What do you know about Generation Z?

Many students currently in the education system are from Generation Z, so it's a good idea to know more about them. I took to social media to see what I could learn. I watch social media closely and it's my job to share some of the hot topics on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other outlets that teachers, principals, students, and parents are contributing.

What is Generation Z? To start, Generation Z is anyone born between 1995 and 2009. Thanks to Dr. Merri Rajaniemi, we can learn a lot more about this generation from the infographic she posted on her Twitter account. There's lots of information posted on the infographic that will help teachers understand this group of students. You can see the image below.

generation z

First off, it can't be emphasized enough how much technology plays a role in these students' lives. The image above states that Generation Zers, on average, use technology for 10 hours and 19 minutes a day. They have over 1,000,000,000 Facebook users, watch around 4,000,000,000 YouTube videos a day, and do an even higher number of Google searches per day. This is the main reason ed tech is so important right now. If we want education to stay relevant to students' lives and the work they will do afterwards, it's imperative that educators understand technology and deploy it in their classrooms and assignments.

While the huge reliance on technology is (probably) both good and bad, there is one definitely bad piece of news on this infographic. It is estimated that 61.8 percent of females in Generation Z will be obese/overweight by adulthood. And the numbers for males is even worse – 77.9 percent. Those numbers are alarmingly high. It's easy to blame the 10 hours of technology a day, but that doesn't paint the whole picture. The increase in technology has, probably, led to less physical activity, but it's our job as educators to encourage students to stay active and pay attention to their health. We should also try to find ways to incorporate technology into physical activity.

Of course, the most important section on the graph is in the right-hand corner. It shows the difference between what was considered “effective engagement” for the Baby Boomers versus the Generation Zers. The current generation takes more responsibility for how they are taught, switching to a learner-centric model and a more open-book approach. They also want to know more about the “how” than the “what.”

There are some other interesting tidbits worth knowing. The trend to “job hop” isn't going away. According to predictions, those born in 1995-2009 will live in 15 different houses and  have 17 different jobs in their lifetime. These young people also use a lot of slang, which can be difficult to keep up with. It also seems that life stages continued to get broken down into smaller and smaller parts.

What did you find interesting about this chart? What do you think teachers should know about their students before they begin teaching? Is there anything about this chart that makes you excited for the future or are you alarmed by some of these trends?

Tori Pakizer is the Social Media Editor at SimpleK12.com. She writes regularly about the use of educational technology in K-12 classrooms, and specializes in how teachers use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media. You can follow Tori and SimpleK12 on Twitter @SimpleK12. If you have ideas for using social media in schools, please send your information or tip to editor@simplek12.com.