Innovation Imperative: Meet Generation Z

Northeastern University, Feb 12, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

University Business tells us that, according to this report, Generation Z wants to design their own learning programs. "The majority of Gen-Zers think col­leges should allow stu­dents to design their own majors, should integrate practical experience into programs and should offer skills like financial planning." I happen to this this is a good idea so of course I'll take this uncritically as conforming my pre-existing beliefs. And... whoa, wait. Maybe not that. What is this Generation Z? What Northwestern has done is survey a (subset of) American youth aged 16-19. We are told "these teenagers reflect the American public as a whole." If so, then 25 percent of Americans are upper-middle or upper class (that's probably why so many of them are interested in 'financial literacy' and more than half of them are not concerned about climate change). So, this isn't a generation (which is 20 years, not 3), and not representative of anything except, maybe, the next class of American college students.

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