Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Shakespeare in Bits (Romeo and Juliet)

A Dublin-based company, Mindconnex Learning Limited, has set up a software project, 'Shakespeare in Bits', the first fruit of their work being a multi-media version of Romeo and Juliet. We've had a look at this, and it's well-worth considering for both individual study and classroom work.

A particularly welcome feature of the text is that it includes the full text, which synchronises with an excellent audio version of the play from Naxos featuring Kate Beckinsale and Michael Sheen. The actors' words are picked out in highlighted colour as they scroll through the text. On the left, there is a simple animation of the story. There are also annotations on themes and language, character analyses and a map of the relationships between characters.

Our own Transition Year pupils thought that it would be a good way to introduce yourself to the play, as well as a refresher during revision for pupils at Junior Cert/GCSE level. Also, it could be particularly helpful for anyone with learning difficulties, or who appreciates more visual and aural stimulus. Helpfully, there's a trial version which uses the opening scene, so you can easily assess it before buying.

On the Shakespeare in Bits website, you can read more details. Macbeth is next in the pipeline. Meanwhile, good luck to Michael Cordner and the team on their venture.

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