The App’s the Thing: Shakespeare Goes Social | Social Reading & Writing: cultural techniques with social networks |

Shakespeare is going digital.

Notre Dame professor Elliott Visconsi has co-created a new app for the iPad called The Tempest that he says helps accelerate student learning by allowing them to develop deeper comprehension in less time than solitary reading. At the heart of the app is a social network that encourages students to communicate their interpretations and collaborate with others.


“We wanted collaboration, interpretive depth, and the exchange of ideas to be the very foundation of the reading experience, and not just an overlay.”

...With these authoring tools, you are providing an environment in which people are encouraged to produce and not just passively consume. So what kind of impact have these social tools had on student engagement, comprehension and appreciation of “The Tempest?”

Visconsi: Students and teachers get further into the play faster, with deeper comprehension than by solitary reading. Along the lines of the flipped classroom metaphor, we have seen students working at a higher level in class, demonstrating deeper interpretive sophistication, and handling textual details with much more ease. They are prepared to get into complex philosophical issues sooner. They come to class better prepared, asking more strenuous questions. By getting deeper into the play and sharing notes and reading together, students are more confident. And they feel they can look to their peers in moments when they need guidance. So the app is expanding the footprint of the class. The classroom is becoming ubiquitous. Meaningful conversation can happen anytime.

We’ve found that our readers have a better intuitive understanding of the role of performance in a work of dramatic literature, and that they have expressed a lot of pleasure in discovering Shakespeare in this format. The responses have been uniformly positive; it’s thrilling to hear back from readers all over the world who are using the app and enjoying it immensely for school or pleasur
Via Dr. Susan Bainbridge