Shakespeare in Bits: Julius Caesar

Common Sense Media says

Accessible app brings the Bard to life with animation, text.

Age(i)

2
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Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Each section is clearly labeled, and icons let teens know what features and special effects are available in each. However, the lack of a tutorial may cause some teens to miss beneficial features.

Violence

Characters are killed, and other mild violence takes place in the text. Readers can see some violence, blood, and gore in the animations, but it's not over the top.

Sex

Mild sexual innuendos exist in the text, but they don't stand out in the play or the animation as a whole.

Language

Characters sling insults at one another, although some may be lost in translation. Words such as "damn" and "hell" are used to express frustration or to describe where characters may end up.

Consumerism

Icons leading to the developer's website and Facebook and Twitter pages appear on the main page. "More Plays" leads to other apps for purchase.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A few mild references to drinking are in the text but aren't highlighted in the animations.

Privacy & safety

You're not required to register or submit personal information to use the app, but there's no privacy policy in the app itself. The policy on the developer's website focuses on Ireland and the European Union and doesn't make it clear whether the policy covers the app as well as the website. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Shakespeare in Bits: Julius Caesar is a comprehensive guide that lets kids read the play, watch an animated version alongside text, view scene summaries and analyses, and take their own notes all in one place. Not only does this make it convenient, it helps reluctant readers and those with special needs engage deeper with the play. As with most Shakespearean plays, there are some violent scenes and some mild language issues, which means kids can see some violence, blood, and gore in the animations, but it's not over the top.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • reading comprehension
  • text analysis

Social Studies

  • historical figures

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • thinking critically

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

This version of Julius Caesar is one of the most engaging you'll find. Animations and other textual supports help readers experience the backstabbing, politics, and excitement of this tragedy firsthand.

Learning Approach

Through features such as text highlighting, plot summaries, and character-relationship maps, one of Shakespeare's tragic plays becomes accessible to teens, including reluctant readers and those with learning difficulties.

Support

Although subtitles and definitions help make the text more accessible, there aren't any tutorials or other instructions to help teens discover these features.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • reading comprehension
  • text analysis

Social Studies

  • historical figures

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • thinking critically

Kids can learn plot, character, and literary analysis with Shakespeare in Bits: Julius Caesar. The comprehensive app takes readers back to the Roman Empire and helps them discover a fictional account of some of the politics and other drama at play. The illuminating animations, helpful summaries, and clear analyses can really help teens improve their understanding of the both the play and the author's writing style and language. 

This Learning Rating review was written by Stacy Zeiger

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What's it about?

In SHAKESPEARE IN BITS: JULIUS CAESAR, the play isn't performed on a stage but rather through animated characters who read the text of the play line by line. As the characters speak, readers see lines of dialogue highlighted. Kids also can tap on confusing words that are highlighted to reveal a definition. The play is organized by scene, with the animation and text sitting side by side. Separate tabs contain plot summaries and analyses for each scene, as well as a place to take notes. Those looking for an overview of the play as a whole can find a general summary, themes, and character overviews to help them understand the Bard's classic work.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Shakespeare's Julius Caesar becomes exceptionally engaging in SHAKESPEARE IN BITS: JULIUS CAESAR. Animated characters do more than simply speak the text; they bring to life the backstabbing, jealousy, and other themes explored in the play. The read-aloud aspect shows kids the importance of words and rhetoric, especially during the oft-quoted "Friends, Romans, countrymen" speech and the "Et tu, Brute?" uttered by Caesar during his assassination. Character maps give readers insight into the complex relationships among Cassius, Brutus, Caesar, Antony, and other major characters in the play. Detailed analyses also connect these characters' actions with the actions of their historical counterparts.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the web of troubled relationships explored in Julius Caesar. Ask your kids if they can name any parallels in real life or current entertainment where ambition or bad decisions create big problems. 

  • Ask your kids if they think politics have changed since Julius Caesar's time. What's different? What's the same? 

App details

Device:iPad
Price:$14.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:June 9, 2012
Category:Education
Topics:History
Size:572.00 MB
Publisher:Mindconnex Learning Ltd.
Version:1.1.2p
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.0 or later

This review of Shakespeare in Bits: Julius Caesar was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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