Teachers can use NYPL Biblion: Frankenstein to get students to think more deeply about the novel Frankenstein and to introduce students to many of the major themes in the novel. While the Ask Biblion function has been closed to new submissions, teachers will still find the discussion questions and user-submitted responses contained within the app useful for sparking discussion in their own classrooms. They can then pull out specific essays or images for students to consider as they discuss some of the specific questions. One section students may particularly enjoy is the collection of images from the various movie adaptations. While not as academic or in-depth as many of the other essays, they serve as a way to get students talking about the novel and could help lower-level learners become more interested in the text.Continue reading Show less
NYPL Biblion: Frankenstein explores the classic novel by providing students and teachers with essays, copies of manuscripts, and photographs related to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. These resources cover the original text, adaptations of the text, and in-depth analyses of the text, and discuss how its theme connects with life today. When students enter the app, they have the option to select from multiple themes, including Frankenstein, Shelley's Ghost, Creation & Remix, and Outsiders. These themes appear scattered on the screen, requiring a student to swipe around the screen to discover them all. Tapping a theme brings up a selection of related essays that students can read, bookmarking their favorites. Throughout the essays, students will find "Ask Biblion" questions -- user-submitted questions accompanied by user-submitted answers that cover major themes related to Frankenstein, such as "What does the 'Modern Prometheus' mean?" and "How have you misjudged someone?"
Turning the device to landscape mode reveals a collection of source documents, including Mary Shelley's handwritten draft of Frankenstein, early poems from Percy Byshe Shelley, and a collection of letters and other correspondence. These documents appear as looseleaf versions of the originals, stains and rips included, and also feature transcripts to make them easier to read. Both formats help students see and read the text -- and related texts -- firsthand, adding depth to the essays they can access in portrait mode.
NYPL Biblion: Frankenstein does not lack information. In fact, the sheer volume of high-quality essays, transcripts, and discussion questions make it a great tool for teachers who want to engage students in an in-depth discussion of the classic work. Unfortunately, its overall design makes it difficult for most students to access and understand the information it contains. The busy-ness of the design often proves confusing and makes it hard to focus on the essays, pictures, and other information. A lack of audio or video makes it hard to capture the interest of less advanced students. However, teachers who only incorporate bits and pieces of the app into their teaching, doing the exploring themselves rather than leaving it to students, may find a few nuggets to bring into the classroom.
Key Standards Supported
Reading Informational Text
Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.
Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging.
Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of the text.
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.
Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.
Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” and Breughel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus).
Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement).
Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text. (Include at least one play by Shakespeare and one play by an American dramatist.)
Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics.
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.