EdTech Quick Take: Romeo and Juliet -- Shakespeare in Bits vs. Wordplay Shakespeare

A teacher-focused showdown between two popular digital adaptations of Romeo and Juliet.

March 24, 2016
Jeff Knutson Senior Manager, Education Content
Senior Manager, Education Content


Does a rose by any other name actually smell as sweet? Can a digital version of a Shakespearean classic really replace -- or even redefine -- its paperback counterpart?

While it's true that Shakespeare's plays were meant to be performed on a stage, there's still a lot we and our students can learn from reading them in class. So how do we, as teachers, bridge this gap? Beyond turning to Franco Zeffirelli's or Baz Luhrmann's film adaptations -- both of which, we all know, have benefits and drawbacks -- teachers now have a bevy of app and interactive ebook options.

In this episode of our EdTech Quick Take series, we'll look at two popular digital tools for exploring Romeo and Juliet: the app from Shakespeare in Bits and an interactive iBook from Wordplay Shakespeare.

Both tools cover the full text of the play and a performance side by side. In the case of Shakespeare in Bits, students get an animated adaptation, broken into digestible chunks; Wordplay Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet: Enhanced Edition offers a more modern interpretation with live, professional stage actors. With either option, students get the benefit of seeing the performance right next to and integrated with the text, offering insights not easily captured in a study otherwise. With either choice, experiencing the play digitally is a great way to redefine how you teach Romeo and Juliet

Have you already tried one of these tools in your classroom? Use the comments section below to tell us what you think!


Heather Costello
Classroom teacher

We use the Shakespeare in Bits version with our Year 10 students, and we love it. We use it alongside a movie version so that students can see the play performed (which is integral, I think) and then go back and re-listen to the text to do a more thorough analysis. The language extras in Shakespeare in Bits are fantastic - they explain and highlight different ideas in the text as well as explaining difficult words/phrases. We use the Shakespeare in Bits apps with our study of Macbeth in Year 11 also, and the students find it very beneficial.