Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Our most formally educated generation to date starts their Year 12 exams.

15 October 2012: Today is a generational landmark, as the first of Australia’s “Digital Integrators” (Gen Zs) commence their final school exams. This research summary looks at who comprises Generation Z, their experience of education today and the jobs of the future they are being trained for.

Who are Generation Z? (Born 1995-2009):
Australia’s 4.6 million Generation Zs are almost exclusively the children of Generation X, and they are truly the 21st Century generation, with the whole of their formative years lived in this century. While they are today’s children and teenagers, by the end of the decade they will comprise 12% of the workforce.

Armed with an education: Our most formally educated generation in history
Australian youth today are spending more time in education than any other generation, with 71.2% of high school graduates going onto further education and training (45.6% of whom go onto university). Generation Z will be Australia’s most formally educated generation to date with many schools already exceeding the Federal Government target that by 2015 90% of students nationally will complete Year 12.

Digital integrators: Get ready for the next generation of digital entrepreneurs
Today’s adults are digital transactors, using the latest technology but in a structured, procedural and task focused way. However young people can best be described as digital integrators – being exposed to digital technology from their early formative years, they have integrated it seamlessly into their lives rather than using as a tool through which they transact. A social trend we have noticed is that the majority of Australian teenagers do not wear wristwatches as their mobile phone is an integrated device which provides for them the time as well as dozens of other applications. Exams provide the terrain in which generational conflict emerges – phones are banned yet time management is a key part of examination success. Additionally, with online education growing in popularity, this generation of Year 12 students may be the last to complete their final school exams with pen and paper, a trend we’re witnessing with e-tax overtaking traditional tax returns and millions of Australians opting for the eCensus over the paper form.

Cyber Bullying: New challenges for a virtual generation
With nearly all young Australians engaging online with their peers, it is a sad reality that a third of students (33%) have been bullied in a context outside of the playground, whether via social networking websites (such as Facebook), instant messaging, text or email. Home is no longer a safe haven from bullies, as cyber bullying can take place anywhere and spread quickly.

Interview with Mark McCrindle: The Transformation of Education

Mark McCrindle, social researcher and Director of McCrindle Research outlines “Learning the Gen Z Way”:

Who? Facilitator
“In a world where young people carry technology and are only a few clicks away from any piece of information, the role of the teacher is moving from being the source of content to a facilitator of learning; driving participation and interaction rather than instruction and control”.

What? The 3 R’s of the future –Relevance, Responsiveness and Relationship
“In a world where 90% of the data has been created in the last two years alone*, the shelf life of education has never been shorter. The focus is shifting from content to process, from the information itself to the means of gathering, analysing and applying the information”.

When? Anytime, Anywhere
“With online learning and flexible delivery, student centricity (where the teaching and learning is designed to accommodate the needs of the student) is critical. Schools are responding to the new timetables of families and the complexity of redefined households and roles by moving from a 9am-3pm school day to new alternatives”.

Where? Open spaces, flexible places
“Traditional classrooms were constructed to keep distractions out, keep the students in and keep them facing the teacher. However 21st Century classrooms are being reconfigured (and rewired!) to accommodate new students, new technologies and new learning styles. It is recognised that rather than classrooms being the place where curriculums are taught, the spaces are an implicit curriculum in themselves and are key to supporting the educational journey”.

How? Flipping
“Traditionally, the learning took place in the classroom and the practice and application took place through homework. However in the 21st Century the content can be accessed through technology anywhere, and often in very visual, engaging forms. However, discussion and application of the content is critical, and this requires an expert facilitator – the teacher. Thus the flipping of education where the learning takes place outside the classroom, but the essential engagement and practice is still conducted at school”.

The author of this research summary:
Mark McCrindle is a social researcher with an international renown for tracking emerging issues, esearching social trends and analysing customer segments. Mark’s recently released book, ‘Word Up: A Lexicon and Guide to Communication in the 21st Century’ was written for educators, employers, leaders and parents, to help them effectively engage with the emerging generations.

Sources: McCrindle Research, ABS

*IBM Big Data study 2012
For more information or to organise an interview with Mark McCrindle, please contact Francesca Dalton on 02 8824 3422 or at [email protected]