Generation Z at school

Friday, April 29, 2016

How well are our 19th Century Institutions connecting with 21st Century Students?

‘Schools are 19th Century institutions using 20th Century buildings to teach 21st Century students and we wonder why traditional education sometimes struggle to connect. So if they don’t learn the way we teach, then let’s teach the way we learn.’ – Mark McCrindle

The children of Australia are today’s students and tomorrow’s employees. And while each generation has passed through the student lifestage, Generation Z are the only ones to have done so in the 21st Century. They can be defined as being post-linear, post-literate, and post-logical.

They have been born into a time that has seen the printed word morph into an electronic form. Ironically, today an electronic document is perceived to have more currency, and therefore accuracy, than the printed page. Books give way to YouTube videos. The written word is replaced by icons and images. Education is shifting from structured classrooms to collaborative means, from textbooks to tablets and from reports to infographics and video presentations. Words in this global era are progressively replaced with symbols or universal icons. They have been labelled generation glass because it is this medium that communicates content: glass you don’t just look through but look at, and wear and carry and interact with.

Characteristics of today's learners

Post linear

While schools structure learning by subject, Generations Z live life in a hyperlinked world. For digital natives it is not a subject but a lifestyle. Teachers deliver formal lessons, yet students are experiential and participative. We test academic knowledge and memory in examinations yet they, with the always-on Internet, are living in an open-book world, only ever a few clicks away from any piece of information on the planet.

Generation Z and the emerging Generation Alpha are also the most technologically literate and socially empowered generation of children ever. They are highly intuitive and confident users of digital technology, with Facebook having been around more than a decade, and iPhones, iPads, apps and social media having been available to them from their formative years.

There are 4.5 million reasons to engage Generation Z, the students of today and university graduates, employees and leaders of tomorrow. What’s more, the future of education depends on understanding and engaging with these 21st century learners. In order to fulfil the demand for labour and to ensure the future of our employment sector, our education system will need to adapt to and accommodate the learning styles of today’s students.

Post literate

Note we use the term post-literate, not illiterate. They are writing more (emails) and sending more (text) messages, just in ways different to previous generations. The issue is that literate forms of communication alone just won’t connect in today’s visual world. Today’s learners are a multi-modal generation and therefore demand communication styles that engage multiple learning channels. While the chalk and talk teaching approach was the only style on offer in previous generations, this structured approach to classroom communication is far less engaging for today’s technologically savvy, multi-media, post-structured learners. Though many complain about the short attention spans of today’s youth, this is mainly exhibited in the context of old methods of teaching that largely involve passive models of communication.

Post logical

The language of today’s learners is one that communicates content as well as being exciting, social and creative. They value visual and interactive communication with quick and easy access to information. This is in distinct contrast to perception of the education system where learning and fun are seen as mutually exclusive. Learning must not just be an academic exercise- of logic and rationale, but a development experience- of social, emotional and visceral connection as well. The point is that students have changed, so approaches to teaching need to change as well.

Engaging with today's learners

It is excellent to see that schools and classrooms are responding effectively to these changing learning styles through the implementation of learning stations, shifting from ‘teacher’ to facilitator’, managing more group work, providing real world case studies, outdoor education and teaching through activity-based learning. This, to the credit of schools is how they’ve been able to engage with changing learner needs while maintaining educational excellence. That said, there are still more changes to be made. According to our survey on parents’ opinions on education, over 90 per cent would like to see schools work harder at engaging with students and making learning interesting.

Traditionally, children were pre-formatted to learn within a structured environment, having spent their preschool years in a household where formative character was set through routine, compliance and training. However, increasingly, many children enter formal schooling without such a background and when such a student does not complete year 12, it is said that ‘they failed school’ when actually ‘their school experience failed them’.

While in the past parents, extended family, Sunday school and the Scouts or sports teams all had a role in developing the character, values and socialisation skills of the child, today parents are juggling increasingly complex roles and the average young person is less connected with other formative institutions. Schools are increasingly the one social bottleneck through which young people pass and so have a key role of developing the whole person. That is, in addition to its academic aims, the education system is expected to develop people skills, character formation, life skills and resilience.

The four R's

Real

Not only must our communication style be credible, but we must be credible also. This generation doesn’t expect us to know all about their lifestyle, nor do they want us to embrace their culture. They are simply seeking understanding and respect. If we are less than transparent, it will be seen.

Relevant

Both the content and style in which we deliver it must be relevant to a generation which is visually educated and entertained. There is no point in going to a friend’s movie night with a rented DVD if they only have a streaming service. Similarly, we must communicate in the most appropriate format for those we are reaching. So in understanding the communication styles of our students we will be better equipped to reach them.

Responsive

Education can either be teacher-centric (traditional), curriculum targeted (with a predominate focus on state-wide testing) or learner focused (responsive to their learning styles and needs).

In a generation education has moved from ‘classes’ to individual learning plans. As part of the shift from students confirming to the system to education responding to the changing times, needs and learners.

Relational

The old saying in education circles still rings true for today’s students: ‘they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!’ Communicating to this generation requires more than just good content and new technology – it needs engagement and involvement. The more we create an environment conductive to engaging with the head (knowledge), hands (application) and heart (inspiration), the more likely they learning will be embedded, opportunities enlarged and futures shaped.

Listen to Mark McCrindle on 2SER talking about the 21st Century classroom


McCrindle Education Services

For more information on our education services, including research and providing content and presentations for School Professional Development Days, Executive Staff Sessions and Parents Evenings, please refer to our Education Pack below, or get in touch - we'd love to hear from you!

P: 02 8824 3422

E: ashley@mccrindle.com.au

Top 5 tips for engaging the next generation of charitable givers

Thursday, April 21, 2016


Today’s emerging generations are global, social, visual and technological. They are the most connected, educated and sophisticated generations ever with influence beyond their years. They are the early adopters, the brand influencers, the social media drivers, the pop-culture leaders, and they don’t just represent the future, they’re creating it.

To understand the trends, to respond to the changes, and to be positioned to thrive in these changing times, it is essential that not-for-profit organisations understand these next generations and how to involve them. So here are 5 of our top tips for engaging the next generation of charitable givers, derived from our 2015 ACT study of the not-for-profit sector.

1. Developing trust is key

The Australian Community Trends report in 2015 found that trust is key to engaging with the next generation of donors. Potential supporters need to trust the organisation and believe in the work they are doing before they will open up their wallets to donate.

2. Utilise peer to peer fundraising

Generations Y and Z respond well to peer to peer fundraising campaigns. This could include sponsoring a friend in a fun run or giving through a specific landing webpage tailored to the fundraising efforts of a friend or family member. Equipping existing supporters to engage with their own networks is key to connecting with potential supporters.

3. Focus on the relationship, not the transaction

To engage charitable givers with an organisation, those in Gen Y and Z appreciate a giving relationship rather than giving that focuses on transactions. This could include engaging with supporters through social media, in a non-invasive way that still builds the relationship. Thanking supporters for their donation is also key to having an ongoing relationship with them.

4. Be upfront about financial costs

Due to the media exposing charities that have not been transparent with their finances, charitable givers are becoming savvier and concerned about where their money is going. Charities that provide regular communication and measurable results of where donations are going and what is being achieved through them will be preferred by the next generation of charitable givers.

5. Offer flexible giving options

The ACT report in 2015 found that Australians are moving more from regular to sporadic giving and are moving away from giving with a longer term commitment in favour of giving when it suits them or when they have a bit of extra money in their budget. Providing a number of options of how to give is key to engage current supporters.


About the Australian Community Trends Report 2016 Study

This study is a longitudinal study, conducted annually starting in 2015, and provides a detailed analysis of the effectiveness, engagement and awareness of the not-for profit sector. It continues to help organisations understand the Australian community – the emerging trends, the giving landscape, and the current and emerging supporter segments. The Australian Community Trends Report delivers a clear analysis of the social context in which the not-for-profit sector is operating.

Not-for-profit organisations are invited to participate in the Australian Community Trends Report, a national, comprehensive research study of the sector, conducted by McCrindle and R2L.


For more information, please contact Kirsten Brewer on:

E: kirsten@mcrindle.com.au

P: 02 8824 3422


W: australiancommunities.com.au

Does Generation Y have it easier than the Baby Boomers?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Generation Y are today’s 22 – 36 year olds, and make up 22% of the Australian population (5.22 million). They also make up the largest cohort in the workforce (34%). Gen Y’s are comprised of today’s parents, senior leaders, influencers, and increasingly wealth accumulators. With 1 in 3 being university educated (compared to 1 in 5 Baby Boomers), they have grown up in shifting times and are digital in nature, global in outlook and are living in accelerated demographic times.

Our Research Director, Eliane Miles, chats to Tony Delroy from ABC Nightlife about the future of Generation Y and whether we need to stop giving Gen Y a hard time.

Eliane, can you compare the wealth of the baby boomers at 25, to Gen Y at the same age – what story do the figures tell?

Well earnings have certainly increased, with average annual full-time salary in 1984 at $19,000 compared to $80,000 today. However houses were also cheaper, with the average price of a residential property costing just $64,000 compared to more than 10 times that across the nation today. In 1975, the median house price was just 5 times the average full-time earnings, but in 1996 this increased to 6 times and today it currently sits at 13 times! Property was cheap, and while it was more difficult to borrow, Baby Boomers were raised with a saving mindset so made the most of their hard work.

There has been a stereotype of Generation Y being demanding in the workplace, not being prepared to put in the hard yards at the bottom of the rung, of not holding loyalty towards employers – to what extent do you think any of those stereotypes ring true?

These stereotypes are the same stereotypes that were made 15 years ago towards Gen X. That somehow the economic mishaps of Gen Y are their own moral failure (lazy, expect too much, spend too much time on social endeavours). Yet there’s a lot of other factors at play and it’s not entirely bad. They’re not locking into a job the same way as their parents (average tenure is 2 years and 8 months for Gen Y compared to 6 years and 8 months for Baby Boomers) but it’s not all bad. Enduring education longer, staying at home longer, the reality of formal education and global connectedness means they’re more equipped and resourced to collaborate in the 21st century, more able to engage in a diverse workforce and lead in collaborative ways.

The fact that Gen Y’s value work-life balance is a good thing, they are less likely to get burned out, more relatable to life, not just saving their leave for one day in retirement but bringing life. Older generations bring experience and structured thinking, younger generations bring innovation, 21st century education, and greater cultural diversity to the working world.

Eliane, do you think there are certain expectations that Gen Y grew up with that they’re suddenly wondering if they’re actually going to happen?

Yes certainly. Gen Y’s saw the miracle wealth accumulation that their Baby Boomer parents had, and expect to start their economic lives in the same way their parents are ending theirs. Now, there’s a realisation that all of the factors that set up the Baby Boomer generation probably won’t be on-side for Gen Y. They’ve dreamt of having it all – the house, the car, the annual overseas trips, the dining out … but the reality of what they’ve been handed is that one or perhaps more of those things need to go.

How was the economic environment different for young baby boomers compared to young Generation Y’s?

Baby Boomers were handed a series of fortunate events. Rather than looking at income in the mid-20s let’s compare the two environments in which they became wealth accumulators.

Firstly, the path begins with their birth (1946-1964), a period of time or remarkable economic development after WW2 (post-war rations, high rate of savings). Beliefs about what the government should provide (health care, education, unemployment, and tax benefits) have reflected the priorities of this generation and the environment that they were raised in.

Then they benefited from the good economic times in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as they were already in the property market. Baby Boomers had a 27 year period of uninterrupted economic boom (from the recession in the early 1990s to 2008) which is likely to be unprecedented and never again seen among Australians of any generation.

Now the tables have turned.

Gen Y didn’t get access to free education, cheap rent while saving or union-protected and secure jobs. Young people today have little prospect of owning a home, so consumer spending improves their quality of life. Baby Boomers have a larger share of the pie while Gen Y, nor any other generation following the Baby Boomers for that matter, will reach a similar landmark. They benefited from advantageous tax systems and modest taxes. Their generation thrived in a unique, economic miracle.

But it’s not all bad news for Gen Y.

Australia is one of the few wealthy countries which has seen disposable income growth be higher for those aged 25-29 than those aged 65-69, with 27% growth compared with 14% growth between 1985 and 2010.

When it comes to homeownership amongst Gen Y members, how do they compare to the generations before them at a similar age?

In 1981, 61% of those aged 25-34 owned their own home and in 2011, this figure had dropped to 47% of those in the same age bracket. Across the board (not just in the younger years) we’ve seen a decline in home ownership. 20 years ago, 42% of Australians owned their home outright, which has decreased to less than 30% today. Furthermore, just 26% were renting, which has grown to almost a third today (31%).

So why this decline? This can be attributed to the emergence of single-person and single-parent households, the growing gap between house prices and average weekly earnings and tax concessions to owner occupiers. With government policies being geared towards home ownership, this means that Gen Y’s who start their earning lives later risk spending more of their income on housing costs when they retire.

Let’s set the crystal ball 50 years into the future – Eliane what do you see for Gen Y in 2066?

Demographically, Australia’s population will certainly have grown – Australia will have over 40 million people, Sydney over 8.4 million and Melbourne 8.5 million, having overtaken Sydney as Australia’s largest city by 2056. Migration will continue to drive growth, and with increasing cultural diversity and greater influence from Asia, the population growth will continue to drive house prices upwards.

Australia’s population will also be ageing. 58% of the population will be in their 50s or older in 2066, one quarter will be over 65 and 1 in 6 will be over 75. In a nutshell, there will be more people aged over 60 than under 20.

And lastly, we will have changed a lot in that time as well. In 2066 Gen Y’s will be aged 72 to 86, and Gen Z’s (those now aged 7-21), of whom there are already 4.43 million in Australia (comprising 18% of the population), will be nearing their retirement years (57 to 71). So by 2066 we’ll have seen 3 more generations emerge after Gen Alpha and we can be sure that these individuals will be shaped in completely different times.

ABOUT ELIANE MILES

Eliane Miles is a social researcher, trends analyst and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a data analyst she understands the power of big data to inform strategic direction. Managing research across multiple sectors and locations, she is well positioned to understand the mega trends transforming the workplace, household and consumer landscapes. Her expertise is in telling the story embedded in the data and communicating the insights in visual and practical ways.

From the key demographic transformations such as population growth and the ageing workforce to social trends such as changing household structures and emerging lifestyle expectations, from generational change to the impact of technology, Eliane delivers research based presentations dealing with the big global and national trends.

With academic qualifications in community engagement and postgraduate studies in international development and global health, Eliane brings robust, research-based content to her engaging presentations and consulting. As a social researcher, she has been interviewed on these topics on prominent television programs such as National Nine News and Today, as well as on radio and in online media.

DOWNLOAD ELIANE'S SPEAKERS PACK HERE

To have Eliane present at your next event, please feel free to get in touch via email to ashley@mccrindle.com.au or call through to 02 8824 3422

Top 5 Speaking Trends

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Each year the McCrindle Speakers are called on to deliver more than 150 keynote speeches, research presentations, and workshops across Australia and internationally.

Some of these are small executive sessions while others are national conferences, sometimes it is a short 30 minute address and other engagements are half-day interactive workshops.

This volume and varied contexts gives us a great perspective on the trends in audience engagement and what works best when it comes to speaking and presentations.

So here are our top 5 speaking trends:

1. Less is more

The trend is for shorter sessions but more of them to provide a better event. The pressure is on conference organisers to deliver more from events. Not only is it harder to get delegates to attend and stay at longer events, but the sit and listen approach is giving way to snappier sessions to accommodate shorter attention spans, busier lives and more distractions. Over the last decade the one-hour standard presentation has been replaced by the 45-minute session being the norm- and indeed the rise of the 30-minute keynote session.


2. Make it visual

It's called a presentation for a reason- what is seen and heard has more impact than a speech alone. The best communicators deliver great content in an engaging way- reinforcing their message through easily consumed visual cues. The power of a story, the cut through of an image, the cross-cultural connection of a picture, the speed of understanding an infographic and the retention power of a symbol are why visuals work.


3. Reinforce the message

Communication is more impacting when the presentation is supported with handouts or follow up materials. We find that professionally printed infographic cards, visual summaries, or industry report cards are very useful when attendees have such handouts for a presentation. Additionally more in-depth industry reports, research papers and the presentation slides can be made available electronically after the session to add more depth and impact.


4. Maximise the value

Corporate budgets are being kept tight and when an event cost can provide benefits beyond the one-off session, it is more likely to get the green light. The investment in a speaker can be also assisted with an additional workshop, participation in a Q and A panel, and providing new and specific content for social media and mainstream media to help create interest and activity around an event. However the impact can begin even before the event. As researchers, we often provide a survey for delegates or industry representatives to complete before the conference so that a “snapshot” of the organisation or industry can be presented. Such surveys not only provide valuable data and a big-picture overview, but the very process of surveying builds anticipation of the upcoming events and encourages registrations in the knowledge that the results will be presented at the event.


5. Keep it real

Speakers need to be engaging and dynamic but they must also ensure that they deliver solid content which is real-world. There has been a strong trend over the last decade to move from motivational sessions to practical, applicable presentations. The best communicators are not theorists but experts who are equipped not with ideas or anecdotes as much as relevant research and findings and so are able to deliver actionable insights.


TOP 5 TOPICS

From our terrain in the trends and change space we have analysed the Top 5 Topics in demand by business leaders and event organisers at the moment:

1. Changing Times, Emerging Trends: An overview of the megatrends transforming the business and consumer landscape from social change to transitioning technology, from population shifts to global trends.

2. Managing Change and Leading Innovation: Assisting teams through unprecedented change, managing a workforce of growing diversity and moving from a structured style to a collaborative environment are key skills for today’s leaders.

3. Effective Communication-: Bringing data to life: In a world of big data and information overload we need visual data and engaging communication. This session showcases how to find and tell the story behind the numbers.

4. Demographic Trends, Emerging Consumers:A snapshot of the ever-changing customer and the new consumer segments.

5. Understanding the New Generations: From Boomers and Xers to Generations Y and Z, the generational landscape is changing and engaging with diverse generations at work or as clients is essential.


McCrindle Speakers

Whether you are looking for a keynote address at national conference, an onsite professional development workshop, or a strategy briefing for senior leaders, our presenters have the experience to ensure your event is a success.

Our presenters not only deliver keynote addresses at national conferences but specialise in the delivery of executive level briefings, strategic retreats, executive planning days, and in-house PD sessions that provide top-level industry scans to equip teams with the latest strategies to succeed.

Market analysis briefings guide decision-makers on the latest consumer segments while industry future forums outline the current trends, implications, outcomes, and recommendations of a product or service offering.

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