New digital challenges introduced for Shakespeare Week 2017

Mission Shakespeare is a series of age-appropriate online challenges for primary school children to encourage active learning of all things Shakespeare whilst introducing them to new digital skills in a secure online environment. A technological collaboration between three not-for-profit organisations - the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Coventry University and DigitalMe, Mission Shakespeare will form part of a host of cross-curricular activities throughout Shakespeare Week which this year runs from 20-26 March. Up to two million children in 12,000 schools are expected to take part in the annual national celebration.

Children in Key Stage One and Two will be challenged on a range of creative tasks from writing poetry and performing a Shakespeare rap, to imagining how Shakespeare might have looked with a puppet making task, and even cook up their own Shakespearian recipe.

Schools and families can access their own secure pages free of charge for children to upload pictures, videos and examples of their work. For each set of challenges completed, children will earn a free digital badge designed by award-winning children’s author and illustrator, Marcia Williams. Through a collaboration with the Society of Chief Librarians, children can also access Mission Shakespeare in libraries across the country.

The nine digital badges were developed with Coventry University’s Disruptive Media Learning Lab (DMLL) which aims to develop technological and innovative ways of teaching and learning for all ages. 

Jacqueline Cawston, Project Leader at Coventry University’s DMLL said, “This is  a digital approach that few other people are using so it has been fantastic to work with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust on this project. They have all the knowledge and we have the technical resources to take it all online and help interest a new generation.

“What we wanted to do was disrupt Shakespeare and the teaching and learning of his work to make sure it remains relevant.  It’s given us chance to create for a much younger audience than we normally work with and get them using ideas of digital learning and sharing in a very secure way. “

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

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