Page 14 - Campus Technology, August/September 2017
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TEACHING AND LEARNING dian schaffhauser
5 Simple Ways to Reach Gen Z
Even though technology seems to rule the lives of this newest generation of college students, engaging them doesn’t require you plugging
in to deliver high-tech touch.
GENERATION Z — a group of people born roughly between 1995 and 2010 — has been identified, studied, compared, surveyed, analyzed, blogged, Snapchatted and infographicked to within a data point of their short lives. What have we learned about these individuals?
Their world has always had the internet and devices, and they prefer those devices (preferably more than one at a time) for all means of communication;
They thrive on visual media and, in particular, YouTube and Instagram as their go-to apps;
They’re always a link or an app away from whatever they want to know — time, directions, how-to;
They like anonymity while also hungering for social endorsement; and
They appear to have short attention spans, expect instant
access and need constant feedback.
As generalizations go, this list of traits may be informative,
but what’s more useful is figuring out how to make the classroom resonate for today’s students. That was the goal when a group of eight “emerging leaders” at the University of Hawaii system set out to understand how teaching needed to change to accommodate the Gen Z college student. The output included a report, a website and a presentation given at last year’s NASPA conference for student affairs administrators in higher education — a session that drew 700 attendees wanting to know the secrets of reaching this generationally unique creature.
Jeff Stearns, the division chair of language arts at Honolulu Community College (HI) and a participant in the research project, took the findings of the report to heart, evolving his own instructional practices to address what he perceived as a better way of reaching Gen Z.
“Most faculty have gotten into a routine, and they teach the way they learned back when they were going to college. A
CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | August/September 2017
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