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App review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2013
Shakespeare's The Tempest For IPad

Shakespeare's The Tempest for iPad

Explore Shakespeare's wild island in excellent, well-rounded reading app

Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 1 review
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Subjects & Skills
Arts, English Language Arts, Communication & Collaboration, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Commentaries are insightful, easy to read and really can help students better understand Shakespeare.

Cons: It would be nice to have an in-text glossary available for some of those tricky Shakespearean words.

Bottom Line: Shakespeare's The Tempest for iPad packs a college-level course into an affordable iPad app.

Video resources could be used for whole-class viewing and discussion, as could much of the commentary. Under Resources, kids can access audio for specific scenes performed on the London stage and other locations. Podcasts from the Folger Shakespeare Library, as well as a visual presentation on Watching Shakespeare, can supplement the text.

Shakespeare's The Tempest for iPad could be used for one student's independent study, as it is a full resource, but it could work just as well for small groups or whole-class study.

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Editor's Note: Shakespeare's The Tempest for iPad is no longer available for download.

Shakespeare's The Tempest for iPad includes the full text of the play, audio performed by actors on the London stage, and tools and resources to promote social reading and discussion of the play. Teens can annotate the play within the app and share their notes with a study or Facebook group if they want to. They can also read commentary from Shakespeare experts. The app includes links to even more resources to help students better understand and appreciate “The Tempest.” Students can also create a customized MyPath selecting specific parts (or roles or themes) within the play to view for essay writing, test preparation, or part rehearsal. Other resources include video clips and presentations to give students context to further their understanding and appreciation of the play.

Students can find many uses for the MyPath feature. The theatre mask icon lets students view one role highlighted, or they can create a custom path that can aid with literary analysis –- perhaps highlighting a certain theme or symbol or literary device throughout the play in preparation for an essay.

This well-developed resource brings a college-course discussion and lecture to the iPad. The commentary, offered by more than 20 professors from institutions such as Bryn Mar, University of Notre Dame, Harvard, and more, actually exceeds what students would encounter in an undergrad course discussion facilitated by one instructor. There’s also commentary from actors who have brought the characters to life onstage. Students can take notes while reading the commentaries or reading the play, or annotate directly within the text.

Overall Rating


Shakespeare fans will be enthralled with the clear commentaries and awesome audio. Others will at least find the exploration somewhat interesting.


The depth and breadth of resources offered here is truly impressive. Teens will explore others' ideas and get inspired to generate their own through social discussion.


Tutorials available in the About section are thorough and can also be accessed by clicking the "?" on any screen.

Common Sense reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Community Rating

Featured review by
Aran L. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
The Tempest is a dynamic app that accelerates comprehension in less time than solitary reading.
The play is at the heart of a social network that fosters rich social interactions and perspectives. By giving students the role of author or collaborator they develop deeper understanding and appreciation of The Tempest.
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