One of the conversations developing in cyberspace is the need to address "the new liberal arts", what it is to be socially, culturally, spiritually aware in the 21st century. As I have tried to follow this dialogue I have begun to sense the very strong need by young people for relevance. Young people spend vast portions of their lives in places that don't exist, but yet do. In these places they are not constrained by physics as we know them, nor by the need for mutual self interest. Part of their cognitive schema, what they know and how they know it, has been acquired through the filter of their avatar when "in world". The real world can be a very dissonant place them when off line.
My fear is, as institutions, as educators, if we resist this dialogue we will lose our opportunity to guide this process. The disruptive change of technology presents us with deep generational issues and as a result the relationship between the past and the present has become fraught with ambiguity. Presently, as educators / technologists .... citizens, one of our principal tasks is to facilitate the difficult task of managing change and making the world (virtual and real) a better place.