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There is probably next to no people there who haven’t heard about Millennials, but as attention seeking as they might have been, they are old news. Sociologists and generational experts are spreading the new name: Generation Z.
Generation Z has arrived at the stage and demands to be heard and seen. This new generation is quite young, yet it feels like already they are setting up their own rules. Teachers and educators throughout the world are seeking answers to what kind of students they are and if there are any challenges that these Z students are bringing to the table.
It seems like there are certain complexities of teaching such students that need to be addressed.
Let us look at the complexities of Generation Z in education, and what can be done to enhance their learning.
Problem of Writing Tasks and Essays
As most of Gen Z, or Centennials, at the moment are students of some kind, their new patterns in behavior are most noticeable in the way they learn and study. The fact that they share their qualities globally, without geographical limitations also makes it easier to address the changes they bring to the class.
The biggest such challenge is, perhaps, Generation Z’s difficulty with perusing textbooks as a primary source of learning. Heavy tomes with no quick search for answers are not what they treat as a reference and this produces a controversy when writing papers.
It is a given that Centennials will write papers on their computers, as going paperless is not a goal for them, but a norm; yet that is not the biggest problem with essays and other types of such assignments. Born into a world of lightning-fast answers and super-speedy internet, sitting down and writing an essay on their own might not come naturally to them.
And while most of Generation Z children are going to be struggling with a proper use of library sources, teachers around the world are looking for ways to make sure that their students are not simply copying the materials from the internet.
One such tool is Unicheck, a similarity checker for helping teacher check essays or any written tasks. It can recognize properly formatted citations and references. This tool serves as a motivation for students to learn to use online libraries and write papers using their own ideas and words, instead of just going for the fast and easy answers online.
Difficulty of Textbooks and Boredom
While on the topic of books, it is crucial to highlight the fact that paper books are not the best materials when teaching students of Generation Z. It would seem like their brains are wired slightly different from previous generations, and thus the best way to learn for them is from the e-book.
Yet, considering the fact that Centennials have the shortest attention span of just 8 seconds, and are easily distracted and bored, it seems regular textbooks would not do the trick and hold their attention for long.
Centennials, on average, are good multitaskers. They are also very social media oriented, and their constant presence online can be used as a stimulus for their studying. The way to combine both of the strengths is to introduce interactive textbooks in classrooms.
Among many companies now developing systems of interactive materials for students of all ages, the most popular by far is TOP HAT. Textbooks and other interactive activities like student-teacher questions are available directly through smartphones, which ticks all of the above factors.
Issue of Teacher-Student Relationship
One more difficulty with teaching iGen is their tendency to hold in high regard those people whom they have seen reaching a level of success, online or otherwise. This creates an obstacle for teachers, as students get inspired by leaders they have seen on social media, and thus may pass their teachers in that regard.
It is estimated that iGen children and adolescents spend at least one hour online a day watching educational/instructive videos. It would appear that video-learning is taking a much bigger part in the educational process nowadays, and such independence and self-reliance of Generation Z students can help educators to focus their attention and to help them learn more difficult notions and concepts.
Teachers who have launched their video channels online are finding success with their students, as it gives Centennials more opportunities to learn through the medium they find the most preferable.
Creating video lessons is the best answer to these complexities of iGen. There is a multitude of video editing tools and they differ in the terms of functionality, price, and interface. Among those most recommended for teachers is Filmora Video Editor. It has the best reputation for being both easy to use and providing enough tools to make compelling videos.
Future Impact of Generation Z
Scientists and researchers roughly use a time period characteristic, establishing a 20-year long slot as mark-ups for one generation to end and the other one to emerge. More accurate, if not as a precise attribute of a new generation is predictability of their behavior; once the behavioral patterns change, the dawn of a new generation is predicated.
Generation Z, also known as iGen, Gen Z, or Centennials, has shown major shifts in behavioral patterns and thus defined itself as a new fold in the history of humanity.
Generation Z is still shaping and forming itself and we would have to wait and see all their potential, as well as all weaknesses and strengths they will possess, and the impact they will have on each sphere of life, including education.