Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Greenwood English Department Moves to Oxford Next

This week, English teacher Heather Wright explains how technology enriches the study of Shakespeare for Greenwood students.

This year during our Hamlet unit Grade 12 English students enjoyed using new software, Oxford Next, to support their learning. In the past, the English department has taught Shakespeare plays using a more traditional, teacher-led approach; however, Oxford Next allows for much greater personalization.

Oxford Next Screenshot
Oxford Next allows students to view Shakespeare
scenes, and to check their understanding with
short quizzes.
Using various online tools, students can work at their own pace, watch various film versions of each scene, and take self-check quizzes to assess their understanding of the material.  Scene summaries, definitions, and a study guide are also available for when students run into difficulty. With the great variety of learning tools at their disposal, students can use the resources that best meet their needs and learning styles.

Current Grade 12 students are in a unique position; they were taught Macbeth in Grade 10 without the use of Oxford Next, so they have been able to experience both approaches to learning Shakespeare. The feedback from students has been very positive, with each student using and appreciating different aspects of the software:

“I enjoyed Oxford Next very much. I specifically liked that there was a media center so that I could watch the films and understand the language more effectively. I also enjoyed being able to hover over words and see their definitions in modern English.” - Noah Flatt

“I really enjoyed having quizzes.  It was helpful to test my understanding and to ensure that I did not miss a major event in the story.” - Madeline Chisholm

“Compared to reading from the physical text, finding quotes was simple.  I liked having the ability to copy directly to an online notebook. Compiling a list of important quotes was easy.” -Thomas Cole

Given the positive feedback, the Oxford Next approach to Shakespeare has also been implemented at the Grade 10 and Grade 8 levels for the study of Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  

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