English 189-2 - Spring, 2021

Seminar in Literary Studies

Topic: Shakespeare in our Schools: Teaching the Tragedies through Digital Gaming and Theatrical Performance

Class Information

Instructor: Bloom, Gina
CRN: 42120
Time: F 10:00-12:50
Location: 126 Voorhies
GE Areas: Writing Experience


Shakespeare in our Schools: Teaching the Tragedies through Digital Gaming and Theatrical Performance

Taught synchronously on Zoom, with 2-3 small in-person sessions in 126 Voorhies
See video for more information about class format

In this hands-on, project-based course, we will use the Shakespeare mixed-reality videogame Play the Knave (which was developed at UC Davis--https://playtheknave.org) to explore how Shakespeare can teach high school students about the problem of violence globally and in California. Students will 'playtest' a curriculum involving Play the Knave that was designed for use in South African schools. Working alongside Prof. Bloom and her colleagues in South Africa, students will try out this curriculum and reflect on its effectiveness for learning. Students will then work together to adapt the curriculum for use in California schools. We will be especially focused on the challenges and opportunities presented by the pandemic and the physical distancing protocols in place at schools. A teacher based in South Africa will join us remotely for many of our sessions, giving students an opportunity to learn about education issues across the globe.

The course will be of particular interest to students contemplating careers in education (especially K-12 teaching), theater, and/or digital media and gaming. However, students need not have experience in any of these areas prior to taking the class.

Because lesson plans for the curriculum involve use of the digital game Play the Knave, students will need to commit to 2-3 in-person class meetings over the course of the quarter. These in-person sessions (held in 126 Voorhies) will involve NO MORE THAN FOUR students at a time and will take place during the class time period. Students will rotate through the in-person sessions, with everyone attending at least twice during the quarter. When not scheduled for an in-person session, students will attend remotely via Zoom.

SAFETY: There will be strict safety protocols in place for in-person sessions, including physical distancing, mask wearing, and hand sanitizing. The room will be well-ventilated and/or have an air purifier. Students who are meeting on campus in a given week will need to take a COVID test earlier that week and complete the university's symptom-checker survey on the day of the in-person meeting. By 9:30 AM on the day of class, students attending in person will need to have e-mailed Prof. Bloom proof of a negative COVID test and proof they have taken the university's symptom survey that day. Additional screenings (including taking temperatures at the door) may also be in place.


Othello, Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare
Macbeth, Shakespeare
Hamlet, Shakespeare
Play the Knave (https://playtheknave.org), ModLab, UC Davis