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


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