Teaching Literatuer through Web 2.0 Tools: Does it Really Help?
Date: 8-10 January 2010
Venue: H M Patel Institute of English
Training and Research
Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarat
International Conference on
Interactive Media in Pedagogy:
Learning English In & Beyond
Learning Literature through
Web 2.0 Tools:
Does it really help?
The initial skepticism regarding the effectiveness
of computer-enabled teaching and learning has
given way to intense exploration and
implementation of such learning technology in
teaching practices in India.
The focus has shifted from simply describing and
examining computer technology to exploring how
to integrate it more effectively into the teaching
and learning of languages and literatures in order
to enhance learning in contextualized
Educators have realized that effective use of
technology can influence student learning.
This is true so far as language learning is
When we come to teaching of literature, we find
that still technology is not used the way it should
Limited use of technology in literature
Video cassette player
Where are ICT or Web Tools for teaching
How innovatively are they used? If ever they are
Does it address pedagogical issues pertaining to
teaching literature through web 2.0 tools?
Experiments in Teaching Literature
BBC production of Shakespearean Tragedies and
Poem recitation – downloaded from
Skype for online teaching.
YouTube videos for selected scenes in
plays/novels and animation movie.
Film adaptations of novels.
Websites and Blogs by eminent writers and CALL
BBC production of Shakespearean
Tragedies and Comedies
Plays are not for reading but for viewing… how
Viewing gives better understanding. . .
The internal conflict of Hamlet
Anguish and suffering of Macbeth and Lady
The somber effect of witch scenes in Macbeth
Play within Play in Hamlet
Nunnery, bed-chamber, duel scenes in Hamlet
Night walking scenes in Macbeth
Gaiety, joviality, comedy, wit – As You Like It
Poem recitation – downloaded from
Poetry is best enjoyed when listened and recited.
The sound of the words, musical melody of the
Poet‟s own recitation or by native speaker with
sweet, clear voice gives special effect in listening
Language embellished with artistic ornament can
be better felt while listening poem.
We teach poems of Nissim Ezekiel, Sarojini
Naidu, Eliot, Keats, Donne… Got best results with
Waste Land, Keats‟ Odes, Donne…
Skype for online teaching.
Prof from Kolkata delivered online lecture on „Old
Man & the Sea to the students of Bhavnagar
An expert‟s interaction with students….
Cost effective – saves money and time in travel
and other itinerary
Students get exposure to new ideas and creative
ways of criticizing literary text.
YouTube videos for selected scenes
in plays/novels and animation movie.
Animation of Novels, short stories, poems, plays .
Edited scenes of long plays and novels …
Edgar Allen Poe‟s Short Stories – “the effect is all
important in short stories”
Instead of watching entire novel or play, it is
better to view selected scenes – youtube helps
in selecting scenes.
Animation movies are short and sweet version of
literary text – web resources helps…
Film adaptations of novels
Better understanding of environment, setting,
costume, vernacular language, time, characters,
life-style, behavioral pattern etc
The novel is a narrative that organizes itself in the
world, while the cinema is a world that organizes
itself into a narrative.—Jean Mitry: The
Encyclopedia of Novels into Films
Oliver Twist, Middlemarch, Tess, The Guide,
Blogs by eminent writers, critics and
There are innumerable blogs by writers/critics…
www.chetanbhagat.com/blog: writers views on
Having interaction with living writer/critic leads
to better understanding of his/her ideas…
Study classic literature through web
resources – an example
First go to Wikipedia and find a summary of the
plot. You can do this with most books, just by
searching for the name in Wikipedia. Click on the
link to see The Old Man and the Sea Plot.
Read through the plot, then watch the animated
video of the story on YouTube. It takes about 20
mins, so make sure you have time before you
Now that you know the plot and have seen the
video you should be able to tackle the book.
You can read the complete book online at Google
books The old man and the sea
The book is quite long to read, but you should
now have a good grasp of the story. If you want to
study the story in more depth you can find notes
and analysis of the story at: SparkNotes.
Thus, we can identify scientific way of learning
literature through technology…
We an identify various methods and activities of
teaching literature through technology…
Its advantages are many…
It seems technology is very helpful…
„It seems….in reality, it is not‟.
It is very helpful because we think in terms of
‘Foreign Literature’ …
If we take „Literature‟ as a whole into
consideration, I mean, regional literature, mother
language literature then….???
Foreign literature – difficulties in
Literature being product of culture, myths and
legends, collective consciousness, society,
environment, time, nation and its people… one
cannot understand literature without
understanding all these aspects which are basic
ingredients of literature…
These all makes „English Literature‟ difficult to
A flute player of Vrindavan
Urubhanga – the Broken Thigh
On the eve of St. Agnes
Ode to Psyche
Literatures in regional languages
Do we need help of technology in comprehension
of regional literature?
Isn‟t is better understood without any
Literature is the creative product of human
emotions, feelings, observations, imagination and
Technology kills creative interpretations of
The free-play of fancy and imagination is limited
by its adaptations to movie/animation.
Reading literature cultivates mental capabilities to
think beyond horizons… viewing it limits our
Example: Reading of Kubla Khan. Rhyme of
Ancient Mariner and viewing of Avatar.
literature is a narrative that organizes itself in the
world - - -it is the word created solely of WORDS.
A few examples from The
Encyclopedia of Novels into Films:
Tibbets and Welsh
The film (TESS) does succeed in depicting the
essential tragic quality of Tess and her
victimization at the hands of fate and of men but
the complexity through metaphor and
symbolism is not wholly captured in the film.
Polanski‟s Tess, Nastassja Kinski, while beautiful
and captivating in her own right, is too childlike,
submissive, and withdrawn to be the strong,
intelligent, and resilient Tess of Hardy‟s novel.
Hemingway thought Spencer Tracy(an actor who
acted Santiago) too fat and rich to play an
impoverished fisherman, Santiago.
The crux of OMS is in Santiago‟s monologues
with the fish, Marlin: “I love you, beautiful fish. I
respect you. But at the end of this day, I will kill
“Man can be destroyed, but man cannot be
Click to view movie
The difference in viewing literature
and reading literature…
There is vast difference in interpretation of literary
text in reading and in viewing…
Literature is ‘Words, words, words’ (Hamlet)
Isn‟t the beauty of WORDS lost in its adaptations
by various technological means…??
Isn‟t is something like - - - playing games on the
field and on the computers…Spoon feeding and
eating with one‟s own hands…
The Literature should be read, interpreted and
enjoyed only by READING…
Is technology killing the art of story telling?
All other attempts of teaching or learning literature
through technology displays incompetency on the
part of reader / teacher / learner.
The real aesthetic pleasure lies in the delightful
reading of literature…
Reading gives free play of imagination and fancy to
reader . . . It helps in cultivating mental capabilities of
Technology mars the beauty and real essence of
Free play of meaning is delimited when technology
Thank You . . .
May be, by disagreeing with my views,
you may agree with me.
And by agreeing with my views, you may
disagree with me.