ERIC Identifier: ED469928 Publication Date: 2002-07-00
Author: Stoicheva, Mila Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Reading English and Communication Bloomington IN., Family Learning Association
Online Resources for Teaching Shakespeare. ERIC Digest.
The Technology in Education 2001 Survey (Market Data Retrieval, 2001) reveals
that nearly 70% of schools report that the majority of their teachers use the
Internet for instructional purposes, and more than 70% use computers on a daily
basis. Parallel to the rapid growth in the number of users of Web sites has been
an exponential growth in the number of sites, challenging the efforts of
teachers and parents to identify and select the most relevant sites for any
particular project (Lu, 1999). This is particularly true for subjects or topics
as exhaustively represented on the Web as William Shakespeare and the teaching
of his works.
To assist educators in effectively teaching the works of this critical
author, this Digest will identify and describe some of the most significant and
useful online resources. The Web sites were chosen on the basis of their
technical excellence, purpose, content, authorship, and general usefulness
(Abdullah, 1998) for teachers and parents attempting to introduce Shakespeare to
their children. Note that, consistent with the nature of the Internet itself,
most of these sites cross-reference each other in unique ways to create a
cornucopia of ideas for teaching and learning about the life and works of
I. LESSON PLANS
In a survey entitled Hot Spots: Picks of
Language Arts Web sites (Lu & Abdullah, 1999), teachers reported that their
favorite Web sites were characterized by a high level of immediate
applicability. Teachers who responded to the survey indicated that the most
useful sites were those providing a wide array of practical teaching ideas. The
Folger Shakespeare Library and AskERIC Lesson Plans correspond closely to that
ideal, offering a wide variety of lessons plans, ready for classroom use.
The Folger Shakespeare Library
1984, the library has held eleven Teaching Shakespeare Institutes funded by the
National Endowment for the Humanities which bring together scholars, master
teachers, and actors and offer classroom teachers the opportunity to do research
in the world's foremost Shakespeare collection. The Web site contains a lesson
plans archive with materials introducing Shakespeare, and it also offers general
lessons, elementary lessons, film lessons, interactive media lessons, as well as
an abundance of lessons on specific plays.
collection contains more than 2,000 unique lesson plans which have been written
and submitted to AskERIC by teachers from all over the United States and the
world. The collection grows with contributions from individual teachers.
II. COMPREHENSIVE RESOURCES
This category of Web sites also
includes lesson plans and teaching ideas. However, these sites tend to work more
as comprehensive collections of all things Shakespearean.
site is maintained by Rosalind Tedford of Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem,
NC. It provides access to an enormous array of Shakespearean sites, including
those offering Shakespeare's works, teaching resources, and Shakespearean
theatres, festivals, and companies.
Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet
site is maintained by Terry A. Gray of Palomar College, San Marcos, CA. It
includes a rich variety of resources on the works, life and times, theatre and
criticism of Shakespeare. In addition, it links to sites related to Shakespeare,
Elizabethan, and Renaissance studies, as well as to the Bible, Classics, and
Medieval literature that influenced Shakespeare and other Elizabethan authors.
The site also contains courses and lesson plans.
Shakespeare for Teachers and Students
is a Web site of the Internet School Library Media Center at James Madison
University, maintained by Inez Ramsey, Professor Emeritus. It features online
texts of Shakespeare's works, biographies of Shakespeare, lesson plans, and
information on the Globe Theatre, Stratford-on-Avon, and other topics.
site is maintained by Amanda Mabillard, who is also the Shakespeare guide on
About.com. Among the abundant resources found on this site are full-text plays
and sonnets, analyses and essays, a biography and sources for his plays. It also
has an interactive capability, allowing users to ask questions and take quizzes.
Surfing with the Bard
Web site is the work of Amy Ulen of the University of Idaho. It includes a "Bard
Zones" section, focused on discussion, resources for students and teachers,
plays, reviews, and even a "fun with Willy," section devoted to "the silly side
of Shakespeare." In addition, it contains the Shakespeare Magazine, in which
free lesson-of-the-month plans are featured.
The Shakespeare Resource Center
M. Pressley has been the designer, webmaster, and content editor of the
Shakespeare Resource Center since its inception in 1997. This site contains
resources about Shakespeare's life and works, play synopses, and information on
Elizabethan England and The Globe Theatre. It also features the text of
Shakespeare's last will and testament, and resources on the debate over the
authorship of Shakespeare's works.
III. SITES WITH A UNIQUE FOCUS
One of the most useful
categories of Web sites, particularly for those doing relatively advanced
research, is that which offers highly detailed looks at certain aspects of
Shakespearean literature. Presented here are two of the most useful Web sites of
by its author, Harry Rusche of Emory University, as a work in progress,
Shakespeare Illustrated is unique in that it explores the relationships between
the plays and the painters, actors, and critics that have represented and
discussed his works.
Shakespeare's Globe Research Database
site, sponsored by the University of Reading, UK and maintained by Lyn Holman,
is dedicated to providing background information on Shakespearean performances
in original conditions.
IV. FULL-TEXT WORKS ONLINE
Sites that offer the full text
of Shakespeare's works are especially valuable. The following are among the
The Electronic Text Center of the University of Virginia Library
center contains a wealth of publicly accessible materials ranging from early
Quartos, the complete 1623 First Folio, and early playhouse promptbooks, to more
modern editions and many bibliographical articles that discuss Shakespeare's
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
site was created by Jeremy Hylton and is operated by The Tech, MIT's oldest and
largest newspaper. It has offered Shakespeare's plays and poetry to the Internet
community since 1993.
Finding information on the Internet regarding
Shakespeare is a very simple task; but finding the sites offering the most
comprehensive, reliable, and efficiently presented information is more
difficult. The above sites provide excellent portals through which teachers,
parents, and researchers can venture into the online world of William
Abdullah, M. H. (1998). Guidelines for
evaluating web sites. Bloomington, IN: ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading, English,
and Communication. [ED 436 440]
Lu, M.-Y. & Abdullah, M. H. (1999). Hot spots: Picks of language arts web
sites. San Diego, CA: Paper presented at the 44th Annual Meeting of the
International Reading Association.
Lu, M.-Y. (1999). Online resources for K-12 teachers: Children's and
adolescent literature. Bloomington, IN: Clearinghouse on Reading, English, and
Communication. [ED 436 009]
Market Data Retrieval. (2001). The technology in education 2001: Nation's
K-12 schools make major gains in technology. Retrieved May 29, 2002, from