I am writing a blog series about my personal perspectives as a Master’s student on the role that technology plays in Education. Click here for Part I, II or III.

Gen Y and Z – the Students of Tomorrow

We live in times where our moments are defined by Facebook likes, Instagram stories, Snapchat memories, YouTube uploads, Pinterest pins, purchases on Amazon and Google searches. We are accustomed to send, receive, connect and engage constantly anytime we want and need, at the cost of a few clicks (or taps).

How does this translate in an education environment where you need to engage millennials today and Generation Z tomorrow? G-Z (roughly those born after 1998) will be the first one to be fully born and bred in the Cloud, whether is Google’s, Amazon’s or Microsoft’s. For them, interacting in new ways is not an expectation, it’s a given.

The studies

The point here isn’t so much about the omnipresence of technology, but about easy access to information. According to a Pew Research report ‘Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015‘, 92% of teens report going online daily. Along similar lines, while G-Z still reads traditional printed books, they’re just as likely to download a book from Kindle or to access textbooks from school-supplied iPads. Being accustomed to using all these applications instantaneously in my day to day life, when I find badly designed systems in school I feel disappointed and frustrated; my expectations are not met. In a recent Piper Jaffray study, ‘Taking Stock with Teens,’ it was found that ‘Instagram and Twitter are the two most-used social media sites, implying teens are increasingly visual and sound-bite communicators.’ Now that they have the digital tools to create their own media based on their shared experiences and purchases, ‘this generation of teens is moving beyond media that is fed to them,’ says Steph Wissink, co-director of research and a senior research analyst with Piper Jaffray.

New ways of learning can be adapted to the expectations that younger generations have of technology: give them shareable content and tools to empower them to create, send, receive, connect and engage constantly, anytime they want and need.

Speak to G – Z in bursts of communication that they can easily share with others. Use symbols, video and graphics to complement the story such as Sway or Video and then use Stream to share their results. Students decide to study at very different times of the day, so use Yammer to drive an open conversation and provide an easy-to-access forum for a module’s feedback and questions. Allow them to collaborate from anywhere with OneDrive’s 1TB of free cloud storage, co-creating their group projects without delays. Questions on tomorrow’s assignment can come and go anytime, so start using Teams to grant them a secure and collaborative place to engage directly with lecturers and other students.

As a Master’s graduate, I know that when I find myself out in the real world, my ability to tell my story and express my opinion through a variety of different tools will be a key differentiator for me. Including these apps in your teaching assessment is a way to challenge the students to present their learning in different ways.

Educators need to feel confident about these apps to implement them in their teaching curricula. Why not get in touch with Hable for a one-day Workshop to strategically discuss with your team how to unlock the full potential of Office 365, and meet your students’ – and staff’s – IT expectations?!

If you have any specific topics that you would like me to cover in the future, drop me a line at oiurcovich@hable.co.uk or continue the conversation on Twitter. 


Oli Iurcovich