Digital Textbooks

Globe Education Shakespeare

Published: 4 February 2013

Apple's iBook Store is an ideal distribution channel for education publishers. This article examines and reviews the set of iBooks that have been produced by Hodder Education. [1] The publishers have released titles on the iBooks Store for Macbeth and Romeo and Juiet; with A Midsummer Night's Dream and Much Ado About Nothing due for release later in 2013.


Globe Education Shakespeare: Macbeth & Romeo and Juliet

Extract from the iTunes Store: The Globe Education Shakespeare series presents a bold new approach to exploring Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet with 11-16 year olds. Activities and unique resources from Shakespeare's Globe enable students to actively engage with the play's language and key themes. They are designed for use across Key Stages 3 and 4 with an emphasis on developing students' enthusiasm, understanding and achievement from Key Stage 3 through to success at GCSE.


The main elements of each iBook include:

  • video footage from plays performed at the Globe Theatre
  • audio interviews with actors about the way they approach performing their roles and key scenes
  • activities
  • interactive play texts 
  • examiner's notes

Hodder Education have brought the traditional textbook on Shakespeare's plays into the 21st century. The combination of voice, video and supporting text means that the material is engaging and presented in a manner that will appeal to students. There is a growing movement of teachers and students who wish to move away from the traditional textbook. They perceive the traditional textbook as being overly expensive and out of place in a digital and always connected world. The ability for publishers to update their iBooks on a regular basis means that schools will get better value for their digital textbooks.

In many ways the digital textbook has many parallels with the traditional codex, but the gap between the two forms will widen when the digital textbook becomes the focus for engaging readers to share their thoughts and views on the book with one another. For instance, future digital textbooks will enable students to post and receive comments on the textbook via social media channels that are embedded within the iBook. The digital textbook of the future will recognise the reader and target content and supporting materials to that reader.


Screenshots of 'Globe Education Shakespeare: Macbeth'

  • Full script with rehearsal notes.
  • The iBook contains video footage of the play as it was performed at the Globe Theatre.
  • Actors describe their role and character within the play.
  • Exam notes are provided to support students with their exams.
  • Notes from the rehearsal room.
  • Description of themes, language and characters within the play.



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