Friday, September 15, 2006

A Shakespeare Play in English Class: Then and Now with Technology

I grew up in a text based school environment. We read Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream word by word, line by line, page by page, scene by scene. I struggled just to understand what was happening, let alone the themes of the play.

Today's students can

Listen to the play as read by professionals

Watch commercial products on DVD

Watch parts of local productions' emovies of it

See pictures of how various directors “dress” a character to portray the character

Do an online text analysis to see which theme words show up where in the play

Make an emovie about their interpretation of the play

Take pictures of students doing poises from various scenes

Use concept mapping to compare MSND with another play such as Man of La Mancha

Find poems online that have a common theme and compare them

Have a videoconference panel discussion with other classes about how well MSDN relates to their own lives

Read blogs about various interpretations of the play

Make a 1 minute movie version of each scene

Download the text of a scene and rewrite it as if based in the school or someplace in the community

Compare their acting out of a scene with that of another class in a distant location with videoconferencing

Interview an actor or director who has done MSND via videoconferencing

Most of these technology-infused activities allow the students to be fully engaged and to be doing higher level thinking. Are English teachers in your school text based or technology based? You can use the first column as a check list. Teachers can help their students to better understand any play through technology.


At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should take a look at Google Lit Trips. They are available for all grade levels.

In particular, look at Grapes of Wrath. At the top of the page, classroom teacher, Apple Distinguished Educator (and author of this site), Jerome Burg records how he is trying to change the learning experience for his students using Web 2.0 tools and Google Earth.

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Esther said...


I'm studying to be an ESL teacher and I think that technology is a great resource for classes. It allows the students to comprehend the material better, and they become more active in their learning. By telling students to make projects and videos you allow them to show their creativity and they actually want to participate more, since it is something different from what they usually experience in class (papers, board). I think technology gives the students a new way to show what they have learned, rather than just having to write an exam.

I'm taking a class in my university about the use of technology in the classroom, and I think it is one of the best classes I have taken. It actually shows me how I can teach my students using technology, and the best part is that I'm learning by doing those things myself. It's quite refreshing; very different from having to read a book and write an essay. I'm pretty sure my students are going to like classes with such technology.


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