Mind, Brain, and Education in the Digital Era


Kurt W. Fischer, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Larsen Hall 702, Appian Way, Cambridge, MA 02138; e-mail: kurt_fischer@harvard.edu.


Computers are everywhere, and they are transforming the human world. The technology of computers and the Internet is radically changing the ways that people learn and communicate. In the midst of this technology-driven revolution people need to examine the changes to analyze how they are altering interaction and human culture. The changes have already permeated societies around the world, altering learning, teaching, communication, politics, and most aspects of human interaction. The possibilities for improving educational effectiveness seem powerful, as a result of an information revolution with online access to infinite information and numerous teaching and learning activities of adults and children at school, at home, and in public places. An urgent need is for systematic longitudinal studies of what happens with learning and teaching as people use computers and play with the Internet. Perhaps the new technologies make possible a new kind of constructive dialogue, with intertwining of teaching and learning in a dynamic double helix of questions and answers, of modeling and experimentation. This special section will deal with (1) uses of new technologies to help people teach and learn more effectively, (2) uses of individual laptops to help children learn, (3) creation of new tools for learning and assessment, and (4) techniques that image brain structure and activity.