Gen Z In The Classroom Research by Adobe Education


Executive Summary

Insight 1

Gen Z students see tech and creativity as important and interesting aspects of their identities.

  • Both students and teachers agree that growing up in the age of technology is the defining characteristic of Gen Z – and technology provides more digital tools and outlets for creativity.
  • Gen Z students are most likely to describe themselves as “creative” and “smart.”
  • Gen Z students think they are more creative than past generations and say that they are “always looking for a better way to do something.”
"They have grown up with the most recent technologies … Since technology is such a big part of their world, it can become a hindrance for them to think without it." - Teacher

Insight 2

Gen Z students are excited but nervous for their futures. They do not feel prepared for the real world.

  • Gen Z students have mixed emotions when it comes to their future after they finish school – their top emotions are “excited” and also “nervous.”
  • Both students and teachers feel that Gen Z is only somewhat prepared for their futures after school.
  • Many students feel uncertain about what they want to do, worried about finding a job and concerned that school has not properly prepared them for the “real world.”
  • Most students are not thinking about how their online presence will be interpreted by future universities or employers, and while some plan to create online portfolios in the future, the vast majority have not started.
"I feel unprepared due to a lack of jobs, the high cost of education, not learning important life skills after high school." - Student

Insight 3

Gen Z learns by doing and creating, and students and teachers alike want more focus on creativity.

  • Both students and teachers alike agree that Gen Z learns best through doing / hands-on experience (e.g., lab work, creating content).
  • Both audiences wish that there was more of a focus on creativity in the classroom.
  • Teachers say that having more opportunities for this type of hands-on learning is the number one way they can better prepare Gen Z students for the workforce. Most feel that the technology is already in place, but the curriculum needs to catch up.

Insight 4

Creativity will be a critical role in their future workforce.

  • Students and teachers agree that being creative will be essential to their future success, and that creativity is going to play an integral role in solving many of the challenges the world faces today.
  • Students believe that they will be creating things in their future careers, and that there are a lot of professions that require creativity.

Insight 5

Technology will set Gen Z apart in the future workforce.

  • Most say that increased access to digital tools and technology will make Gen Z more creative and better prepared for the future workforce. Still, some students and teachers think Gen Z’s reliance on technology is holding them back from thinking “outside the box.”
  • Computers & technology classes are the “sweet spot” – not only a favorite class, but also a top class to prepare students for the future and a top class for creativity.
  • Teachers say that their students will one day have careers that we didn’t even know would exist today.

Detailed Results

Gen Z students say that they are smart, hardworking, and event more creative than past generations.

Technology is Gen Z's native environment.

Technology enhances access to information and global connectivity, but some teachers worry that Gen Z is becoming too reliant.

Gen Z is excited and nervous about the future; both students and teachers feel they are not fully prepared for the "real world".

Almost half the students feel that what they learn outside of the classroom is more important to their futures.

Students and teachers agree that Gen Z learn better by creating, but the current curriculum is more focused on lectures, writing, and reading.

Teaching priorities today are more about interactive tools than memorizing facts.

Despite shifting priorities, Gen Z students still learn through memorization at least some of the time.

Teachers want to make changes in the classroom to better prepare Gen Z for the workforce.

Both teachers and students wants more creativity in the classroom because it will be essential for Gen Z's success in the future workforce.

Technology will be the enabler ...

... of a future we cannot envision.

Gen Z plan on going to college, and among those with a dream job, many want traditional careers.

This research brought to you by Adobe Education. More details on the Gen Z study can be found on the Adobe Education site.


Created with images by jeffstatecollege - "student education class" • francisco_osorio - "CL Society 431: Chilean student protest" • francisco_osorio - "University Life 260" • Tusalex - "light thinking portrait" • akk_rus - "Student"

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