Generation Z defined; The 5 characteristics of today's students

Friday, September 09, 2016

For today’s students, growing up with the emerging technologies at their fingertips has blurred the lines of work and social, of study and entertainment, of private and public. They now live in an open book environment – just a few clicks away from any information. They connect in a border less world across countries and cultures, and they communicate in a post-literate community where texts and tweets are brief, and where visuals and videos get the most cut-through.

At McCrindle, we are regularly engaged by a variety of organisations to assist with understanding who Generation Z is, what context they are being shaped in the traits that define them. Before we can engage this generation, we first need to understand them.

So how can we understand the emerging generations and their learning habits? Well, based on our research, here are five characteristics of today’s students:


Traditionally, learning took place in the classroom and the practice and application through homework. However, in the 21st Century, content can now be accessed through technology anywhere, and often in very visual and engaging forms. Thus we have the flipping of education where the learning takes place outside the classroom, but the essential engagement and practice is still conducted at school, by the all-important facilitator, rather than the teacher.


Not only through technology do today’s students interact, but they are mobile in terms of the jobs they will have and the homes they will live in. It is therefore important to think about how you can equip this generation with not just content but resilience in a changing world.


Today's generation of students are truly global, and are the most likely generation to work in multiple countries. They’re the most globally connected and influenced generation in history and are not limited to the local, but are global as never before.


We've called the emerging generation, Gen Alpha, but we also call them Generation Glass, because it is not just pen and paper, but iPads and screens on which they will learn, which are designed to not just display the written but the visual. While today’s students need literacy they also need digital skills to thrive in this changing world.


In an era of information overload, messages have increasingly become image-based and signs, logos and brands communicate across the language barriers with colour and picture rather than with words and phrases. Communicating symbols and pictures with stories isn’t an entirely new concept. Most ancient forms of communication such as indigenous rock art, reinforces the notion that it is pictures not words that tell the story. Visuals are also the way in which the brain processes information best. It can retain visual symbols and images rather than just written content. Our analysis of learning styles has shown the dominance in the visual and hands on learning styles, above auditory delivery form, which has traditionally dominated the classroom.

To find out more about Generation Z, visit our site and if we can assist with any presentations on the topic of the emerging generations, please feel free to get in touch.

About Ashley McKenzie - Team Leader of Communications at McCrindle

Ashley McKenzie is a social researcher, trends analyst and Team Leader of Communications at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a trends analyst she understands the need for organisations to communicate with the emerging generations to effectively engage and motivate them. 

From her experience in managing media relations, social media platforms, content creation and event management, Ashley is well positioned to advise how to achieve cut through in these message-saturated times. 

Her expertise is in training and equipping leaders and teams on how to communicate across generational barriers.


Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare

Last 150 Articles


focus group marriage media commentary happiness GPO Elderslie-Harrington park generational trends hills Australia street census data culture Business analysis market research media release rising house prices census results high density apartments christmas house price Australian community trends news school satisfaction wedding cooking analysis tattoos charity System's Architect McCrindle Speakers demography Christmas Stats princess charlotte emerging trends younger generations capital cities travelling live the dream housing affordability infographic Bathburst brand experience deloitte entertainment marriages Queensland wolloomooloo statistics area Tasmania the hills program dreaming ACT Report Channel Seven property market school debt #censusfail hello fresh speajer global volunteering cancelling plans shopper's pick census 2016 mover and shaker Territory optus my business awards Christmas day weather financial financial fears dreams in depth interviews priorities housing trends Netflix publication faux-cilising breakfast rain care support residents mobile criminal daily telegraph suburban living crows nest census fail customer sydney event shifts New South Wales trend sydney hills Aussie employmee 24,000,000 TEDx Speaker volunteer energy family employment dessert resource volunteers Macquarie University social issues financial independence data Financial Planning Week financial dreams finance case study baby names report IT Specialists future of education facts purpose trend tuesday shopping centre money research report educhat food insecurity training Hills Shire Council list university degree Australia Day 2017 Charlotte mccrindle research forecasting Australian Home group session rule keeper balance darwin professional speaker hobart emerging technologies tertiary education gen z TED talk church water townhouses world youth day culturally diverse tips census 24 million salary families research on coffee innovative Sydney average sydneysider rich young australians urban living index online shopping millenials showreel vegetarian Australian Population education typical australian research data 2016 census trends of 2016 Wagga Wagga social life affordability investing supply and demand teachers report changing face of sydney Northern Beaches Christian School community royal family 23 million goal retirement vegemite sydney speaker small business etiquette sports non profit staff wage ageing capital city eliane not for profit research Black Friday Sales Australian Census rent aged care puzzle keynote potts point Christmas season easy rider alpha demographer business index urban taskforce ethnography local communities 1994 storytelling Skilling cloudy days Assistant Store Manager investment blaxland consumerism growth tuesday future Lower Hunter Region office space Caregiver teach Australian demographics marketing stats hills shire demographics Gen Y food parenting career personal growth Australia Day friendship Black Friday in Australia know the times baby name trends relevant employmer australian communities forum menai story baby names australia report car households giving future of work quote meals NBRS urban TDE Crime Rates REIV Conference nfp commuting economic hornsby seasons offenders media growth of sydney social analyst mentor socialites New Zeland brand 2012 community event poker master work-life survey pyrmont Gen Z Expert SA research pack social commentary volunteering data technology interactive narcissism sector wide screenagers huffington post property price learner Christmas data royal high density population growth REIV National Conference FPA collaboration Channel 7 follow future proof jobs business sydney market royal influence ACF 2016 global generations Australian Families youth unemployment grandparents omnibus Jura Australia in the media collaborative Mount Annan-Currant Hill high density living grave decision population sector wide study village google faux-cilise renting pharmacy entrepreneurial long weekend holidays food bank McCrindle Keynote Speakers faith father's day Tuesday Trends learning styles cancelling event wealth distribution TEDx casual Retail public speaking 1968 global retail 1980 demographic South Australia Northern beaches Event work mates Res Vis repayments land of the middle class SMSF moreton bay tea cica post rationalism WA suburbs unaffordable networking apartments Merry Christmas meetings engagement Australian Trends social shifts TED clothing cultural diveristy newspaper Willowdale goals events generation personalities Deaths 2016 overcast housing market prince george Scouts ACT not-for-profit toys SRE Do It Yourself donation property micro Financial Planning Association of Australia year 7 national private wealth The ABC of XYZ sustainable financial planning geomapping educated anzac speakers McCrindle Speaker 1975 social trends employers communication Mark McCrindle in the media cultural diversity low density future-proof healthy future summer Australian schools government education future report Jura Coffee workplace culture forecast train intern socialising the changing face of schools students award the lucky country January 26th snapshot relational environment hunger award winner men the hills shire leadership workshop state australian community trends report conferences public holiday Generation X cash VET "know the times" Engineering Manager moderators guide Hornsby Shire Council visualisation generations ABS annual income World Water Day leader the average aussie population milestone global financial crisis debate Gen X Sydney population careers communities household google for education panel wealth inequality Love learning sydneysider data analyst kate middleton cars wealth Western Australia HSC gig home owner ipswich Christmas in Australia Mark McCrindle couple Australian Communities Trends australian outsourcing Canberra seasons greetings New Zealand coffee lovers 2020 internet average aussie FOMO charities entrepreneurs of today English Lower Hunter transport micro apartments brisbane Christmas presents presentation survey design Australian Bureau of Statistics identity shopping Northern Territory world students CBD digital economy baby name megatrends qualitative research medicine real divorce australians staying home more aussie culture Sydney Hills Business Chamber 2016 census results NBRS Architecture australian real estate bureau SMART group online Valentine’s Day social analysis builders equip workshop DIY schools rental stress divorce rate mother's day What is food insecurity? local community social researcher dare to dream mateship video mortgage Wodonga infographics happy holidays easter women mccrindle Work place define children millennials ACF2017 EFF recap owning a home gig economy social enquiry presentations future proofing unemployment ferry sunburnt country social lives choice workers new york times neutral bay house prices environmental scanning sydneysiders learn communications sydneycity home VET sector Social Trend Myth Australian communities trends analyst PSI belief conference baby NEETs teaching tableau victoria house sunny days cost of living mccrindle tea Andrew Duffin budget Real Estate Institute of Victoria renter of the future parents commute christmas 2017 leadership who is generation z entrepreneur buildings royal baby the great screenage US product brands lifestyle Cobbitty-Leppington business performance shbc 10 years education future pharmacies slideshare middle class staying in keynote speaker conference presentation The Daily Edition going out year 12 donate monarchy population map insights sector income christianity manly mythbusting futurist Education Future Forum Australian Dream 2013 politics bus thrive sydney property market life ideas teacher fears professional presenters city Duchess of Cambridge challenge Wellington resilience data visualisation suburb norwest VIC proactive workplace optimistic growing population Kiwi earn consumer housing not for profit skills Adelaide national crime rates fresh motivate demographic transformations mccrinlde 2017 TAS Melbourne Sydney Lifestyle Study Generation Y national wealth focus groups states young people social forum social commentator emerging generations property development cost the australian dream curiosity university Northern Beaches wellbeing marrickville weekly earnings education sector baby boom Queensland: QLD chairty crime domestic authenticity local coffee Maxim Accounting visual australia living 40 million cartodb student 2014 stay home baby names insight baby boomers organisations NT commuters twentyseventeen urban living February 16 mining boom home ownership ACF australian social research Research Executive public speaker social research demographic trends speaker economy wages impact school students mccrindle in the media Sydney keynote speaker apartment Sydney’s south west Births Word Up education research internship office Geoff Brailey graphs average Australian engage research services Financial Planning Association plans sun winter click litter generation alpha ageing population innovation earnings optus financial future lalor park new office ashley fell holiday friends DESTEL greatness contiki 2015 NFP event jobs of the future millionth eliane miles social change society trends increasing densification research McCridle selfie cancel plans workforce work from home Christmas research safe organisational culture dream tv christmas trees office opening housing growth spend JOMO conference speaker public transport future of shopping communicate Performance Sentiment Index community engagement professional services results change Aussies mythbusters travel social media trends ease of travel social impact James Ward teleworking gold coast Population Clock hopes digital sentiments media activity Hunter Valley daily commute society Christmas lunch event screenage religion Research Director perth youth professional weather house price rise baby name predictions internships Black Friday bondi responsive trends of 2017 faux-ciliser Kirsten Brewer experience spirituality names infographic wall ACF17 earning urban development paying to work Royals language thought leadership rise of local woolworths waverton wealth and income distribution cold trades aged care christian sydney metro nativity scene logan celebration study australian communities trends report participants winter blues research visualisation Christmas day work poor ashley mckenzie child care CPI Australians Vocational education speakers pack ultimo professional development investor Christchurch generation Z social researchers high school Tuesday Trend wealth and income researcher gender gen alpha acf15 Real Estate NSW affordable