Today my students and I experienced a first: We took a real-time, virtual field trip of The Folger Shakespeare Library.
Experiencing Shakespeare offers students an insider's view of the Folger Shakespeare Library and is a production of Alabama Public Television.
Prior to the field trip, the Folger solicited videos of students performing lines from Shakespeare's plays from which the producers created a mashup featuring students from diverse corners of the U.S. Although I did not submit a video, my students are now eager to create a mashup which we'll post to the Experiencing Shakespeare site soon.
During their trip to the Folger, students "visited" the reading room; met the Folger director, Michael Whitmore; heard Gail Pasteur, former director of the Foger, speak about the library's collection, Shakespeare's inspiration, and other relevant topics.
Students also met Mark Miazga's students from Baltimore and saw them performing and having fun with Shakespeare's insults. Additionally, students visited the Folger stage and eavesdropped on two actors working through a pivotal scene in Macbeth. They also heard actors talk about the cues Shakespeare gives performers working through a play and making rhetorical decisions about how to interpret and perform the scene.
To make the field trip interactive, producers used Poll Everywhere to ask students questions such as "Which line would you most like to perform on the Folger stage?" and "Who would you cast in a new production of Romeo and Juliet?" Watching the polling results really contributed to the students' sense of experiencing Shakespeare at the Folger firsthand while giving the teacher consenting to this use of smart phones a "cool" factor.
The Folger will archive the program so that teachers and students will have the opportunity to experience Shakespeare and the living library the Folgers created.
So while it's too late to experience Shakespeare in real time, teachers still have time to experience Shakespeare via the wonders of the archival resources. Here's a sneak peak into the experience: