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Generation Z are those who are born in the late 90s to about 2010. And as you can expect, most of them have already gone to universities. But these generations are unlike their predecessors – they revolutionise the way learning takes place in higher education. Notably, these differences go beyond just a greater dependence on technology.
While I believe part of our teaching is to prepare students to enter the adult world, which includes routines and hard work, there are a number of ways on how to engage them. And by doing this, we can ensure their learning.
Make teaching more meaningful
Dennis Relojo-Howell, the world’s first blog psychologist who is also an education advocate, explains that it is important to infuse meaning to your lessons: ‘This can be achieved when students are offered the opportunity to link their classroom activities to real-life experiences. It is important to bear this principle in mind, especially with rigorous content. You might want to adopt innovative activities such as storytelling, arts, graphics, and mnemonics. Meaningful content should also follow meaningful assessments.’
Deliver quick feedback
Generation Z have been exposed to the world of the internet, social media, and life-changing technologies. Therefore, they expect most things to be instant. Generation Z thrives at a faster pace of classroom, practice, rehearsal, and career advancement that provides rapid feedback for meeting certain benchmarks.
This generation has been exposed to the digital way of life more than any other generation. Beginning at a young age, if they did not know an answer to a question, they were taught to ‘Google it’ or, even better, ‘ask Siri’. As our technology quickly evolves, the things that were once considered groundbreaking advances to other generations are taken for granted by them.
For Generation Z, a smartphone is not a piece of ‘technology’. Instead, it is simply part of life. Teens today are not amazed by the latest iPhone because they expect the functionality and ease of use it delivers. You can capitalise on these technologies in delivering your lessons.
Generation Z will learn more effectively if they are left to solve problems and find solutions, says Mike from Using Technology Better. ‘All of their gaming experience has centred around solving problems so that they can progress to a greater problem. When a student sees the progress they are making they become addicted to success. They will continue to work at a level of a game for a long time because they realise that each time they fail they have just learnt one more strategy and at least know what won’t work.’
Have a dynamic classroom environment
Generation Z are multitaskers, so you can incorporate pictures, sounds, video into all your teaching activities. You can have listening, drawing, and speaking activities at the same time. You can also show them films. For example, if you are teaching psychology, you can show them psychology films to demonstrate psychological concepts.
These are the generation who have reduced attention span, so by making your classroom environment as dynamic as possible you can capture their attention and interest.
After all the talk about tech-savvy generations, teachers are advised not to throw away all the traditional methods in favour of the new technology-based teaching strategies. The most practical way to look at this is for teachers to innovate, technify, and change within reason.
Rona dela Rosa is the content manager of Psychreg. She is an Associate Professor at the Polytechnic College of the City of Meycauyan.