students can listen/read the story in order or navigate a map of the ancient map to choose a specific chapter.
My kids liked the way the story was told, too.