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What Is Gen Z Thinking and Doing, and How Can Educators Capitals on That to Engage Them?


I found this post on TikTok https://www.tiktok.com/t/ZTRSC5HSV/?k=1, and I thought it was worth mentioning and considering for your reading. Gary Vaynerchuk made some thought-provoking arguments about gen z discovering their options. The 16–30-year-old generation, who grew up on ROBLOX, for example, are figuring out that they have the option, according to Gary Vaynerchuk, and he may be right! They are more thoughtful, creative, and strategic than we give them credit. And I feel educators need to consider his idea because this could be a strategy to reach and engage gen z, who may not find going to school interesting to invest their time and even opt out of going to college altogether. They're savvier and creative with technology. So, it comes as no surprise that many of them are using various apps to create content and even developing their apps. The part of this conversation I find interesting is gen z creating content and monetizing it. If this is where they are, how do and can we, as educators, learn from gen z and be more creative with our curriculum to make it more engaging.


So, what is content, and what is the goal of content creation? According to What is Content Creation? 3 Steps to Creating Web Content (conductor.com), content can take many forms—blog posts, videos, eBooks, Tweets, infographics, and advertisements, to name a few. And accordingly, a content creator is someone responsible for the imagination, creation, and distribution of content that connects a brand to its target audience.


What is the goal of a content creator? The purpose of content creators, according to conduction.com, is to create appealing and engaging content that captures the attention of users to drive website traffic, conversions, and interactions with your brand on external platforms like social. According to conductor.com., the content creation does not have to be informational only? The goal of content creation is not only to entertain or to increase brand awareness. I would venture to suggest that we could use the same idea in our project base assignments in STEM or STEAM education. In place of midterm and final examinations, we could provide our students with some rubrics and have the students complete a project base activity, creating content and collaborating as a culminating activity. Not only could facilitators learn what their students have learned from their creative work, but put it another way, it is another way to make learning equitable for their students.

I learned how to make video content from my 13-year-old son. And I learned about using many of the following platforms on social media services, which include but are not limited to LinkedIn, Meta, YouTube, QQ, Quora, Telegram, WhatsApp, Signal, LINE, Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit, Discord, Microsoft Teams from my 16-year-old.


Although she wanted to post her content drawings on social media, I set up a boundary, for now, to post on one of the social platforms until she became an adult. I have learned how to build a website with one of the templates on wix.com at a minimal price, thanks to my daughter. I now post some content on Instagram and Facebook and blog on my website regularly, thanks to my daughter.


I remember creating the video content for using MR. O'S SAUCE & OIL. It was my son who introduced me to the video editing app called Kapwing. He learned how to use Kapwing for video editing while watching him. You should have seen him. I asked myself, where did he learn this skill? Indeed, I did not teach him. What an irony! My son is teaching me!


However, I felt fulfilled through this interaction with both my son and daughter, not only because I allowed myself to be a student but allowing them to share their skills by doing something worthwhile for me, deepening our relationship.


Could recognizing that our students have skills that are marketable and thinking out of the box be another paradigm shift in education? I am not sure, but it is worth discovering as a way to engage our students by having them utilize their experiential skills to solve a problem or come up with a solution to a problem.


What's the takeaway from Gary Vaynerchuk's video post and my experience? Students have options because they are more talented than what we give them enough credit. What we need to do as educators is keep up with their talents and their evolution. We, the educators, have to be in tune with our students when it comes to the use of technology and content creation. And we need to step up our game in terms of upgrading our skills, especially with technology and knowledge in content creation, to keep up with gen z and the younger generation. They are in tune with technology, social media, and content creation. Think about it, they are always on their cell phones or some apps.


In addition, the e-economy is at full throttle, and gen z appears to be one of the factors driving this phenomenon because they are tech-savvy. Because Gen z has an impact not only on the culture but also on the e-economy Gen Z's Impact on the Economy Is Leading To Major Changes With Credit, (ethicalswag.ca, the school systems have to start to rethink better ways of engaging gen z and the next generation.


The waves are coming, and no one can stop their waves. It is not too late to learn. So, therefore, jump into the waters and learn how to ride the wave by learning and staying current with the things (like content creation and integrating tech) that could engage and better prepare your student for this new economy that is already vibrant. Here is a link to the top 12 content creation apps 12 Best Content Creation Apps: Unique Features and Teamwork (fixthephoto.com). You could have your students collaborate to create content based on knowledge and skill acquired in the content areas. Science teachers could also collaborate with teachers in visual arts to help their students create some fantastic.


Finally, If I may use an excerpt from Learning-Found-Forward-Looking-Framework.pdf (newsela.com) about a teacher who, "instead of reading The Knight's Tale by Chaucer, as it was printed in 10pt font in our ten-pound textbook, we'd be reading the novel behind the movie that they knew by heart. No instructional choice I made that year brought greater engagement to my classroom than for that novel to serve as the basis for continued discussions and writing assignments. When I asked the class, as an exercise, to invent a new character and write two pages of their back story, I received some of the most compelling, heartfelt narrative prose I've read by students in any setting. This was a work with which they connected on the deepest level, which both in parts mirrored their lived experiences and provided windows into aspects of the human condition that were new to them. With The Color Purple on our desks, the possibilities for engagement were limitless."


Thank you.

Authored by Dr. Ayo Olufade, Ph.D. in Curriculum and Teaching.

Think STEM Careers! You Have The Opportunity to Create The Future And The Privilege Of Deciding What’s In It! ~ Dr. Ayo Olufade, PhD

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