Sunday, November 21, 2010

Shakespeare 101, on Prezi

I don't know what Prezi is, exactly, but I like the idea behind this presentation on Shakespeare's Biography. It's as if someone laid out a whole bunch of index cards on a big screen, some text, some graphics, and then played connect the dots with them. The player/browser walks you through the cards in the intended sequence, but be sure to click the X inside a circle (next to the Play button) which will bring up the entire map at once and yet you jump around.

I'm not linking this for the quality of the Shakespeare info. It's ok, and even covers some info that's often overlooked (like the deer-poaching story, or the fact that when people speak of Shakespeare "inventing" words, that doesn't really mean what you think it means). But it's also pretty light on everything else, and never really mentions any plays at all, just timeline stuff.

What's interesting to me is the potential for something like this. Play with it first, so we can discuss it. Got it? Ok, good.

Imagine this thing on an iPad. You're using your fingers, getting in there and driving your way around Shakespeare's life. Now like I said, this particular sample is pretty shallow - but imagine a really deep one that went into all the plays? Or even better something that had a certain amount of wiki to it, where people could continually comment and add ideas? It's easy to write one sentence that says "Shakespeare had twins Judith and Hamnet, and Hamnet died at 11." But think about all the different places throughout Shakespeare's work where you could link possible examples of how his son's death impacted his work.

Imagine it interactive! This was apparently created by a teacher, for his class. So why not have something in there were students could post questions back to the teacher? Or have homework where they have to create their own branches?

I love stuff like this that's got obvious educational potential.

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