Providing On Demand AV for Generation Z

Five smiling modern students posing in a classroom

Gen Z College Students

The January/February 2017 CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY issue is fascinating, thought-provoking, intriguing, and overwhelming.  Do you realize that the current generation, Generation Z, is now entering their college-age years? Soon, this group of approximately 60 million young people will be future employees, home owners, entrepreneurs, and economic decision makers.  For those of us in the AV industry, we are wise to analyze the current AV trends in higher education in order to forecast the business needs in the coming decade.  But first, we must take a moment to understand the characteristics of a stereotypical Generation Z member.

Get Ready for Generation Z

Forbes Contributor, Ryan Scott, provides an excellent overview of this next wave of consumers.  He shares a few key distinctions between millennials and gen Z including:

  • This group has NEVER known a world without smartphones and social media. Even the youngest among them can easily navigate technology. And when it comes to consumption, seconds matter.  They gobble up information quickly and need immediate gratification.
  • Interestingly, gen Z is less interested in sharing every detail of their lives on Facebook.  They seem to find anonymous platforms like Snapchat more appealing.
  • Cultural diversity. Multiculturalism is a foundational principle for them and this reality affects their attitudes towards social issues.
  • Growing up in a time of global uncertainty, gen Z is drawn towards safety and is much more cautious than previous generations.  In general, this group is more practical and sensible in their choices and behaviors.

Predicted Gen Z Effects on Education Technologies

So, what will our college campuses and classrooms looks like in the next 10 years?  How will this “On Demand” generation affect the culture of education?  Here are some predictions of “Top 10 Education Technologies that will be Dead and Gone in the Next Decade”  from the “2016 Teaching with Technology” survey:

  1. Desktop computers and laptops
  2. Clickers
  3. Non-interactive projectors and whiteboards
  4. Document cameras/overhead projects
  5. Traditional presentation software
  6. Interactive whiteboards
  7. CDs and DVDs and their players
  8. Printed anything
  9. Current learning management systems
  10. Computer labs and dedicated workstations

And now, the Top 10 Technologies that will become important in education over the next decade:

  1. Virtual and augmented reality
  2. 3D anything
  3. Touch and interactive projectors, boards, surfaces and programs
  4. Mobile devices for learning
  5. Adaptive learning
  6. Streaming “everything”
  7. Open educational resources
  8. Cloud services
  9. Tablets
  10. Smart watches and wearables; and gaming and gamification (a tie)

My Main Take-Away:  Integrated Technology is the Future

Generation Zers consume information and learn through interaction and hands-on doing.  Because of this, college campuses need to consider how to use technology to reach students.  On average, Gen Z students interact with five devices each day – a smartphone, music player/tablet, laptop, desktop, and TV.  A Barnes & Noble study cited on the 21 century state website shared that the top technologies most helpful and useful for the gen Zers are smartboards.  “Blackboards are a thing of the past, but smartboards allow for greater interaction and all teachers to share new materials.”

Interesting, don’t you think?  Next week, I’ll take a closer look at how these Tech Trends in Education will impact personal and commercial AV needs.

Meeting their demands,

Tony, the AV guy