Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

June 19, 2006

Grade 6 Students to Help Prof Test Shakespeare Literacy Game

A University of Guelph professor has asked a group of Grade 6 students from Edward Johnson Public School to help him test 'Speare: The Literacy Arcade Game June 26 at 10 a.m. in the College of Arts Media Centre, Room 019 of the MacKinnon Building.

'Speare, which has been created by the Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project (CASP) team, fuses the appeal of an arcade game with the goal of improving basic visual and textual literacy by using the works of William Shakespeare. The 3D game puts players in a futuristic space ship that they navigate through a faraway galaxy in search of missing knowledge based on an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet.

“We’re taking the video gaming medium and are trying to make it an educational tool and it hasn’t been easy, but I think we’ve done an amazing job of it,” said English professor Daniel Fischlin, CASP director. “Gamers are swearing that in terms of the level of programming and concept this game is utterly unique. The game is beautiful graphically and all the elements are text-based and learning-based. And it teaches literacy without being overly didactic.”

The 31 Grade 6 French immersion students will simultaneously play the game and then fill out audience response surveys and discuss the game in small focus groups led by CASP team members.

“Based on their responses, we’ll do final tweaks on the game before we launch it in September,” said Fischlin.

Once it’s launched, 'Speare will be available on the Internet through a new, shared learning commons link that will also feature learning modules developed by CASP and the Stratford Festival. CASP is the largest and most complete website in the world dedicated to showing Shakespeare’s cultural influence on a nation.

“Hopefully through this game we’ll draw young people onto the site who will then go on to explore other parts of the website,” said Fischlin.

Prof. Daniel Fischlin
School of English and Theatre Studies
519-824-4120, Ext. 53267/

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.

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