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


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