Teaching iGeneration Requires Innovation To Equip Them For The Future

Why You Should Consider Using Innovation When Teaching iGeneration

While some of the best teaching practices will never change, the tools with which to accomplish them do. In order to understand how to best educate Gen Z, it's important to look at what makes them different from Millennials and Gen Y and what influences have already shaped their budding worldview.

What Makes Gen Z Different?

Gen Z is the first generation to have been born into a connected world. While Millennials often had to learn to use a computer, younger members of Gen Z may be as comfortable talking to a digital assistant as they are to a human. Many may have started using electronics almost as soon as they could walk.

These students grew up in a world of social media where their digital relationships may be or seem to be almost as real as their personal relationships. Where young people may have once talked to their grandparents and extended family on the phone, Gen Z will follow them on social media and vice-versa.

Gen Z is poised to produce an educated crop of industrious, entrepreneurial leaders who are eager to build a better planet.

While the most popular leadership model for past generations may have been a top-down, "chain-of-command" style of leadership, Gen Z shows a strong preference for a more collaborative style. They also pay less attention to gender roles and are just as likely to follow a female leader as a male.

Girls are also just as likely to envision themselves growing up to be a CEO or play football as boys are, while boys are becoming far more comfortable with the idea of staying home and raising children while their CEO wife is at work.

Teaching Generation Z

To keep Gen Z engaged, classrooms need a makeover. New technology is already being implemented in classrooms to accommodate their learning style.

1. Experiential And Immersive Learning

Gen Z is not interested in just showing up for class, sitting through a lecture, or reading a book that they will take a test on later. Remember that Gen Z kids are being raised by Millennials who are more interested in experiences than things.

A Millennial is more likely to spend money on a once-in-a-lifetime trip than a luxury car—unless they can afford both.

Similarly, their children are interested in hands-on or immersive learning, and technology is paving the way for this. Gone are the days of regular boards—an increasing number of colleges is now utilizing Smart Boards and other tech solutions for interactive learning. Equipping classrooms with tech that enables this will keep them engaged through all lessons.

2. Virtual Learning And Smart Solutions

Rather than simply looking at a book with pictures of the White House, Virtual Reality is poised to give them a full 3D tour of the historic monument itself. Rather than choosing study partners from their own classroom, digital tools such as Skype and other conference and chat tools means that soon their study partner might as easily be in Japan or Russia as in their own classroom.

3. Individually Paced Learning

Gen Z is also more interested in learning at their own pace—which might be faster than any generation before it. In the past, most information came from books. Books often take years to compile and publish, which meant information was several years out of date by the time it was taught.

Everyone is taught the same things at the same pace—and this doesn’t work for Gen Z.

The internet generation has access to literally up-to-the-minute information. They use their phones and apps that help them find, research, and save relevant information they need for each class. Instead of having to systematically learn a series of processes, they want bite-sized chunks of relevant information that they will easily memorize. This is also why the individual aspect of learning is so important to Gen Z.

And they also want their voices to be heard. Utilizing audience response systems in classes will tell you exactly what they think about lessons, and help you make the experience more streamlined and useful to them.

Final Thought

Teaching Gen Z may not be as much about teaching them what they need to know as much as it is supervising their own education. Education may also be more about helping them process the massive overload of information they have available to them rather than being the only means of information.

While Generation Z has access to more information than any other generation, that doesn't mean they aren't just as in need of mentors to help them navigate through life. That may be the primary role of next-generation educators.