Digital Shakespeare is all around us: mobile apps, YouTube videos, online “participatory cultures,” electronic playtexts, web-based educational materials, even Shakespeare-themed videogames. But how do these resources intersect with the teaching of Shakespeare in the university classroom? In particular, how might digital technologies aid or impede the effective teaching of close reading and critical interpretation in relation to Shakespeare? Rather than discussing the various creative and interactive platforms and media available to the Shakespeare instructor, this essay focuses on recent studies exploring the consequences of using e-readers and other digital devices on individual brains in order to present (1) the demonstrably negative impact of “multitasking” on student learning, (2) the potentially damaging effects of using e-readers and e-texts in the Shakespeare classroom, and (3) suggestions regarding the best practices for teaching students to engage with complex texts like the works of Shakespeare.
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