‘Speare is a fast-paced, highly addictive space shooter game that teaches literacy skills in a beautifully designed graphic environment. You can download trial version here
Although I have a real problem with the way the game is being marketed ( positioning itself a a TRUE learning game, trick your kids into “learning” something, video games in general have no value or no opportunity for learning, blah, blah, blah) I like the concept of the game itsself.
From the website:
‘Speare fuses fast-paced online arcade game action with the curricular goals of literacy promotion using Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet.
In the style of classic arcade games, ‘Speare launches the player into outer space on a mission to reclaim stolen knowledge (story traces) based on Shakespeare’s plays. By collecting words, phrases, and facts through game play, ‘Speare challenges its players to use information to become successful knowledge gatherers. Only through knowledge gathering can a player successfully complete the game.
One of the unique gaming features of ‘Speare is that it reads Romeo and Juliet as a play about the failure of a community of people to communicate with each other to resolve their conflicts non-violently. The game builds on this lesson and reinforces the value of creative communication and literacy instead of violence and destruction.
‘Speare has been designed with a core literacy audience of youth ages 10 to 15. The game’s appeal is much broader than this, however, and it is an excellent way to introduce Shakespeare’s language to younger children as well as older youths in a non-threatening, carefully mediated, and highly interactive environment.
‘Speare’s arcade-style format uses quotes from Romeo and Juliet as the content for a puzzle game that coaches players to differentiate quickly between words and in order to develop the ties among Shakespearean vocabulary, homonyms, synonyms, and other facets of basic literacy. This language is decoded for players using audio clips of narrated Shakespearean text (transmissions), as well as word definitions and explanations embedded throughout the game. In addition to kinetic and visual cues, the game uses proprietary technology for transforming game objects into text objects and does so with an advanced audio cue system. What this means is that players who successfully perform a knowledge gathering operation will get both visual and audio cues to confirm their success, thus reinforcing the links between the sound and the sight of the game text in play.
Also part of the game are hundreds of facts about Shakespeare that include historical, cultural, and artistic information, all of which can all be used to create in-class activities available on CASP’s Learning Commons.
Curricular goals are reinforced through the arcade-game format of ‘Speare that allows teachers to use ‘Speare, the Interactive Folio: Romeo and Juliet, and the CASP Learning Commons as a hybrid in-class/ online learning system.
The result of close to two years of development, ‘Speare is the first in a series of planned SmartGames© (and a Shakespearean Gamebox©) designed to reach and teach young learners currently under development by CASP. ‘Speare fuses kinetic and cognitive skills and outcomes that are latent in online game play and activates their potential within an environment that has been carefully designed to entertain and instruct all at once.
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