5 facts about Gen Z learners that educators need to know

Meet Generation Z students where they are, not where you think they should be

If we, as educators, are not adapting our curriculum and instruction to be in step with what our students expect, then we are performing a gross disservice to them.

In this post we'll look at 5 facts about Generation Z students and what they mean for teachers, administrators and other educational leaders.

Today's learners of Generation Z are far different from even their immediate predecessors, Millenials. As such, the way to educate today's learners must change. 

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These five facts about Generation Z are critical to help educators meet their students expectations and keep them engaged throughout their educational journey:

  1. They view technology as a given, not as a reward or piece of equipment. It is a necessity
    • What it means for educators: It means you must utilize technology within your school and classrooms. If you are not currently doing so, you must begin. If you have incorporated technology into your curriculum it's helpful, at times, to evaluate if you have the right solutions in place to engage students and produce the best outcomes possible.
  2. Gen Z spends less time than any others in human history using conversation to communicate
    • What it means for educators: Old school, face to face communication isn't dead, but it's not what today's students prefer. Utilize technology to engage with your students via your Learning Management System or other type of digital learning environment. Email sure, but social networks (Instagram, Twitter) and chat programs (SnapChat, Yik Yak, WhatsApp and ooVoo) are absolutely essential to connecting with them. Chances are they are already interacting with each other on these platforms already.
  3. Their attention span is shorter (8 sec) than previous generations (12 sec)
    • What it means for educators: Your curriculum must be engaging! There are countless resources, both traditional and digital, available to educational leaders and teachers today. Find those that have proven results and use them in your classrooms. Better yet, if you have an LMS that can integrate with outside resources, you can bring in any resource you find helpful and use it in your curriculum. There are no limits to what you can incorporate. Just make sure it will grab and hold your students attention.
  4. Their creativity and curiosity must be harnessed
    • What it means for educators: First and foremost teachers and educational leaders need to model creativity themselves for their students. Creating a classroom environment that encourages creativity, risk-taking and failure can go long way towards cultivating that behavior in their students. Teachers can design and set up their classrooms differently. They can get the students outdoors and go on field trips to expose their students to what is outside of the classroom to get creative juices flowing for life.
  5. They are more collaborative and less competitive than their predecessors 
    • What it means for educators: Much like corporations, schools and districts must supply technology and instruction that feeds their students desire for collaboration with their peers. Formative assessments like 'Think, Pair, Share" allows students time to think on their own and then work through concepts and idea with partners. Learning Management Systems that allow groups students together within classes for assignment work and review will help grow and develop your students team work skills.

Want to know more about how to meet the needs of your current and future students?

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Matt Phillip Senior Marketing Manager at Thrivist, LLC