In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section The Digital Age Teacher

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Information Sources
  • Journals
  • The Digital Age
  • Learners and Learning
  • Digital Age Teachers
  • Teachers’ Use of Digital Technologies
  • Teacher Decision Making
  • Evaluating Learning

Education The Digital Age Teacher
Louise Starkey
  • LAST REVIEWED: 29 July 2020
  • LAST MODIFIED: 24 July 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0002


The digital age began at the time that digital technologies were introduced into society. The defining feature of a digital age is how people organize their lives, communicate, learn, and society functions to some extent through the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), analytical programs, the Internet, social media, and digital devices. Schools, teachers, and students exist within this changing context. As such, teaching within the digital age is an emerging and multifaceted area of research. How teachers learn to teach within this context and how teachers and students use digital technologies have been studied and reported in the literature. The digital age teacher teaches using available technologies and resources they believe will develop the knowledge and skill base of the next generation and that meets professional obligations. Teacher beliefs, knowledge, skills, access to resources, and the context in which they teach underpin the decisions they make. Research that explores how teachers make pedagogical decisions in the digital age has two overlapping strands: one that focuses on decisions about the use of digital technologies and the other that focuses on teacher decisions within a digital age. The knowledge and skills that the digital teacher requires to integrate digital technologies successfully into their teaching practice have been proposed and developed into frameworks within the research literature. This research is usually underpinned by notions of knowledge and learning that predate the digital age, as the implications of a digitally enhanced society on pedagogical theories are simultaneously researched and debated. This evolving epistemology makes evaluation of digital age teaching and learning problematic as comparative studies commonly focus on successful outcomes that were developed prior to the digital age.

General Overviews

General texts are available that discuss different aspects of the digital age teacher and the context in which they teach. Some texts focus on specific aspects of teaching or learning within a digital age such as Lankshear and Knobel 2008, which provides an overview of digital literacy. Another focus of texts is to give an overview of digital technologies that are available and how these can be used by teachers. For example, Richardson 2010 guides teacher practitioners on the use of Web 2.0 tools in their learning program. A third focus of texts is the wider context of teaching, learning, schooling, and knowledge in a digital age. Three examples are included in this bibliography. Gilbert 2005 considers what is meant by a knowledge society at a time in which the Internet provides enhanced access to information. Starkey 2012 considers teaching and learning within the context of a digital age, and Selwyn 2011 critiques policies, rhetoric, and debate about the use of digital technologies within schooling.

  • Gilbert, Jane. 2005. Catching the knowledge wave? The knowledge society and the future of education. Wellington, New Zealand: NZCER.

    This book was written in response to the rhetoric of a “knowledge society” at the start of the century. It considers the concept of knowledge and the implications for schooling and education.

  • Lankshear, Colin, and Michele Knobel, eds. 2008. Digital literacies: Concepts, policies and practices. New York: Lang.

    This edited book explores digital literacy as a plural phenomenon through a sociocultural approach to understanding. The chapters integrate research from across disciplines, which together demonstrate the diversity that exists among concepts of digital literacy within the field of education.

  • Richardson, Will. 2010. Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful tools for classrooms. 3d ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

    This book is a practical text for the digital teacher that explains why social media tools should be used within teaching. It gives examples and explains how to use the tools within classroom teaching.

  • Selwyn, Neil. 2011. Schools and schooling in the digital age: A critical analysis. London: Routledge.

    This text provides a critical analysis of the debates, expectations and use of digital technologies in schools. The use of digital technologies as a vehicle to engineer educational change is questioned, and the author calls for wider awareness of the context of schooling in the digital age.

  • Starkey, Louise. 2012. Teaching and learning in the digital age. New York: Routledge.

    This book provides an overview of teaching and learning within a digital age context. Theories of learning are explored, and the implications of the digital age on teaching and learning are considered. Examples of teaching and learning that could occur within schooling in the digital age are included.

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