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Popular YouTube Series Helps Students Gain Interest in Classic Literature

Popular YouTube Series Helps Students Gain Interest in Classic Literature

New content emerging on YouTube might just help teachers connect students to classic literature. 

Literary YouTube is a series that "seek to transform classic works into video blogs set in the modern day," according to an article on EducationWeek.org.

"One of the earliest such series is also one of the most popular: 'The Lizzie Bennet Diaries,' an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice co-created by Hank Green, himself a YouTube celebrity and brother of beloved young-adult author John Green," the article said. "In this modernized version of the story, Elizabeth Bennet is a 24-year-old grad student with a video blog, and the Bennet sisters—reduced to three, rather than the original five—are just as concerned about jobs and school as they are about marriage."

According to the article, "'The Lizzie Bennet Diaries' went on to become the first YouTube series to win a Primetime Emmy, and the team behind it was rebranded as Pemberley Digital."

"In the two years since 'The Lizzie Bennet Diaries' finished its run, Pemberley has adapted two more Austen works to the vlog format, creating a miniseries based on the unfinished novel Sanditon and a longer series, 'Emma Approved,' which turns the title character of Emma into a headstrong lifestyle coach living in California," EducationWeek.org said.

Pemberley, the article said, "also teamed up with PBS to create a 22-episode series called 'Frankenstein, M.D.,' which teaches viewers about biology while following the exploits of Victoria Frankenstein, a medical student struggling to make a name for herself in a male-dominated field."

According to the article, teacher Melanie Carbine suggests "that episodes—typically no longer than five minutes—could be used for warm-ups or as a way of supplementing more traditional lessons about classic novels, or that students could create their own videos based on the novels read in class."

"Annamarie Carlson of Rollins College even wrote an honors program thesis arguing that 'The Lizzie Bennet Diaries' could be used as a way to pique students' interest in the original book, a possible solution to a problem faced by countless English teachers: 'It is a truth universally acknowledged that high school students hate reading Jane Austen,'" the article said. "But they do tend to like YouTube."

Here's an example of "The Lizzie Benett Diaries":

Read the full story and comment below. (Please note that some articles on Edweek.org may require a subscription.)

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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