Children of the Internet. How generations change education


woman in white shirt holding black ipad

With each passing year, old textbooks and the old-fashioned approach to learning increasingly discourage students from acquiring school knowledge.

 

In today’s educational institutions, three generations are represented: baby boomers, generation X, Y, and Z. Not surprisingly, this summation can shock those who do not understand the differences in the world’s perception of different generations. After all, conflicts arise at schools, which teachers could have avoided if they knew one generation’s values, educational conditions, and peculiarities. For example, many students now seek help writing college papers not because it’s too hard for them to understand but because they value their time and efforts.

 

What is the essence of the theory of generations? We know that generations are a socio-demographic and cultural-historical community of people united by the boundaries of age and general conditions of formation and functioning in the historical period. The theory of generations emerged in the 1990s of the 20th century. Also, the generation is a totality of all people born in the interval of time of approximately 20 years. Representatives of one generation are similar in these respects:

  • share the same historical era;
  • have certain common beliefs and behaviors;
  • Feel they belong to this generation.
  • It is the difference in values that creates conflicts and misunderstandings between generations. The current educational process can become an arena for war between them. Or it can be directed at explaining the difference between one value and another, the reasons for shaping perceptions and teaching understanding one another already at school age.

Bebi-boomers (born 1946-1963)

The values of the radical baby boomers were shaped by the aftermath of the Second World War, famine, devastation, the end of space, guaranteed free medical care, and uniform educational standards. It is essential to understand that today in state kindergartens and schools, primarily representatives of this generation are educating children. They abide by the rules and laws, respect positions and status, and inspire teamwork and team spirit. Strong organizational loyalty encourages them to commit to their work, even if they don’t like it.

 

Generation X (born 1964-1982)

Representatives of this generation grew up early and became self-motivated because they grew up in families where fathers worked long and hard. They rely primarily on themselves, so they are considered responsible and proactive employees. For generation X, it is essential to have an open perspective. These people grew up talking about achieving success and goals; they are primarily individualists who do not see sense in setting and achieving any collective goals and objectives.

Generation Y (born 1983-2000)

They grew up in the era of digital technology and social networks. They have been traveling since childhood, so they have a broad outlook. Discoveries happen every day in front of their eyes. Nothing is impossible for them. Millennials depend on knowledge, which they find not in books from libraries, but in online resources—constantly learning and trusting information on online services. For this generation, self-fulfillment often comes first, and the homeland comes second. Generation Y representatives will not spend years of their lives to get a better position in one company; they need everything at once. They understand the speed of change in society, so they are happy to change their job to the one they like best rather than spend years proving that they are worth a raise. They expect significant results from work, and therefore they are fully engaged and require constant communication with the management to feel the recognition and effectiveness.

Today’s students refuse to be passive learners.

 

Generation Z (born 2001-2010).

Children of the Internet and modern technology who can quickly process a large amount of information be multitaskers and creative. They did not have a typical childhood “in the yards,” not the team players. They do not like to work for the result; they need a guilt trip for each completed task.

 

How to teach generation Z?

Generation Z is now students in colleges and schools. The problem with many state educational institutions is that teachers do not understand the difference between generations and values and do not understand the need to change the teaching approach. They often try to change students, but they rarely try to understand them or walk in their shoes. They teach the way they were taught, not understanding the gap between educational approaches over a dozen years.

What should be understood when starting the pedagogical process with Generation Z?

Research conducted by Barnes and Noble College shows that today’s students are reluctant to be passive learners. They are not motivated to show up to class, listen to the lecture, and take notes, which they use exclusively for reading.

51% of the students surveyed said they learn best when they actively participate in the process, while only 12% say they learn by listening. Today’s students are thrilled by the classroom discussions and interactive environment, the opportunity to express their views, and feel that their position is heard, accepted, and respected.

Generation Z students find it challenging to learn a subject if they do not understand its need and the practical benefits of future knowledge of the issue. Today’s students are not influenced by “this is the way to do it,” “because the teacher said so,” or “because it will allow them to enter a higher educational institution/get a job. They understand that knowledge may be unnecessary, so they do not want to make a fool of themselves. The teacher must know how the theory and skills will be helpful to the student in practice.

Openness to technology. Students are accustomed to the fact that the computer and smartphone are attributes of learning, so they are attracted to video materials, Internet resources, or social networks in the educational process. However, the lack of technology and the use of only old material from books can harm the student’s interest.

Generation Z commands changes in the educational process. They are a disruptive force in implementing new learning tools and styles and unrestricted access to resources. They are learning, but they are also becoming teachers themselves by creating their information courses. At the same time, when they become teachers, they continue to be students, knowing that the process of learning and re-qualification will never stop for them.

 


Kossi Adzo

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