In a class of students with a wide range of prior knowledge and experience of Shakespeare, the goal was for students to explore the different multimedia possibilities for accessing Shakespeare’s works and to develop an understanding of the plot, characters, underlying themes and context of the play they found most engaging. Gemma Jones, Berlin Bilingual School, Berlin.
Outline of the Class
The class began with a teacher-led discussion based on a Note shared by the teacher, presenting different ways for the students to use the various forms of their chosen play to help them develop a deeper understanding of it. The remaining class time was dedicated to ‘freeform’ activities in which students selected from the range of options and explored different media for accessing their chosen play: watching a short animation, reading a manga version, reading a paperback copy of a children's version, reading the original text in a dedicated Shakespeare app, or reading an online version of the original text alongside a modern translation. The ultimate goal of the unit was for students to write a summary of the play and an in-depth study of a character that particularly interested them.
LoiLoNote was used as a platform for accessing multimedia resources for Shakespeare, such as animated tales, online texts, and anime versions of Shakespeare plays. Without LoiLoNote, it would still have been possible to share these resources with students, but it would have been difficult and time-consuming to organise, edit and present them in a meaningful and easy-to-follow way. For instance, students would likely have found it difficult to navigate a long list of web links or quickly become familiar with another app.
By accessing multimedia versions of their chosen play, they students were more motivated, engaged and interested. They repeatedly referred back to the Note shared in this class throughout the unit and built up their understanding of their chosen play by examining different versions of it. Higher level students also demonstrated an understanding and awareness of the key differences between the versions and incorporated this into their summaries and character studies.
A Voice from the Classroom
Gemma Jones reflected on LoiLoNote’s positive impact: “From a teaching perspective it was amazing to watch the students as they made their first foray into Shakespeare's world, and also to read or watch the work that they produced as a result. With almost no exceptions, the students almost certainly achieved higher levels than they would have done without the use of LoiLoNote to support teaching and learning. Given that the students’ backgrounds and language skills are so diverse and that they are bilingual, this is a huge accomplishment.”
“It was an absolute joy for me to watch one of my students' video review of 'Romeo & Juliet' that he had spent hours working on at home, in response to the work we had been doing in our lessons. He was inspired by a review of Hamlet that one of his peers had found on YouTube and sent to him as a webcard via a tunnel in LoiLoNote. This is a student who has serious barriers to learning and who has difficulties with writing. For him, we always have to find ways to show what he is capable of, and this reached out to him in a way that I didn't expect. The power of LoiLoNote is that it can be used by the students to present and organise their work, but it can also be used to great effect by the teachers to help the students access the concepts in the first place. It is excellent for demonstrating cross-curricular links and for differentiating resources to meet the widely differing needs of our students,” the teacher also added.
“One of the key observations of the teacher throughout this piece of work is how motivated and engaged the students were (...). They would not have been able to organise their resources so effectively and keep track of them so easily without the use of LoiLoNote. In fact, they simply would not have been able to access the play in the same way, and for many students this would have had a significant impact on their enjoyment, engagement and overall achievement,” elaborated Gemma Jones.