Other organizations, such as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, are funding projects to analyze how growing up in the Information Age has changed the ways today’s youth view, use, and interact with technology in order to develop new methods of capitalizing on technological tools as academic resources.
An independent funding organization, the MacArthur Foundation has launched a $50 million digital media and learning initiative to investigate the role and impact of digital technology in the lives of young people.
“Let us be clear: we do not believe that digital media tools will replace the book, paper and pen, face-to-face interaction, or all the other ways that we socialize, learn, and communicate not anytime soon,” says Jonathan Fanton, president of the MacArthur Foundation. “But they are taking their place alongside these other means and modes of learning and communication. MacArthur’s new initiative aims to help all of us understand the possible shape and consequences of these changes.”
H&SS joined the digital humanities research community in 2007 when it launched The Humanities Center at Rensselaer, a research center that seeks to identify ways in which the humanities can form more constructive partnerships with science and technology in the 21st century.
“The Humanities Center is dedicated to capitalizing on the opportunities brought to humanities disciplines by digital tools for research and communication,” says Harrington.
“Today we have immediate electronic access to nearly anything we might need in hard copy and even some additional resources that only exist in the digital domain. And the Internet is just one of many electronic mediums that are shaping the future of the humanities.”
The center provides a network to help faculty members make connections with people and places outside the Institute, and Harrington says it has potential to become a future conduit for research grants, as well as an entity that brings external fellows to campus.