A few weeks ago there was an excellent article in the Globe and Mail called "The Class of 2012: Mr. Google's Children" that followed a group of students in Toronto as they moved towards their high-school graduation last spring to where they are now (I'd link to it, but you know the way that newspaper and I feel about each other). One of the quotes from the article that stuck with me was from Julien Hernandez who said:
"I'm learning to play the guitar right now off of YouTube. I can look up anything and in a few minutes know more about any subject than my teacher does. Why should I listen to them?"
Similarly, The Wired Campus reports that students who are listening to recorded university and college lectures online are speeding them up so that they can get through the material faster (found via Smart Mobs).
While I chose to major in English at University, I could have majored in anything and written my papers on anything. What matters was that I was learning to write and think critically.I also learned how to absorb new information, and use it accordingly.
I like to think that Julian Hernandez and the students fast-forwarding through lectures are ahead of the game, in that they have learned to learn more efficiently. I also hope that the teachers of today are teaching students to not just go to Google for answers, but to actually think about what those answers are and question them.
Someone once suggested having a student (of almost any age) unofficially monitor and look after a Wikipedia page. Not only will they learn about the way people interact and create content online, but they'll learn about a specific subject area and will learn to research information that has been added to the page and ensure that it is correct.