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Technology: The Heartbeat of Generation Z

- December 5, 2013 - 1 Comment

I was thrilled and honoured to have Jessica spend this week with me learning about the world of PR as part of her Work Experience Program.  I didn’t have this type of program when I was in high school in the US and wish I had.  It is an excellent way to provide Australian students with insights into careers they are considering pursuing in the future. 

While we discussed the role of a PR professional, the media landscape, pitching journalists and developing story ideas, we also talked about Cisco and our vision to “Change the way we work, live, play and learn.”  It is on the topic of “how the Internet has changed the way we learn”, that Jessica has elected to write the following blog. 

Technology: The Heartbeat of Generation Z

Your heart thudding inside your chest is as fundamental to human life as technology is to Generation Z (those born since the late 1990s). Their smartphones, tablets and computers are an extension of themselves. This is evident in their compulsion to constantly check devices as they seek new information, connection and independence. Perhaps what they do not realize is that their lives and learning are dependent on this technology, without which, they could risk losing marks and even a heartbeat.

Still in school, Australia’s Generation Z is immersed in the rapid influx of knowledge and resources that the Internet supplies. They are accustomed to advancements in technologies and the presence of the Internet, which is now supplied in a seamless manner, wirelessly. This gives students the ability to move effortlessly without being hindered by a cable. Other developments in technology have increased the flexible approach to learning; appropriate study techniques; multitasking and optimal usage of time studying.

While still in school, it’s difficult to comprehend how these skills will transfer to the work place, but here’s what I’ve learned as a result of my work experience:

  • A flexible and creative approach to learning. Technology is presenting young people with many different approaches to expressing what we’ve learned. It encourages creativity by providing us with more choices, such as between utilising the classic ‘death by PowerPoint’ or a dynamic video presentation. Taking an avant garde approach to presentations is encouraged by teachers and it is great to be so supported. For us, this whole-hearted acceptance of technology and encouragement to think “out of the square” helps prepare us for a future career that will require engagement and resourcefulness.
  • Technology is intended to support students, but not do our work. With so much information available on the Internet it’s tempting to borrow other people’s ideas. However, there are now technologies that prevent plagiarism, such as Turnitin. It’s present in my own school, Pittwater House. Turnitin scans research assignments (word documents) for plagiarism and can pinpoint if you have copied sentences or whole paragraphs. This is through comparing your assignment to information found on the Internet, other assignments written by your classmates and any other school that is submitting assignments through Turnitin. It highlights the amount one has plagiarised, notes the Internet source and the percentage of work plagiarised. Applications like Turnitin requires students to take the time to study effectively; use their brains and correctly paraphrase and reference information.
  • More than multitasking, it’s creative group thinking. Between sports, work and individual assessments, finding a suitable time for everyone to meet is next to impossible. Aps like Google docs allow us to simultaneously work on and update a document without any duplication of effort – and conveniently! It’s also easily accomplished from any device (for example I have access to a smartphone, laptop, iPad and iPod). Plus, the document displays the contributions of each person allowing each to build upon another’s ideas. The result is more creative, a true blend of everyone’s ideas and time efficient. A side benefit is it eradicates the commuting costs thereby allowing me to enjoy diner and conversation with my family. 

While technology is clearly incorporated in our learning experience, schools are putting weight on traditional learning methods. For example, one of my school assessment tasks required us to use multiple sources, which resulted in travelling to the library to find a relevant book. Thus, Generation Z is offered an enhanced learning experience, which accepts the past practices while embracing the advantages of technology for the future.

By: Jessica Holley, Year 10, who spent this week at Cisco exploring the world of work as part of Pittwater House Schools’ Work Experience Program.

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  1. Finally, the age of technology as a service is seeping across all layers of society. Education though could be the most crucial of all.