EDUCATION SPOTLIGHT: How Colleges are Adapting to a New Generation of Students
By Space Coast Daily // September 3, 2018
The newest generation of students is forcing colleges to re-think how they educate them. This generation was born from 1995-2012. This new generation is called iGens, and they have connected in ways to social media and other forms of technology that previous generations of students were not.
Katie Sermersheim of Purdue University says she has an enormous amount of information for new students but is unsure of how to get it out to the iGens. She and other faculty feel it is frustrating, challenging and discouraging at times.
This is a generation that has strayed far away from getting information by conventional means. They are locked into social media and feel that they can solve many of the problems that plague our society. They are the more ethnically diverse than any previous generations. Most have only been in college for a few years, but are the catalyst behind the changes in how colleges educate.
They are forcing colleges to focus on issues that are important to them. iGens expect colleges to tailor the curriculum to them as individuals. They have become accustomed to being catered to, and want to do things when its convenient for them. iGens and their mobile devices are joined at the hip. Schools such as Victoria University online, give iGen students the flexibility they desire.
This year, instead of trying to prevent the use of mobile devices, Ohio State University purchased over 11,000 iPads for new students. The school has designed 42 courses around iPads and will be adding an additional 21 courses in the future.
Ohio State is also creating an app that will connect students with school-related items. The school will eventually customize the app so that when it opens it will display the student’s campus, degree and associated groups.
Some professors are now turning to social media to connect with their students. Professor Nicole Kraft of Ohio State uses Twitter to conduct portions of her courses. She also uses the social media sites Slack and Zoom. The course material has not changed, just the method of delivery. Some critics feel that schools should force the new generation of students to conform to traditional ways of learning. Proponents think that change is inevitable and that colleges have always adapted over time.
This generation has access to more information at their fingertips than any previous generation. They are accustomed to finding information quickly and easily. This type of access has led to a self-driven generation that expects more than the normal from colleges. Over 13% of iGen college students have their own business.
So many have real-world experience in their particular field and are a step ahead of the curriculum. These students also learn differently. Over 51% say they learn better by hands-on, and 12% say they learn better by listening. Most simply aren’t interested in traditional mass auditorium style lectures.
This generation has also experienced many traumatic events such as terrorism, mass shootings and a recession. The recession taught them the importance of avoiding debt and obtaining skills that have a positive long-term outlook. They are much more concerned with failure and choosing the wrong career path. This gave them a new insight into safety and politics. College students are now much more active in issues they feel strongly about.
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