It's true that the internet plays a vital role in the lives of the students we teach. Watch Pay Attention or A Vision of K-12 Students Today and the influence of technology becomes even more obvious. Technology provides another means for children to transfer knowledge into something meaningful. It is the 21st Century and our students ARE 21st Century learners. They spend more time gaming, on the computer, watching television, and using Ipods than they do reading. This makes me a little sad, actually.
The technology is amazing, and not only do students understand it, they are deeply motivated by it. Of course, we need to meet our students where they are. Technology provides teachers with the opportunity to do this anytime, anyplace. But, is there a point when it becomes too much? Is there a point when 21st Century learners no longer need to learn the way we old folks did in the 20th Century? Sure, students can learn about ecosystems around the world by instant messaging or skyping with people from other cities and countries. They can take virtual tours of environments that they may never see. They can watch video of animals in their natural habitat. But the best way to experience their own ecosystem is by exploring their own backyard. Technology can and should be used to enhance learning and experiences, but should not replace interactions with the world around us.