Engaging Generation Z Students


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Learning Outcomes for this Session

A new generation of students (Generation Z) born after 1995 are arriving on our college campuses. What makes them unique?  What are the best ways to motivate them?

Today we will work focus on:
  1.   The characteristic differences between the generations we see in the workplace and in the classroom.
  2.   The characteristics of Generation Z students.
  3.   Consider appropriate learning strategies to use to motivate Generation Z students.

Back Channel Chat  

Giving every student a voice in the classroom

 Who are the faculty and who are the students in 2015?

Who are you…

The Silent Generation: born between 1927 - 1945
The Baby Boomers:  born between 1946 - 1964
The Xers or Generation X : born between 1965-1980
The Nexters; Millennials; Gen-Y; Next Generation:  born 1981 - 1995
Generation Z: born after 1995

Find your group & answer ….

  • In an intergenerational workplace, interpersonal strategies must change.  How will younger colleagues affect your work style?  What new strategies might you implement?

  • In the next 10 - 20 years with the retirement of the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers, and increase in the Millenial, Y, and Z Generations who will be in charge? 

  • With the change of upper administration, higher education institutions will change.   What does this mean for the future of your department, your campus, your students?

   21st Century Skills…

What skills do faculty need today to build an effective learning environment for students:

  • Technical skills
  • Conceptual skills
  • Interpersonal skills

Reward Systems

The Silent Generation: values being acknowledged for what they know as well as what they do
The Baby Boomers:  feel valued when they are rewarded in ways that enhance their future security, i.e., future promotions or raises
The Xers or Generation X: value external recognition such as gift cards, award, ceremonies.
The Nexters; Millennials; Gen-Y; Next Generation:  values rewards that offer more autonomy and freedom, such as flexible work hours, working from home, online and hybrid approaches to working and learning.
Generation Z: need rewards that are changed frequently to meet changing expectations and demands.

Work Styles

The Silent Generation: is most interested in working to get the job done, regardless of personal sacrifice.  They are dedicated workers.
The Baby Boomers:  like to process, discuss, and collaborate on various work projects and issues toward specific solutions.
The Xers or Generation X: are more self-reliant.  They prefer working solo.  "Just do it!" is their mantra.
The Nexters; Millennials; Gen-Y; Next Generation:  craves a very balanced work-life approach.
Generation Z: stays connected all the time.  Adopts technology at high levels and pushes others to do the same.  Approaches all aspects of life from a global and visual perspective.

Learning Preferences

The Silent Generation: wants to be asked to provide professional development, to teach.
The Baby Boomers:  flourishes in coaching and mentoring situations.
The Xers or Generation X: are looking for opportunities for alternative learning activities such as independent research and online skill-building.
The Nexters; Millennials; Gen-Y; Next Generation: believe 2-way learning experiences are valuable.  Not only do they want to learn from the instructor, but the instructor should be willing to learn from them, as well.  This is a vital component to building strong relationships with this generation.
Generation Z: craves regular and technology-enhanced learning opportunities. Looks for educational opportunities that use visually enhanced methods of teaching.

Attitudes toward Authority

The Silent Generation: has unconditional respect for authority.
The Baby Boomers: believe respect must be earned to receive and to keep.
The Xers or Generation X: has respect for authority, but wants a less formalized relationship with authority figures.  Enjoys being on a first name basis with colleagues.
The Nexters; Millennials; Gen-Y; Next Generation:  is not opposed to respecting authority, but questions why it should be unconditional and automatic.  Not afraid to ask for what they (and others) value in the workplace.
Generation Z: is high maintenance and wants high intensity in relationships with those in authority, as well as co-workers.

Special Interests

The Silent Generation: want to feel needed.  They are patient and loyal and expect loyalty in return.
The Baby Boomers:  look for future security rewards.
The Xers or Generation X: are most likely to excel at multi-taking.
The Nexters; Millennials; Gen-Y; Next Generation:  is amazingly optimistic.  "We can do this!"  Sometimes this is detrimental to achieving success in the workplace.
Generation Z: thrives on opportunity.  Guide them in how to achieve their goals.  They want to participate in the journey!

Characteristics of  Generation Z "Homelanders"

The Shifts This New Generation Will Bring…

1. While Generation Y spent money boldly and with few boundaries, 57% of Generation Z prefers saving money to spending it.  They are most concerned about the cost of higher education.

2. While Generation Y spent loads of time at the mall, Generation Z prefers shopping online for almost all their purchases.

3. While Generation Y grew up during a strong economy, Generation Z is growing up in a time of recession, terrorism, violence, volatility, and complexity.

4. While Generation Y subscribed to everything social, Generation Z doesn’t want to be tracked, preferring Snapchat, Secret, or Whisper to communicate.

5. While Generation Y watched YouTube, Hulu and Netflix, Generation Z wants to co-create, live stream, and help to make up the activity as they participate.

6. While Generation Y loved sports and adventure, Generation Z sees sports as a health tool, not for play. Their games are inside. Teen obesity has tripled since 1970. 

7. While Generation Y grew up with slightly longer attention spans, Generation Z decides to pay attention within 8 seconds of exposure to a video or to other learning materials. Approximately 11% fo Generation Z have experienced a diagnosis of ADHD.

8. While Generation Y initiated text messages as a norm, Generation Z prefers communicating through images, icons and symbols.

9. While Generation Y worried about their growing social status and their “likes” on social media, Generation Z worries about the economy and world ecology.

10. While Generation Y enjoyed a life that revolved around them, Generation Z plans on coping with multi-generational households and marriages (400% increase).

- Source: http://growingleaders.com/blog/generation-z-differs-generation-y/#sthash.8G5VcesC.dpuf

Learning Styles for Generation Z Students
Blurring the lines of technology with learning styles

  • Generation Z students are digital integrators
  • Simplicity and flexibility are vital
  • Open-book environment - consumers of information
  • Connected to a borderless world
  • Communicate is primarily brief
  • Visuals and videos are most often the norm
  • Student-centric schools will get the most enrollments (teaching and learning is designed to accommodate the needs of the student)
  • Online learning is imperative allows for flexible learning and flexible attendance.
  • Distractions are welcome  - spaces are implicit to the curriculum and should support the educational journey.
  • Content is everyone - flipping the classroom learning provides essential engagement.
  • Teachers must communicate in new ways with language that engages and communicates content to the student in understandable ways.
  • Students write and communicate in new ways with new syntax using multi-modal approaches.

The Anatomy of the Modern Online Course to Meet the Needs of New Generations of Students

Teaching with Twitter example

Abe's Last Ride - Dr. Ken Owens

Using Mobile Technology to engage students effectively

Examples of Professors Deploying Mobile Learning Effectively in the Classroom

1.  Create a twitter post about your class.  Post in Today'sMeet  https://todaysmeet.com/GCFaculty2015

2.  Discuss with your group strategies you can use to effectively engage these students. 
      Post in Today'sMeet  https://todaysmeet.com/GCFaculty2015 the three best strategies your group comes up with.

3.  What do you anticipate that you will learn from Generation Z? 
      Post in Today'sMeet  https://todaysmeet.com/GCFaculty2015

Recap of Generation Z Characteristics:

1.  Saves money
2.  Shops online
3.  Grew up in a time of soft economy, uncertainty, terrorism (post-911)
4.  Sports/activities are for health, not games.  Their games are inside on devices. (Think Fitbit)
5.  Attention span is 8 seconds!
6.  They prefer to communicate using icons, imagery, and symbols.
7.  Worries more about the economy and ecology than how many "likes" they have on social media.
8.  Prefers social media where they are not "tracked" like SnapChat, Whisper, etc.
9.  Likes active participation approach to video and media - livestreaming versus YouTube.
10. Will copes with multi-generational households.
11.  Parents are Gen-Xers.
12.  Will be the last generation in the U.S. with a Caucasian majority.
13.  Very tech-savvy.  They do not remember a world without Smartphones!  Smartshirts will be common in a few short years.
14.  Google it!  Use 140 characters to express a thought!  Instant gratification.
15.  Trust the endorsements of friends and families more than advertisements and marketing techniques.
16.  Headed toward careers that do not yet exit.
17.  Most believe their standard of living will be lower than their parents.
18.  Physically inactive (1/3 of teens are obese) and have lower life expectancies than their parents.
19.  Most pressing need is for immediate response - whether it is feedback in a class, answer to a question, or their most recent tweet.
20. Less skilled at interpersonal face-to-face interactions and networking.

Final thoughts:

  • Generation Z students don't want you to use technology in ways that are not meaningful or central to their lives.  They want to see that you can incorporate technology or acknowledge technology in ways that make you think differently and consume information differently.
  • Generation Z students use technology to solve problems, help them think deeply about issues related to economy and ecology, and want to participate through the use of technology to provide answers for world issues.
  • Generation Z students connect with movies such as the Hunger Games where kids are expendable and not central to the world around them. 
  • Generation Z students most say they would like to attend college for the social connections and network.  Not for the vocational skills or credential they may receive - there are many choices for degrees. 
  • Generation Z students are already connecting with people around the world online, using devices to play games, find materials, read, and consume information.  
  • Generation Z students want to shape their own journey with you as a guide.

Predictions for changes to the university in the next 5 years.

What can Greenville College do to reach out to Generation Z students in ways that are unique?
What can Greenville College do to speak to their needs?
What can Greenville College do to engage Generation Z students in ways in which they think?

Contact Information

Dr. Vickie Cook
Director of the Center for for Online Learning, Research and Service
University of Illinois Springfield