Rethink How You Teach Romeo and Juliet with These 4 Apps
A look at three apps and an iBook that aim to take the stress out of The Bard's iambs and bring a measure of accessibility to his meter.
Romeo and Juliet (Enhanced Edition)
Concepts: Literature, text analysis, poetry and spoken word, vocabulary, theater, acting, thinking critically
A rose by any other name smells as sweet, right? And even though Wordplay Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (Enhanced Edition) isn't an app (it's an iBook), it's still a great option for iOS. This sleek adaptation offers a more modern take on the tale while sticking to the full, original text.
It's likely to appeal to teens the most. However, keep in mind that this version doesn't offer as many built-in reading supports or supplementary materials for context.
Shakespeare in Bits: Romeo and Juliet iPad Edition
Concepts: Literature, text analysis, poetry and spoken word, theater, thinking critically
Shakespeare in Bits lives up to its namesake: It breaks down every scene into short, digestible parts. Along with every "bit" or page of the play, students can watch an animated, dramatic rendition of the lines. As the characters speak, their lines are highlighted in the text to help students follow along.
Keep in mind that some more sophisticated students may find the animated characters a bit cartoonish. Nevertheless, this app version offers solid reading supports, as well as a host of supporting materials for students and teachers alike.
Globe Education Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet
Concepts: Literature, acting, theater, thinking critically
Globe Education Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet iBook offers a wealth of high-quality supporting materials for the play, and, overall, it might be the best produced of the bunch.
However, though the full text of the play is here, videos of the performance don't cover the whole play. Rather, they're brief clips of key scenes. Nevertheless, the clips come from high-quality, Globe performances and are accompanied by high-quality photos and other excellent learning supports.
Romeo & Juliet: Folger Luminary Shakespeare
Concepts: Literature, theater, thinking critically
Folger Luminary Shakespeare's take on the play draws upon the wealth of ancillary materials found on the Folger Shakespeare Library site.
However, it's important to note that this app's presentation is limited to text and audio, with no video clips. The app's strongest point is the Workshop feature, which encourages students to share their notes on the play; teachers can set up a private network for sharing and discussion among readers.
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