An easy to use Shakespeare app that explains key content to all Shakespeare’s plays as well as further information to extend anyone’s knowledge of the Bard.
Although this app is aimed at anyone that has an interest in Shakespeare, from the theatre goer to the classroom student I would say that due to the content, production and ease-of-use of this app that this is going to be of great use to any student studying any of Shakespeare’s plays.
Upon opening the app you are welcomed by a table looking very similar to that of a periodic table, fashionably designed and colour coded. What you’re actually seeing is the home page of all Shakespeare’s plays organised depending on their genre: tragedy, history, romance, or comedy. Also on the front page you have access to a couple of other features and bits of information. This includes, in the top right hand corner, an option to share this app over different platforms such as twitter, facebook etc and also some extra content at the bottom of the screen.
Throughout the app there is an immense amount of information given over in a friendly, intelligent way that not only makes the information interesting but importantly engaging. There is also a bit of Shakespeare humour throughout so for instance in the share button the heading, once clicked on, it ‘telleth’. Although the app is excellent as it is it is these small bits that make it even more user friendly and puts a smile on your face as you are clicking through the different options.
One the buttons at the bottom of the homepage is an ‘Extras’ tab. This gives a good overview of a number of things about Shakespeare and the first page gives us information about the impact that Shakespeare has had on our language. With facts such as the number of words Shakespeare used (17,677) and that around 10% of these were made we are also given a list of a number of these which include words such as ‘bandit’, we are also given the play they appear in for reference too (Henry VI P2). Once you’ve clicked on each of the tabs or plays there is a similar left swipe movement to access more information with 4/5 pages on each one. On the other pages of the ‘extras’ tab we find out some Shakespeare insults, information on meter in the poetry and prose page, information on Kings and finally a link to the authors webpage as well as the developer and apps webpage. The app website has lots of further information on it including points of contact if you wish to discuss anything with the developers. There are also videos and further resources available on the website which is a good accompaniment to the app.
Back on the homepage of the app the other tab, that is not one of the plays, gives you a well thought out timeline of events surrounding the Shakespeare family, the production of the plays and other major events of the time. This is a fantastic overview with not too much information but enough to make it easily accessible. This carried on throughout the app and the 300 in the title, Shakespeare300 refers to the number of words given over in each section. This means that the information given must not only be succinct but must be the most important pieces of information. It’s worth noting the author, James Reese, at this point. James has had published a number of pieces of work and his knowledge of the classics is expansive. But it is his ability to choose the best bits of information and present them in a way that is engaging that makes this app so useful.
Users will probably come to this app with a particular play in mind so may not discover all these little extras, however when you enter each of the plays there is a good amount of information to help with this purpose that you certainly don’t ‘miss’ out on anything. Once you have selected the play you require you are given four pages of information. Two of these are text based; an intro and the synopsis and then there are two further pages of infographics. The first of these infographics shows a breakdown of the amount of time the characters appear in the book along with the balance of poetry and prose in the novel and finally the length of the Acts across the whole play. Again, using the same minimal look; watercolour smudges; it is easily easy to understand. The final infographic is titled the plot, although I would suggest that is more about the links between all the characters and where the action takes place. Each of the apps follows this familiar style meaning you can easily navigate each one and know what you are going to get, information wise, from the app.
Overall this is a great app, especially for those studying Shakespeare but also for the casual browser wanting to find out more about Shakespeare’s plays. The only criticism that I would give is that I would love even more information, text and infographics so I can learn even more!
From the Developer
Shakespeare300 is the perfect portable tool for today’s e-learner. The application offers 300-word introductions, synopses and other support, such as visualizations of the plays’ plots and a wealth of fun extras -- Shakespearean neologisms, top insults and a detailed timeline – designed not as a “cheat sheet” but as a supplement to classroom and/or independent study.
Building on advanced degrees in Linguistics and Dramatic Literature, New York Times-bestselling novelist James Reese brings fresh, no-nonsense insight to the saturated world of Shakespearean reference materials. The result is an entertaining, fast and fun reference app . . . both scholarly and a bit cheeky…sure to appeal to the digitally connected generation of learners.
Shakespeare300 is part of Apple's VVP.
Got Shakesfear? Relax. Bestselling author James Reese presents Shakespeare300, offering a unique take on all the Bard's plays presented in concise (300 word) introductions, synopses and infographics. It’s all you need to know before the test goes down or the curtain goes up.
After 15 years of publishing for adults and young adults (including 5 novels published in 12 languages), James Reese brings his penchant for gripping narrative and an expansive knowledge of the classics to the iPhone and iPad.
Shakespeare300 provides portable insight presented in a highly visual style, featuring colorful charts and infographics, introductions and synopses, and a wealth of extras all written by Reese.
While designed to be concise (the “300” in its title refers to the 300-word limit set on each section of text), Shakespeare300 doesn’t skimp on rich content. Building on advanced degrees in Dramatic Literature and Linguistics, Reese brings fresh, no-nonsense insight into the saturated world of Shakespearean reference materials. The result is an entertaining reference app that is perceptive, accurate and a little bit cheeky.
Shakespeare300 is easy to use, making it accessible to a wide demographic:
- anyone wanting a better understanding of Shakespeare’s remarkable canon but who may feel intimidated by the plays themselves
- students seeking a fun and thorough study guide-on-the-go
- theatregoers looking to brush up on their Shakespeare by quickly reviewing the Bard’s complex plots and characters prior to any production
Whatever the purpose, Shakespeare300 for iPhone and iPad is an entertaining, fast and fun way to learn about the world’s most popular playwright.
Published by educational software developer Intellective300, Shakespeare300 is the company’s inaugural App Store offering. Intellective300 seeks to eliminate the stigma often associated with reference material, making topics that may be considered dense and time-consuming more accessible, interactive and entertaining.