Sunday, April 8, 2012

My first iBook...

...isn't for Spanish at all, but English.

I'm starting Hamlet with my seniors.  (Sometimes I wonder if I'm insane, or if I just don't know what I'm doing.  They have like 8 weeks left, for pete's sake; why am I starting the hardest part of my class now?!  Because, that's why.)  So, as sort of a lark, I put iBooks Author through some of its paces.  I found an audiobook version at Librivox, and downloaded the text from Project Gutenberg.  (If all I wanted was the text, it turns out it's SUPER easy to copy and paste text into a new digital textbook.  Not a huge surprise, but still.)  The goal is to have the audio book just read the page that you're looking at, so that you can follow along as the actors perform.  We all know Hamlet isn't meant to be read, it's meant to be seen.  This can take us a little closer to that goal. 

The British National Theatre has some pretty excellent educational resources on their web site, and among them are great resources for a recent production of Hamlet.  On iTunes U, they have a short clip of Rory Kinnear, the actor who played Hamlet, performing the first soliloquy ("Oh, that this too too solid flesh would melt....).  So I took that and embedded it in a video player, right there in the textbook, next to the written text.  You can watch the performance on your iPad, while you read the relevant bit.  If I had but world enough and time, I would do that to the whole bloody play.  But one thing at a time.

I guess the point is that the possibilities are pretty awesome.  It's an exciting time to be a teacher.

Also, for fun, I dropped in an interactive picture of Denmark, and a 3D model of Konsborg Castle, which is where the action nominally takes place. 


Ray said...

This is a very cool idea. i will be sharing it with our drama department.

JohnCosby said...

It's a little bit fiddly, but if you can get it right, it's very cool. When I get it put together, I'll send the file your way.