Our Digital Age: implications for learning and its (online) institutions (HASTAC)

Our Digital Age: implications for learning and its (online) institutions
CATHY N. DAVIDSON, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University, Durham, USA 
DAVID THEO GOLDBERG, University of California Humanities Research Institute, Irvine, USA

HASTAC co-founders Cathy N. Davidson and David Theo Goldberg have co-authored an article that was published in the most recent volume of E-Learning and Digital Media. The article is entitled “Our Digital Age: implications for learning and its (online) institutions”.


Over the past two decades, the way we learn has changed dramatically. We have new sources of information and new ways to exchange and to interact with information. But our schools and the way we teach have remained largely the same for years, even centuries. What happens to traditional educational institutions when learning also takes place on a vast range of Internet sites, from Pokemon Web pages to Wikipedia? This chapter, excerpted from our book, The Future of Thinking, does not promote change for the sake of change. Implicit in its sincere plea for transformation is an awareness that the current situation needs improvement. In advocating change for learning institutions, this chapter makes assumptions about the deep structure of learning, about cognition, about the way youth today learn about their world in informal settings, and about a mismatch between the excitement generated by informal learning and the routinization of learning common to many of our institutions of formal education. It advocates institutional change because our current formal educational institutions are not taking enough advantage of the modes of digital and participatory learning available to students today.