One of my students recently reflected, "if I did not have access to the internet for sources that are not available through the text or other books...I would be concerned whether or not I would have enough sources to represent the world in the my assignment."
Clearly, this student is aware of the need to explore multiple perspectives on a global scale. The question I ask is, are we teaching this behaviour or are students learning it by being connected in manners that amaze and frighten us?
The student I have quoted is new to me, and to my school; I will apparently teach this person very little about the importance of global thinking, though I aim to help the entire class improve their critical thinking and inductive/deductive reasoning. How did this young person reach such conclusions about the value of online sources? Was it the work of teachers at the local Junior High School (a highly skilled and effective group of teachers, despite their distaste for web 2.0 in the classroom)? Was it playing online games (you know, the violent and socially distorted kind)? Is the learning a result of wide exposure on Facebook? Most of the students I teach have been connected since they learned to operate a mouse, so maybe I should be thanking parents for guiding their child's learning.
It's a wide open world, more now than ever, and more students entering my classroom with an embedded sense of global perspectives makes my job easier and allows for more time spent on discovery, rather than instruction.