It is the first generation to have fully grown up in the digital age, with computers and internet access at all times. It is Generation Z, young people born between 1995 and 2010, who are also known as post millennials, centennials, Generation K, or post-Bieber. It is true that the immediately preceding generation, the so-called millennials (born between the early 80s and the mid-90s), have established themselves as the generation that uses technology the most, but the reality is that those who were born and grew up with the internet more evolved are those of Generation Z.
Generation Z feels and defines itself as “technological”. These young people accept technology as part of the reality in which they live immersed and they do it naturally. They are pragmatic in their use and aware of the risks, but they mostly defend an optimistic and enthusiastic vision of the possibilities that technology offers, especially in education and work.
According to the study Young people, future and technological expectation, carried out by BBVA, Google, and the Fad (Foundation for Help against Drug Addiction) within the framework of the joint project Conectados, “these young people believe that technology will be the element that essentially defines the characteristics of the labor market and that this will pose new challenges, both in terms of training and opportunities”. However, they feel a certain pressure, a requirement imposed by the context, for training, equipment, and continuous updating. And only if they follow them can they be integrated into the new work model.
They demand more training
As this study points out, the young people of Generation Z “believe that they are under using technologies that they are not taking advantage of them that they could and should”, and to a large extent, they attribute this to the lack of instrumental, strategic and emotional training. They self-train, by trial and error, they lean horizontally on their peers, and they feel they lack adequate support. And they request them.
From the denial of the topic of “digital natives”, young people demand multiple developments in the educational field; to better manage technologies, to take advantage of them, but also to know their possibilities and limits, to know their “emotional” rules, to learn to successfully integrate offline and online. They even demand mediation for learning despite reluctantly viewing the possibility of control that mediation (of parents, teachers) could entail.
Faced with the identification of technological risks, they adopt a proactive position: they demand training to anticipate, reasonable control of external threats, codes of regulation of scientific, industrial, and business developments, and ethical codes that protect society as a whole and avoid deviations that may be less desirable.
New ways of learning
For all this, Generation Z demands a new way of learning, they are multitasking young people, open-minded, innovative, and impatient, who demand new methodological tools and new ways of learning. “They are intelligent and self-taught,” says Neus Soler, an expert in economics and marketing, who ensures that “they do many things on their own, regardless of whether or not that gives them a title.” In contrast, the older generation, the technology for Millennials, “was born in a time of economic boom and give much more importance to titles. This means that they are less self-sufficient, active and entrepreneurial than Gen Z”.
These young people prioritize individualized education and interactivity. To these young people, the traditional educational methods with which we grew up seem increasingly outdated. They learn on their own and especially on the web, and they use social media and especially YouTube for it.
According to Google data on YouTube, 47% of Gen Z spend more than three hours on YouTube, and 22% of millennials also. In fact, 70% of centennial or millennial users have watched a video to learn something new or to delve into a topic that interests them.
“Educational videos on YouTube are a very interesting format for the user, they are close, they have a fresh and entertaining style, they allow empathizing with the student and the fact that the video can be consulted as many times as you want is an advantage” explains Jose J. Priego, professor of Information and Communication Sciences Studies at the Open University of Catalunya (UOC).
Watching a video is, for many users, the most effective way to understand or know a topic, and the content options on YouTube are endless and very diverse. According to Google data, 86% of users say they go in often to learn something new and more than 70% of people feel empowered, motivated, or more confident after learning something new from a YouTube video.
Faced with this scenario, it is not surprising that new informative figures have emerged such as edutubers, and YouTubers specializing in Education and outreach.
There are more and more classifications in the world of YouTubers: infotainment (infotainment), gamer (gamer), food (foody), vlogger, etc. Although YouTube is a great reference, Instagram has also opened up to this trend. The nutritionist Carlos Ríos, with 1,400,000 subscribers, speaks daily on his account about Nutrition and health education for the little ones.
For example, getting to understand science in an easy and fun way is a challenge and a useful resource for many young people who are part of Generation Z. According to the study Beyond Millennial: The Next Generation of Learners, 59% of students aged 14 and 23 years old prefers to study on YouTube than to do it with textbooks. 55% consider that audiovisual channels are an adequate source for their study.
The ability and way these influencers have to communicate knowledge in a more attractive and effective way imply challenges and changes in educational paradigms. For example, Apple’s methodologies with challenge-based learning and others such as active learning or flipped classrooms, recommended by Inaki Ortega, author of the book Generation Z, and whose interview we reproduce in this special.
YouTube has been the platform that, thanks to the edutubers, responds to this demand, favoring participation and involvement by connecting audiovisual content with the learning needs of each user.