Generation Z (11-17 year olds) is growing up in a world that looks completely different from the one their parents and teachers grew up in. 94% of teachers feel that their Gen Z students will one day have careers that do not exist today. We can’t prepare them for the exact work they’ll do, but we can teach them to be life-long learners, to be creators, to solve problems and express themselves using whatever tools are available.
To learn more about Gen Z, Adobe launched a study of over 1,000 students in the U.S. and 400+ of their teachers to find out how this generations thinks about creativity, technology and their futures beyond the classroom. Teachers and students agreed overwhelmingly that creativity will be essential to their success and that understanding technology is key to preparing students for their futures. Gen Z learns best through doing – creative things, experiencing the world hands-on and connecting their classroom experience to the larger world around them.
One way to put these insights into practice is to give students projects with more than one outcome, or lots of approaches to finding a solution. This helps encourage creativity while developing the kind of thinking that builds science and tech skills. Students needs to flex their creative muscles in real world applications with relevance beyond their classrooms. Nearly half of students feel that what they learn outside of the classroom is more important to their future careers as to what they learn inside.
Teachers can encourage students to design unique apps, create presentations about their research or build online portfolios of their work. It can be a challenge to manage lessons like these – teachers need technology that can unlock student’s creativity without overwhelming the content of the lesson. One great and free entry point is Adobe Spark. Designed to help anyone, including students, share ideas visually and digitally, Spark is easy to use. Students can create beautiful work while keeping focus on what they want to communicate. Sparks lets everyone create stunning visual content they can share across multiple social platforms and that looks great on any device. It’s so easy to create a social media-ready graphic on-the-go and immediately share it.
For students to remain competitive going forward, they must be able to excel at thinking critically, drawing conclusions, and introducing their own projects. Fortunately, many industry-leading technology companies are working with educators and administrators to do just that. For example, the Adobe Education Exchange offers a variety of resources for educators interested in incorporating digital skills and creativity in their classrooms.
Knowing how to master different forms of technology and navigate web content will become more crucial as students enter today’s workforce. Though this can be challenging for teachers at first, there are ways educators can bridge the gap and help their students succeed in a 21st century workforce.
Wherever Gen Z goes, these skills will help take them there.
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