Shakespeare in space

Filed under: Media, Day Care & Education, Gadgets, That's Entertainment

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer / The slings and arrows of outer space travel...

Forbidden Planet is a classic in the world of science fiction. It has been said that the movie opened the door to the mainstreaming of science fiction, allowing films and shows like Star Wars and Star Trek to be made. It is also based on Shakespeare's play The Tempest. So The Bard doth have a history fine amongst the gilded stars on high.

And now, thanks to the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, kids can learn about Shakespeare and his plays through a space-themed video game. "The game is a way to capitalize on the time that kids spend on computers," said Professor Daniel Fischlin who headed the team that developed the game.

In "Speare", kids have to recover the stolen text of Romeo and Juliet by memorizing lines from the play, learning facts about Shakespeare, and paraphrasing parts of the text. It sounds like a boring English lesson, but in fact, it's all done in the context of an arcade style, outer space video game. According to the game's website, "'Speare fully integrates gaming and educational goals to the degree that the two are indistinguishable."

One of the things I like best is the way the game interprets the play: "it reads Romeo and Juliet as a play about the failure of a community of people to communicate with each other to resolve their conflicts non-violently. The game builds on this lesson and reinforces the value of creative communication and literacy instead of violence and destruction." That's my kind of game.

There are also plenty of free, supplemental materials for both students and teachers as well as "the Interactive Folio: Romeo and Juliet, the most sophisticated, media-rich version of the play ever created." Kudos to the University of Guelph for developing such a cool game learning tool!

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.