Better than the book?
I’m always on the look out for apps or other technology that can be used in the classroom that are better than what might otherwise be possible using more mundane means. So I was interested when my undergraduate school’s magazine (http://www.udel.edu/udmessenger/vol20no2/stories/research-poole.html) showed up in the mail with just such an app.
Unfortunately, I don’t teach English, but Kristen Poole, professor of English at UD and a Shakespearean scholar, who contributed to an app (called “The Tempest” (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shakespeares-the-tempest/id516373702?mt=8)) that has at least one of the bard’s plays in a new multimedia format. As any physical book would have, it presents the text. In addition to this, there are also popup footnotes that include everything from historical references, alternate versions of the text or expert commentary on the meaning of the passage and how it fits in the whole. The contributor from the University of Delaware also indicated that it was possible to have the text read aloud by Actors from the London Stage, a touring Shakespeare company.
From the app store description, there also appears to be a way to comment yourself on the text in a way that shares with other readers (and facebook integration for those who would like to share that way).
Another article describing the same app in the magazine Fast Company (http://www.fastcompany.com/1843216/apps-thing-shakespeare-rebooted) interviewed one of the app’s creators, Elliott Visconsi, a Notre Dame professor of English, who claims that his app will be even more fun than Angry Birds.
For $9.99, the app is a little pricey, but if they deliver all the content that is promised, it would be well worth the investment for anyone studying the play. If they continue to provide additional content – perhaps more plays with the same material, the app could become an entire Shakespeare library and would be of tremendous value.
Should any of you purchase this app, please let me know how you like it. Does it actually add value to your experience? Would you use this in a class if possible?
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