How Generation ‘C’ will change Education…forever

“In the course of the next 10 years, a new generation—Generation C—will emerge…As they grow up, this highly connected generation will live “online” most of their waking hours…” (Friedrich et al., 2012).

Move over generation X, Y and Z. The new group in town is Generation ‘C’, dubbed so in February 2012 by Nielsen Wire – yet generation ‘C’ is universal (in developed nations) according to Booz & Company Global management company. I predict we’re going to hear much more about this expanding, connected and media savvy group of 18 – 34 year olds, and we educators need to sit up and pay attention. I’ll share with you what I’ve learned about this group, and more importantly what this means for teaching and learning sooner rather than later.

Who are Generation ‘C’s?
Who are these people? I first heard of this term from my boss after he attended a social media marketing seminar – my interest was piqued.  I’ve heard of Digital Natives, and the connected generation, but Generation ‘C’? My research began – and I discovered it is a new term, as new as this year (as mentioned) — but digging further I realized the data collected and presented (more for marketers and businesses,) has tremendous value for educators, professors, administrators, parents, and educational technologists.

A Snapshot…
I found this most excellent report presented by Booz & Company, (which seems to have an impressive resume I might add). I’ve insert the report at the bottom of this post, but here are the worthy highlights:

They are Generation C—connected, communicating, content-centric, computerized, community-oriented, always clicking. As a rule, they were born after 1990 and lived their adolescent years after 2000. In the developed world, Generation C encompasses everyone in this age group; in the BRIC countries, they are primarily urban and suburban. By 2020, they will make up 40 percent of the population in the U.S., Europe, and the BRIC countries, and 10 percent in the rest of the world—and by then, they will constitute the largest group of consumers worldwide.

Wow — ok, this means learners, not just consumers [the marketing perspective] are content-centric, connected and community-oriented, [this sounds familiar…] which means educators need to adapt, change, and transform.

Why we need to pay attention…
But how will we adapt, educate and reach Generation ‘C’? Will this work…

Or this?

Photo 2010:Queens University, by SecurEdge

Perhaps this [yes – that’s a blackboard at the front of the lecture hall]…

2011 Classroom: Post Renovation by Keven Creamer (Flickr)

I am being somewhat facetious. Somewhat. My point is, change is imminent – learners of today are not learners of 20 years ago, even 10 years ago.  Education delivery methods, places of learning, and more importantly pedagogy needs to change and in order to reach these new learners.

Change goes beyond offering online classes, educational apps, or mobile learning options – a fundamental shift in how we think about education is necessary, a new vision is needed.  Generation C will drive change, push us forward, whether we are ready or not.  It’s up to us to study, think and create new ways of teaching and learning for our future.

I’ll have more to say about what we can do as educators in my next post, so please check back later this week.  Until then, take a moment to review the report below which gives an in-depth analysis of Gen ‘C’, albeit from a marketing perspective. At the end of the report are some great info-graphics as well.

Keep Learning :)

The Rise of Generation ‘C’

10 thoughts on “How Generation ‘C’ will change Education…forever

  1. These are already realities in education for Gen Y. How is Gen C different than Gen Y or even Gen X? Gen X was already comfortable with PCs and Blackberries, and Gen Y is the true digital native. I think Gen C will be defined more by yet an the environmental and political context – global warming of the arctic, for eg., possible larger scale nuclear wars or brink situations… and the emphasis of integration of technology to solve problems and change lifestyles. If forever clicking is a suggested characteristic of Gen C, then that does not forebode well for this group, for we are seeing the popping up of PC/gaming-device bootcamps in every affluent city around the world and you should add ADHD to the list of characteristics as well.

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