My 12 year old son is a full-time matriculated student at the University of YouTube.
He needs to learn something? He knows where one million Professors are waiting. ...all aiming to teach and entertain with the ingenuity and brevity that draws large, broad audiences. Within limits, this "just-in-time", self-directed access to content and concepts has to bring some good.
My son's generation definitely has it's own pace. Today's Digital Revolution is changing every aspect of our society. Entire industries have been created and dissolved in my lifetime (Blockbuster anyone?)
I find small comfort knowing that this dizzying rate of change has been experienced previously. The Industrial Revolution brought people together in urban settings in a way that made people feel more isolated. The counter-pulse was a return to nature. The National park Movement. The Conservation Movement. (Thank you Audubon Society.) The Arts & Crafts Movement. The Louis Agassiz Nature Study Movement. Our Natural History Museum was one of the first to open in the nation in 1883.
...and here we are again. Today's Digital Revolution is connecting people in ways that can also feel isolating -and again we see a rebirth of the Natural History movement.
Something else my son loves? Our little low-tech Museum. He can see a bear on the computer, but he can have a bear experience (safely!) in the Museum. He holds his hand up to the bear's paw, then raises his hand to his eyes to examine his finger nails. "I need better claws." he declares before running to a case with eggs neatly lined up in a row.
Last year I announced that we were going on a camping trip ...NO electronics allowed. You would have thought that I had cut him off from a safe water source. Complaints and whines all the way until we pitched our tent. During a walk through a forest he had to carefully teeter across a log over a brook. "This is the best day of my life Mom."