I keep up with the current and historical data and trends on what to generally know about each generation. I am a Baby Boomer. I was born in 1958 — almost in the middle of the 1946 – 1964 range when we were cast as the biggest group of babies born in modern times.
I love my age colleagues. Yet, I love the Millennnials (1980 – 2004), Gen Xers (squeezed in between the Millis and Gen Zers), and my iGen or Gen Zers. Why? They are rebels. They are inquisitive and if you answer their queries in a thorough manner and never tire of the questions, they are forever engaged in your space.
As a university professor, I am fortunate to learn from a lively group of young people. My current semester’s classes have their own cultures. In one class, my sophomores, juniors and a few seniors are interested in the how-tos of blogging and podcasting. The other class is interested in writing drills and building confidence in their writing. The other class is interested in learning more about the multi-media and public relations/affairs environment. In all, the students have these factors in common: They want to learn more, they do not like traditional textbooks and varied classroom engagements are their favorite distractions from regularly checking social media posts on their portable devices. They respect data, especially when they count the number of views and likes one has on their social media posts. That’s why I’ve included just one of my social media stats from @Quora. See the weekly stats that are the featured image in this post.
I learn from this group. I engage with them through the traditional school-based tools — Blackboard and iRattler — yet, I utilize all social media formats identified by them and me as their key sources of news and information. I also blog and am a frequent contributor on @Quora and LinkedIn’s private mentor platform. My email and text features are also open to students. I incorporate games into the learning modules, conduct quizzes and offer surveys. Visuals, including live TV news shows, podcasts and “Skyped-in” telecasts are included. They also love the in-person appearances of grads, especially those on the celebrity level.
I recommend to my colleagues to consider different approaches to reaching this important group of our current and future leaders. Often, my peers quip to me something like, “it must be tough teaching Millennials and the other Gens.” I answer back: “No, it is easy. They know everything!” My response is meant to be a joke, because the one feature of my favorite group of folk is that they believe that they know a lot because they are digital natives. Naw. When it comes to insight on interpersonal skills development, general life skills, effective workplace decorum and similar “basic” life experiences, my favorite group of young people are well … er uh … lacking.
The upshot: We all have a lot to learn from one another.