For GHF Online’s fall semester, my new class will combine two of my great passions: Minecraft and Shakespeare. This may sound like an odd mix, what with Minecraft’s inherent visual, blocky quality and Shakespeare’s verbal eloquence, but imagine the following:
1) Minecraft NPCs (non-player characters) that have scripts with multiple-choice options, allowing players to interact with them. I’ll make a collection prior to the class, but students will also create their own based on a Shakespearean character. Student’s NPC’s scripts will include actual quotes from Shakespeare, with paraphrasing to explain the meaning to those who might not understand, as well as pseudo-Shakespearean lines written by the students.
2) Class discussion about the life and times of Shakespeare. We will tie in several historic events, such as the coronation of James I of England, which Shakespeare reflects in his plays.
3) Class discovery of the beauty of Shakespeare’s poetics through memorization of small passages, discussion of allegories, and connection of Shakespeare’s world to our own lives and experiences, both within in Minecraft and beyond.
Ultimately, the goal is to get kids playing with Shakespeare. Envision dramatic readings while building. Imagine Shakespearean characters from different plays interacting with each other in a fantasy mismatched world (Romeo chatting with Hamlet? Robin Goodfellow designing Minecraft pranks? Steve, the Minecraft man, at the center of a Shakespearean play?). The possibilities are endless, once we open ourselves to them.
Our time in Minecraft will vary depending on what we do each week. We will use screen shares to look at the program for writing NPC scripts. We will do dramatic readings with mics and webcams (based on students’ comfort levels). Even though we may not be on Minecraft every week, we will use my Minecraft server, so all students will need to have copies of Minecraft PC/Mac.
Join us as we explore these seemingly disparate worlds to better understand the power of Shakespeare, the creativity of Minecraft, and the interconnectedness of those worlds with ours.
To read about my experiences introducing my own children to Shakespeare, please read Shakespeare Revisited.
To register for Minecraft Shakespeare, Minecraft Math or any of the other available GHF Online classes, go to http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/ghf-online-registration/.