Still, schools cannot wall students off from the technologies and media that amplify both the best and the worst the 21st century has to offer. They face an important challenge: How do they help students use technology and new media responsibly? How do they acknowledge and incorporate 21st-century influences while promoting the value of a long intellectual tradition? How do they use that tradition to prepare students for the challenges they’ll face in the coming decades—some timeless and some quite new?
It’s certainly risky to treat the 21st-century as if it required an entirely new set of rules. Such thinking can deaden us to centuries of human achievement. But we shouldn’t dismiss all the 21st-century talk as mere rhetoric. In fact, such talk offers advocates for the liberal arts an important opportunity to stress their relevance in trying times.
It isn't that hard to hold both ideas in your head at the same time.