Panelists at a Harvard University discussion on Nov. 18 agreed that while modern technology can enhance education, it often creates distractions in the classroom, reports the Daily Free Press of Boston University. The lecture, "No More Teachers? No More Books? Higher Education in the Networked Age," featured guest speakers from colleges, universities, and the IT industry, who discussed how technology and new media are affecting education. MIT professor Sherry Turkle said technology-based multitasking can hinder the learning process. She also said students need to be in control of distractions to absorb what they are taught in the classroom. "When students text in class and keep laptops open, they learn less," she said. Harvard Library Director Robert Darnton said he believes society is suffering from an overload of information, leading to tremendous confusion. "We haven’t got it solved yet," Darnton said. "We need guidance, and teachers will make all the difference in attempting to navigate this confusing world."  Suffolk University lecturer Mitchell Weisberg agreed, saying: "Students risk acting on lower-quality information. Google prioritizes by social vetting, and students depend on fact-delivered information as vetted on academic and intellectual expertise." While Darnton expressed concern that the internet is causing people to read "in short chunks, not cover-to-cover," Berkman fellow David Weinberger countered that books can be a disconnected, hard-to-follow medium, while internet hyperlinks are based on connectivity, which can actually help the education process…

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