October 13, 2009

Generation C’s Students, Workers, Consumers and Citizens Come On-line

We all know about Baby Boomers and Generation X. Over the last few years, we have learned to teach, to work with and to live with Generation Y. At this moment, another generation is at our doorsteps, Generation C. Why the C and not Generation Z? This initial stands for a generation which is coming of age never having been without the computer and the Internet and which has learned to use these tools to Communicate, Collaborate and Create like never before. There are nearly a million and a half Quebecers now between 13 and 25 years old who were born between 1984 and 1996.

To find out more about our current crop of teenagers and young adults, CEFRIO conducted a serious study to learn more about their habits as users of technology, students, workers and citizens.

Results of Interest from the Study

Here are some results with links to technology and education.

Generation C Consumers of Technology

  • Nearly all Quebec youth (91%) have access to a high speed Internet connection at home.
  • Half of Quebecers (49%) aged 12-24 navigate mainly on sites in French.
  • The biggest Internet users are often boys (61%), who surf an average of 36 hours weekly making more purchases and getting more information from the web than other groups.

Generation C Students

  • 91% of students use their computer for homework assignments.
  • 13% of high school students systematically use a computer in class compared to 33% at cegep and 29% at university.
  • 46% of youth surveyed feel that only a few of their teachers have the technical know-how required to be of assistance in learning how to use information technology.

More of an Opportunity than a Threat!

How should these statistics linked to education be interpreted?

As Generation C crosses the threshold of adolescence and young adulthood, they present a challenge to those who seek to adapt their teaching to this generation’s interests and strengths. Shareware is ubiquitous on the Internet and can bring added value to teaching. The fact that the near-totality of youth do homework on the computer and have access to a high speed Internet connection is an opportunity for them to become more autonomous in their learning. Why not propose educational videos on Youtube1 ? Better yet, why not ask students to produce a video and put it on YouTube? With this simple activity, students Create the video, and Communicate through broadcasting possibly leaving only Collaboration out of the mix.

To add in a collaborative dimension, there are several free Wikis on the Internet. For the project Cégeps en réseau, computer teachers asked students to develop a Wiki in teams creating an element of interesting teamwork and healthy competition between teams.

More results of the Study!

This upcoming October 20 and 21, the results of this study will be released at the Colloque Génération C à Québec. Workshops and round tables will allow participants to contribute their views about the challenges of Generation C youth. For those not attending, we invite you to express your views in our Reader Response feature. Which challenges of this emerging generation do you find the most motivating?

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