This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Rebooting the Virtual Globe: On-line Shakespeare in Intermediate Classrooms Research Proposal
Kyle Stooshnov 57133084 ETEC 500 Section 64A University of British Columbia
REBOOTING THE VIRTUAL GLOBE April 11, 2011
REBOOTING THE VIRTUAL GLOBE Introduction In 1994, Sun Micro-Systems designer named Andrew MacRea wrote a paper describing the design of a virtual reality model of the London’s Globe Theatre. In addition to the possible wonders to be recreated, he mentions difficulties faced in bringing the historic building, as well as setting the plays of William Shakespeare, inside a virtual environment in order to make the experience as authentic as visiting the theatre itself. Over the years since this report, various web designs have brought the Globe to the World Wide Web, more or less to the limited success mentioned in MacRae’s paper. The most recent example, in 2008,
occurs in Second Life, where the “mannequins with articulated joints” (MacRae, 1994) have become the user-created avatars, known as “Residents” (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2009) of the on-line virtual world. Yet the concurrent failure by Indiana University professor Edward Castronova to create a multiplayer game, Arden: the World of Shakespeare, (Naone, 2007; and Blechner, 2008) seems to highlight the difficulties rather than promoting the wonder of on-line resources like Second Life Shakespeare.
What resources are available to teachers? Numerous attempts to bring the plays of Shakespeare onto the Internet have either been placed in small corners of vast social networking sites like Second Life, or hit-and-miss project like Arden: the World of Shakespeare. As close as they seem to be getting to an authentic experience of the plays, teacher will only find either crudely animated scenes uploaded onto YouTube, or role playing games that detract audience from the
REBOOTING THE VIRTUAL GLOBE subject they are meant to support. One of the chief problems are the plays are designed to be performed, and even an amateur production on a stage, or in a classroom, still trumps the wide variety of tools used to recreate the Globe on the Internet. Armstrong and Atkins (1998) identify part of the transference problem as write about the text: “Shakespeare’s plays function rhetorically, not realistically.” (p. 146) Until web designers begin to consider the imaginative
possibilities of the text instead of just content for dynamic, hyperlinked creations, teachers will most likely stick with the tried and tested textbooks and videotapes of Shakespeare’s works before bringing their classes on-line to discover the plays. The other side of the argument is that the teachers and even textbook publishers are hesitant to embrace the multimedia possibilities of on-line editions, as “the new technologies are extending [learners’] powers faster than [teachers] can assimilate the change.” (Murray, 1997, p. 8) The purpose of this research study will be to find a happy medium between design of on-line Shakespeare resources, and their use in the field of education.
The main question to consider for the research project is whether there is a demand for on-line Shakespeare resources? An ideal version of the Virtual
Globe is one that can be constantly updated to make use of the latest and most familiar technology, everything from interactive whiteboards and tablets in schools to the latest innovations in video games and mobile phone outside of school. In order to help both the designers and the teachers help the student to engage with the plays, I propose to investigate current method of on-line
REBOOTING THE VIRTUAL GLOBE pedagogy with regards to Shakespeare. Allowing students to explore the plays using familiar Internet search skills usually emphasized in the fifth grade, the proposed Virtual Globe expands upon the development of students’ multimedia literacy skills as opposed to “the traditional read-the-play-listen-to-the-tape-takea-quiz pedagogy” (Spangler, 2003, p. 131) for lessons on Shakespeare.
The rationale for setting this case study in grade five classrooms concerns students’ on-line abilities. Both Lois Burdett (2003), a second grade teacher and author of the Shakespeare Can Be Fun! series of adaptation for primary students, and Sheila Cavanagh (2003) who writes in support of Reggio Emilia inquiry-based program of early childhood education, present compelling arguments for primary and even pre-school introductions to Shakespeare. This study will examine the point where a prior knowledge of the plays meets the technical ability of grade five students. A future longitudinal study of former
primary students who studied Shakespeare bringing new knowledge to the Virtual Globe should be considered as follow up to this present research.
[see Literature Review]
Research Procedures Schools that are well equipped with wireless Internet-supported personal computers and other digital media devices would seemingly be a necessity to study the effects of on-line Shakespeare resources. However, with the ideal
REBOOTING THE VIRTUAL GLOBE design of the Virtual Globe in mind, all the classroom would need are a computer and other audio/visual equipment (microphones, projectors etc.). Since the online experience can monitored an evaluated outside of the classroom, even home-schooled students could be participants in the study. The purpose of this case study would be to help determine the effect of a well-designed on-line resource upon as wide a variety of grade five students as possible, regardless of available technology or prior experience to Shakespeare’s plays.
In order to fairly assess the type of students who would benefit from on-line lessons, a case study of grade five classrooms in three different school districts would be desirable. To examine the difference between school districts, it would be helpful participant within the both urban and suburban parts Lower Mainland, and the rural area of the Fraser Valley. In later months of the case study, data collection could take place in asynchronous discussion boards and classsupported websites, cutting down on the need to be in the classroom to observe and to collect data.
In order to reciprocate the selected school’s agreement to assist with this case study, I am willing both to train the grade five teachers on how to use the Virtual Globe, and to introduce the nature of the research project to the selected classes. It might be expected that each grade five class has included a unit on Shakespeare in order to perform a version of a play later on in the school year, and I would like to consider myself a willing participant in the development of the
REBOOTING THE VIRTUAL GLOBE school play, and even presenting a video recording of the play on-line through an associated website or class wiki.
One major ethical issue would be to protect the students’ and teachers’ identities on-line, which may require temporary e-mail addresses to be issued to all participants to ensure anonymity, rather than relying on the participant’s, or in the case of most students, the participants’ parents’ regular e-mail address. Parental consent is an absolute must for all students participating in the case study, and even if the students design avatars rather than photographic likenesses of themselves, their on-line identity must be protected at all times. The students’ own voice will be needed, which remains an important part of their identity. Essential to this Virtual Globe’s design is the need to enable complete security for the participants while allowing them to freely access relevant websites and to present themselves on-line.
As indicated above, much of the data collection can occur on-line, either within the Virtual Globe’s program itself, or on a class-supported website or wiki linked to the program. While the initial set up of the Virtual Globe will require the researcher to be in the classroom anytime between September and November, it will still be important to visit schools from time to time for the remainder of the school year. Pre-tests and post-tests of the students’ understanding of
Shakespeare’s plays should be administered in person rather than on-line, both to ensure the validity of the tests and to troubleshoot difficulties with the on-line
REBOOTING THE VIRTUAL GLOBE resources. Therefore, informal interviews with teachers and students can be scheduled during school visits, while surveys and their journal entries can be posted on-line. As a culmination of the project, teachers may decide to perform scenes or adaptations of the play, and a video recording of the performance would be valuable evidence of the Virtual Globe’s success.
Since most of the data will be gathered and shared amongst participants on-line, all of the data can be stored digitally on a secure website or downloaded onto a portable hard drive with separate file storage for the three participating schools. Information about each student would relate to the avatar each has created, and kept confidential from school staff as well as other participating students, if so desired. Ideally, a transcript of school visits or video conferences should be kept together with other data to help with the analysis of all data. The data will help the researchers understand how familiar students have become with
Shakespeare, and while the three participating schools will each have unique results, it is not my intention to prove one type of school is better suited for online Shakespeare resources like the Virtual Globe. Instead, I will look for any indication of improved understanding of the plays, which will hopefully be noticeable from the pretest onwards.
It is also my hope that presenting participant many options to report these improvements in understanding the plays will also increase the trustworthiness of the proposed research project. Collecting data on-line as well as in the
REBOOTING THE VIRTUAL GLOBE classroom will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of the Virtual Globe as an instructional model. In the end, it may all come down to the performance of the students – “the play’s the thing…” (Hamlet, II, ii, 604) – if the school chooses to put on a show as a culminating event. It is not a requirement of the case study for a live performance to take place.
One final note about ethical considerations for this case study, as there is more at stake than the privacy of the participants. Self-efficacy is also a major
consideration, and much of the literature on Shakespeare lessons mentions the perceived difficulty and plain frustration with the language and cultural capital, which would favour native English speakers or those more familiar with on-line technology, presented in any of Shakespeare’s works. While not every student is expected to become a devoted fan of Shakespeare, the purpose of the Virtual Globe is to reduce the difficulties and frustration most students, as well as teachers, attach to studying his plays. Confidentiality will not only ensure that the participants’ identity remain protected while on-line, but will also be sensitive to the perception of the learner’s ability to understand, or not understand, the materials presented within the Virtual Globe.
Potential Contributions of the Research From the outset of this case study, I have asserted that on-line resource called the Virtual Globe will help students become more familiar with the dramatic works of Shakespeare, even to the point of being included in an intermediate language
REBOOTING THE VIRTUAL GLOBE arts curriculum rather than the final years of secondary school, as is the current pedagogical custom. In the words of Lois Burdett, (1995) referring to her grade two students several years ago, “Shakespeare became a friend, not someone to be feared.” (p. 64) It is my desire the teachers of all grades are inspired to make use of the Virtual Globe, as much as the students feel they have made a meaningful connection to words nearly four hundred years old by using the latest technology available in their classrooms, at home or wherever they are able to connect to the Internet. Sometime in the near future, on-line presentation of the plays in performance will supplant the paper-bound textbooks as the primary means teaching Shakespeare, and the research and development of the Virtual Globe will help “to continue his dominance of English literary studies in the age of multimedia” (Armstrong & Atkin, 1998, p. 146) and beyond.
Limitations of the Study Throughout this research proposal, I have mentioned a new version of a Virtual Globe program to help bring Shakespeare’s plays into the classroom as an online resource. While the literature review has not revealed successful attempts to create such computer simulations of the original Globe Theatre of Renaissance London, they point towards a potential Virtual Globe as purposed in this case study. Indeed, the ideal Virtual Globe does not yet exist, and it is my intention to see through with the design of a Web 2.0 version of the theatre as a platform to present the plays and Shakespeare to students.
REBOOTING THE VIRTUAL GLOBE Reference Armstrong, K. & Atkins, G. (1998). Multimedia Shakespeare. In Studying Shakespeare. Hemel Hempstead: Prentice Hall Europe, 143-161. Blechner, R. (2008). Arden: A tragedy of errors. Second Tense. Retrieved on April 5th, 2011 from http://www.secondtense.com/2008/03/arden-tragedyof-errors.html Burdett, L. (1995). A Child’s Portrait of Shakespeare. Windsor: Black Moss Press. -- (2003). “All the colours of the wind”: Shakespeare and the primary student. In Naomi J. Miller [Ed.], Reimagining Shakespeare for children and young adults, 44-55. New York: Routledge. Cavanagh, S. (2003). The Bard for babies: Shakespeare, Bettelheim and the Reggio Emilia model of early childhood education. In Naomi J. Miller [Ed.], Reimagining Shakespeare for children and young adults, 193-200. New York: Routledge. Kaplan, A. M. & Haenlein, M. (2009). The fairyland of Second Life: About virtual social worlds and how to use them, Business Horizons, 52(6). MacRae, A. (1994). The virtual Globe Theatre. Retrieved on April 5 th, 2011 from http://www.macrae.net/globe.htm Naone, E. (2007). Virtual labor lost: The failure of a highly anticipated, multiplayer game shows the limits of academic virtual worlds. MIT: technology review. Retrieved on April 5th, 2011 from http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/19817/?a=f Shakespeare, W. (1623). Hamlet. In John Heminges & Henry Condell [Eds] Mr. William’s Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. London: Edward Blount, William and Issac Jaggard. Spangler, S. (2009). Stop Reading Shakespeare! English Journal 99(1), 130132.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.