Author: Lauren Heywood 8th March 2017
Shakespeare has gone digital to encourage children to get online and learn about all things Bard thanks to a new interactive partnership for Shakespeare Week 2017.
Mission Shakespeare is a new learning educational site launched to take learning of the life and works of William Shakespeare outside the classroom and introduce primary school children to new ways of sharing, learning and interacting safely online.
The online collaboration between Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Coventry University and DigitalMe offers chance to take part in a selection of challenges, activities and games to earn special digital badges.
Now open to thousands of UK schools and children, the online badges project replaces the paper Shakespeare Week Passport to recognise the work and learning made by pupils during the celebration, and introduce them to new digital skills and online safety.
Schools can access their own secure pages for children to upload pictures, videos and examples of their work before tasks are assessed by teachers, shared with friend and badges can be awarded.
The nine badges encourage creative tasks from poetry and rap writing, tasking children to imagine how the famous bard might have looked with a puppet making task, and even to cook up their own Shakespearian recipe.
Mission Shakespeare will form part of a host of cross-curricular activities throughout Shakespeare Week which this year runs from March 20-26.
Jacqueline Cawston, Deputy Director of Coventry University’s DMLL said, “This is a really exciting partnership, and to work with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust again has been fantastic. They have the content and knowledge and our team have the technical know-how and vision to take Shakespeare Week further online and gain interest from a new generation.”
Jacqui Speculand, Badging Shakespeare Project Lead said, “Open Badges are an innovative digital micro-credential. We specialise in experimental learning at the Disruptive Media Learning Lab and it’s great to be introducing badges to a younger generation in an exciting and challenging way. Mission Shakespeare is taking Shakespeare to a new digital level.”
Jacqueline Green, Head of Learning and Participation at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said, “Our creative challenges inspire children to continue their journey with Shakespeare in a fun and meaningful way that may well be the spark to ignite a lifelong interest.”
Matt Rogers from DigitalMe said, “We are dedicated to helping educators use technology for the development of authentic learning experiences, which are relevant, challenging, fun and prepare young people for success in life and work. Giving so many young people the opportunity to explore and learn about Shakespeare will have an impact both in and beyond the school community.”
Shakespeare Week is organised by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust as a way to share and celebrate the playwright’s work, life and times with every primary school child in the country. Now in its fourth year the initiative provides teachers, home educators and families with free resources to teach and enjoy Shakespeare across all subjects. To take part in Shakespeare Week 2017, please register at www.shakespeareweek.org.uk.
The nine digital badges were developed at Coventry University’s Disruptive Media Learning Lab which looks to finding technological and innovative ways of teaching and learning for all ages.
Illustrations for the badges were created by artist Marcia Williams, and each hold three tasks to challenge pupils in a range of subject areas.
About the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is the independent charity that cares for the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites in Stratford-upon-Avon, and promotes the enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare’s works, life and times all over the world. Established by Act of Parliament in 1891, the charity runs formal and informal educational programmes for people of all ages. It holds the world’s largest Shakespeare-related museum and archives open free to the public, a collection which is designated as being of international importance. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust receives no public subsidy or direct revenue funding; it depends on income generated through the support of visitors, donors, volunteers and Friends. For more information, visit www.shakespeare.org.uk or follow us on social media Twitter @ShakespeareBT and Facebook.com/ShakespeareBT.
About Coventry University
The Disruptive Media Learning Lab (DMLL) at Coventry University is an experimental unit tasked with innovation and experimentation in teaching and learning. One of our key projects is exploring the use of Open Badges in Education as a way of evidencing extra-curricular skills for University students.
Coventry University has a long-standing relationship with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) in Stratford and we are delighted to work with SBT in this pilot project for Shakespeare Week. The project works with Primary Schools to introduce the concept of digital badges at an earlier stage in the education process, progressing rewards for a digital generation. Working with the existing MakeWaves platform enabled us to focus on the content and design of the digital badges for school children.
The team at the DMLL have worked with the education team in SBT to create nine digital badge challenges aimed at Key Stage 1 and 2 children, together with a set of resources that bring the activities to life and make them accessible for primary school children. We are looking forward to the next stage which is to introduce digital badges for teachers recognising skills development and innovative teaching.
The DMLL Team: Jacqui Speculand, Lauren Heywood, Charles Legge, Koula Charitonos and Sarah Merry.
Digitalme are excited to be a partner of Mission Shakespeare helping to deliver the ‘Passport to Shakespeare’ activities in a new and innovative way through the Digitalme platform Makewaves.
We are delighted to be giving as many young people as possible the opportunity to explore and learn about Shakespeare through digital badges and we believe that it will have an impact both in and beyond the school community. By bringing together the heritage and authenticity of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the digital expertise of the Digitalme team we hope to ensure the legacy and importance Shakespeare brings to the learning of young people.
We are proud to be a part of the initiative and we are confident that Shakespeare would have been on board in this way of learning too!