Generation Z were born between 1995 and 2015. They range from 1 year old to 21 years old. In other words, the students we teach in school today are Generation Z. Generation Y, also known as Millennials, range from 21 to 41 years old and represent much of our workforce today.
I know what you're thinking. What will be the next Generation? What comes after Z? I did a little research and found out that the next generation might possibly be called Generation Alpha. I found this information by reading this article and here is a graphic from the site.
Let's take a look at a few facts about Generation Z.
- They have never known a world without Internet and cell phones and they have little or no tolerance for being without digital resources
- They are tech savvy and in constant contact with people 24/7 using Facebook or Twitter
- They want technology that is easy to use and will solve their problems, help coordinate their activities, or provide them with relevant people or information
- Instead of reading an article, they want to watch a video (YouTube) that summarizes it
- They may never send an email: [that is “so yesterday”]. Why email when you can text, instant message, tweet or FaceBook
Perhaps Karen McCullough tells it best in one of her Lessons from the Road videos.
So,what does this mean for us as educators? Well, we can adapt and transform our instructional models to meet the learning styles of this generation. Here are some ideas.
- Fast delivery of content with graphics. They are kinesthetic, experiential, hands-on learners who prefer to learn by doing rather than being told what to do or by reading text. Learning is not a spectator sport.
- Integration of continuous grading, instant feedback, clear goals, rewards, challenges, and positive reinforcement.
- Task switching (multitasking) has given them a short attention span. They may be hard to teach, easily bored and ready to move into the next thing. Due to this, learning needs to be delivered in smaller “bites.”
- Flexibility to learn in the way that works best for them. They need options to choose from, so learning can be personalized. This makes them more reflective and independent learners than other generations.
Are you willing to be the change? To take on Gen Z and give them the type of educational environment they will thrive in?
Just for fun, here is a video that encompasses the best (or worst) of Generation Y also known as Millennials.
As a member of Gen X, I feel the importance to relate to, connect with and appreciate the other Generations of Baby Boomers, Millennials and Gen Z. As an educator, I know the importance of changing instructional delivery and pedagogy to stay current and teach to the students in today's schools.