Report: Tech, Creating Defining Characteristics of Gen Z Students

Students today see themselves as more creative and tech-savvy than past generations, and most say that technology is the defining characteristic for this generation of learners. Most educators on the other hand say this generation is equally creative compared to previous generations, but they agree that growing up in the age of technology has provided today’s students with more digital tools and outlets for creativity.

Those are some of the main takeaways from “Gen Z in the Classroom: Creating the Future,” a recent survey from Adobe of more than 1,000 students and 400 teachers in the United States that explores how Generation Z (ages 11-17) views creativity, technology and their futures outside the classroom. Overall, the following five key insights emerged from the study:

  • Insight 1: Gen Z students see technology and creativity as “important and intersecting aspects of their identity.” Student respondents were most likely to answer “smart” (63 percent) and “creative” (47 percent) when asked to choose words that best describe themselves;
  • Insight 2: Gen Z students are mostly enthusiastic for their futures (59 percent responded they are “excited”), but half said that they feel “nervous” and more than a quarter (27 percent) feel “unprepared” for the college and careers;
  • Insight 3: Gen Z learns best by “doing and creating.” The majority of student respondents (78 percent) and teacher respondents (77 percent) prefer this teaching method, while both groups want more hands-on learning experiences (lab work, creating content, etc.) and evolving instructional materials to enhance creativity in the classroom;
  • Insight 4: Creativity will play an integral role in the future workforce, as many students believe they will be creating things in their future careers (83 percent); and
  • Insight 5: Technology will set Gen Z apart in the future workforce, with most teachers (94 percent) answering that their students will one day work jobs that do not exist yet.

The report also offers a student profile based on the survey results: Typical Gen Z students in the U.S. will say that mathematics (34 percent), science and engineering (33 percent) and computers and technology (27 percent) are their favorite subjects and most Gen Z students exhibit creative online behaviors (e.g. 70 percent post content), according to the study.

The full study is available on the Adobe site.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].