cordsie writes: Teaching Shakespeare to a class of disinterested students is one of an English teacher's worst nightmares. Teachers usually come away from the experience frustrated, while students are often turned off of Shakespeare for life by painful school experiences. One of the reasons for this is that while Shakespeare's plays are renowned for their language, poetry, and cultural impact, they can also be maddeningly difficult to understand, especially for young students with no previous exposure to Shakespeare.
A small Irish start-up is trying to address this with their Shakespeare In Bits series, the first real attempt to properly present Shakespeare in a technological setting. It displays the original text alongside a full three hours of audio and animation, and is full of elements such as instant translations, inline notes, and section-by-section analyses. Rather than relying on modern translations as many existing 'notes' versions do, Shakespeare In Bits tries to present the play in such a way as to make it easy to follow the original text. It is being used successfully by students and by teachers on their in-class projectors as a compelling alternative to showing BBC videos with the subtitles turned on.
"In all, the program is like Sparknotes.com on steroids. With cartoons. And Kate Beckinsale as Juliet. Most importantly, the actual text appears in front of the students as the cartoon actors perform, allowing students to interact with the original text."
The application is written in Adobe AIR, and an iPad version is ready for testing, (despite a marked absence of iPads in Ireland at present).