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The Key to Success, According to Generation Z and Their Teachers

Over time, culture changes and shifts. Each new generation brings its own unique perspective and experience to the table, and their priorities and values shift the dynamics of our society. Although there is some disagreement about when the generations start and stop, Generation Z, as they’ve come to be known, is generally understood to be the group born between 1996 and 2010. As this group begins to enter the workforce, we’re starting to learn what they’ll be adding to the mix.

Last month, Adobe released a study Gen Z in the Classroom: Creating the Future which sought to examine Generation Z’s feelings about “learning, creativity, and the future”. They surveyed over 1,000 members of the generation, ages 11 to 17, living in the United States. They surveyed more than 400 teachers of the age group as well. By examining the key results of this study, we can begin to understand a bit more about how this generation thinks, feels, and works. It could potentially help us learn a little something about our future.

Generation Z
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  1. They have strong feelings about creativity.

One theme that emerged from this research was centered around the perceived importance of creativity. Eighty-five percent of students, and 91 percent of teachers said they see creativity as “essential to student’s future careers.” Similarly, both teachers and students agreed that creating is the most effective way to learn (this belief was shared by 78 percent of students and 77 percent of their teachers).

Interestingly, while members of the generation see themselves as more creative than other generations, their teachers don’t necessarily agree. However, their teachers (94 percent of them at least) do feel that many of their students will go on to have jobs that don’t exist today — they appreciate the need for flexibility and creativity and work to cultivate it. Both groups, students and teachers, feel that there should be greater emphasis on creativity in schools.

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  1. Technology is popular.

Not only are computer and technology classes among the most popular, according to Gen Z, but these students also appreciate the value of the learning they receive in these courses. Ninety-three percent of students feel that technology is the key to their “career preparedness” and 73 percent of their teachers agree. These educators also concur that technology has completely revolutionized their classrooms and the way their students learn.

  1. The relationship between technology and creativity is understood differently by Gen Z.

Both students and teachers agree that Generation Z is defined, at least in part, by their relationship with technology. “Growing up in the age of technology” is certainly a defining characteristic of the group, and all agree that it’s impacted the way this generation expresses themselves. There is one key difference, though. Some teachers worry that technology may actually be hindering students’ creativity, while students feel it provides outlets for creativity that help them find new ways of doing things and solving problems.

The generational divide regarding the impact of technology on creativity is a fascinating and a key takeaway from this research. Does technology increase creativity or hinder it? It depends on whom you ask.

For more information, check out the full report, Gen Z in the Classroom: Creating the Future.

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How do you think Generation Z will change the U.S. workforce? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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