It occurred to Dunne, the head of community affairs at Google, that his son was thinking in "search," asking for his father to find the photo on the Internet. Younger generations see the world in a fundamentally different way than older ones because of the enormous amount of information that is now available through the Internet and its search engines, leading to necessary adaptations in education, Dunne said.
In the lecture, Dunne, who previously served as the associate director of the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy, discussed the evolution of trends in education and the changing role of libraries due to technological advances.
The amount of information available to the world is growing exponentially, evidenced by the fact that there are 2.5 billion Internet users, 5 billion Google searches per day and 3 million emails sent per day, Dunne said. "Cloud computing," which allows data to be stored and accessed through the Internet, has made the amount of storage available almost infinite. This phenomenon has reduced the cost of computers and hardware, ultimately allowing wider access to technology.
"A young boy today in Africa with a very inexpensive secondhand smartphone has access to more information than Ronald Reagan as president had throughout his entire administration," he said.
Dunne showed a photo of the most recent papal procession compared with the one before to illustrate a fundamental change in the way people communicate because of their ability to have real-time conversations and stream content online. The more recent photo showed a huge increase in the number of people documenting the event with a smartphone or tablet in hand.
The ease and freedom of publishing information on the Internet without restriction has made it more difficult to differentiate between experts and amateurs, Dunne said. Classroom dynamics have also changed, as students can look up information their teachers are sharing instantly. Since students can now access information more quickly than their teachers, the role of the teacher as simply a fact reciter has also changed.
This trend has implications in education because teachers must now instruct students on how to analyze vast online resources, Dunne said. In the future, 10 percent of teaching should be based on facts and 90 percent should be based on students' ability to quickly filter through available information to discern between what is trustworthy and what is not, Dunne said.
Libraries' roles have evolved but are still important in the technological age. Having a safe physical space for dialogue or to quietly learn on one's own is still vitally important, Dunne said.
Google researchers found that it is critical for a team of Google engineers to work not only in the same city or the same building but on the same floor to create synergy within the group, Dunne said. He said the results show the value of consolidated physical space for student interaction, which is embodied by the library. Libraries have the responsibility to deliver new technology to the community and they must provide effective spaces for people to interact or enjoy solitude.
"Libraries have always been more than just a repository of books," he said.
He noted that there will always be an income gap in access to technology and libraries play a vital role in making technology widely available.
Dean of libraries Jeffrey Horrell said Dartmouth's library system does a good job of keeping up with new technologies and provides a number of different spaces for student interaction.
"We're very competitive in terms of other institutions, our peers, but we also work collaboratively," Horrell said. "I think our library system has a whole variety of microenvironments if you want to be by yourself in the quiet in the Tower Room of Baker or you want to see and be seen in the first floor of Berry."
Jonathan Huang '17 attended the lecture and said he enjoyed Dunne's approach.
"He put into perspective the direction that technology is going in terms of education," he said.
The lecture, "Google and Learning in the Digital Age," was held in Filene Auditorium on Tuesday.