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Interview: Sherry Turkle on Technology in the College Classroom

by Jeffrey Young

Sherry Turkle Says There’s a Wrong Way to Flip a Classroom.

Sherry Turkle has gone from gracing the cover of Wired magazine for her boosterish views of technology, to a leading tech skeptic, worried about how our smartphones and always-on culture are short-circuiting human communication.

In her most recent book, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, she argues that in our rush for the thrill of texts and tweets, we’re forgetting how to relate to each other in person. Turkle, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studying the impact of technology on society, says the problem is so big and important that she compares it to climate change. “We feel safe in our homes day to day and we usually aren’t thinking about 30 years from now. And in the case of both climate change and conversation, there is the temptation to think that an exception means the problem isn’t real or will go away.”

Her book, available in paperback this month, includes a chapter on how this tech-life imbalance has ripple effects through education. I chatted with Turkle this week for more on her views about digital culture’s role

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