When Duke University decided to give free iPods to its 2003 incoming freshmen class, a whole slew of critics reproached the university asking why give students an unneeded source of distraction? The results of this experiment were surprisingly positive. By the year’s end, students found very creative ways to use the iPods in their respective disciplines. Environmental science majors used the sound-collecting device to edit interviews for documentaries, while medical students recorded heart beats and detected arrhythmia in some of their patients. In her new book, “Now You See It,” author Cathy Davidson explores the effects of digital tools on our lives. She argues that despite great changes in digital technology, most of us still toil in schools and workplaces designed for the last century. Davidson believes we must adopt groundbreaking innovations like using curriculums built around video games or training workers with virtual environments to open doors to new ways of learning and working. She is optimistic about the future if only we can boldly embrace our ability to use cutting edge technology to connect and collaborate with each other. How do you think digital technology could transform your workplace and do you think these technological innovations can really change the way work and learn?
Cathy Davidson, author of Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn, Professor of English at Duke University since 1996 and Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute since 2006