Who is Generation Alpha? Anyone born between 2010 and 2025 is considered Gen Alpha.
And what shall we expect of Generation Alpha? Are they going to be even more technology-oriented than their millennial parents and generation Z? With many of them not even born yet, our education and prediction experts are already designing or advising a future that is ready for the ‘new ones’.
Mostly they are seeing the trend that has started decades ago to continue – but are they missing some key components? Expert predictions:
1. More technology-based education: According to keystoneacademic , technology will be key, as Generation Alpha will be the most educated generation ever. They claim that by the age of eight, their technological skills will surpass that of their parents. That is quite likely the case, especially in families where technology is a highly regarded commodity and its use promoted and encouraged by parents.
Does this make them the most educated generation ever? Does a ton of information at our fingertips make us highly educated? Are we confusing information with education? If we consider education to be an enlightening experience, giving, receiving and creatively processing information, we also have to consider quality over quantity.
If technology expands the enlightening experience of learning, we are achieving a goal quicker, but often we are paying a higher price for it. With anxiety, overwhelm and mental health starting at an increasingly young age, we must consider the cost of more technology at home and in classrooms.
In all our discussions and the recommendation of the experts that Gen Alpha will need to have access to everything at all times, we are often forgetting another aspect. Apart from mental health, our experts will have to consider the impact on physical health with constant exposure to technology. Computers emit radiation. In fact, a laptop emits several different kinds of radiation: 400 to 800 THz electromagnetic radiation. Often these laptops sleep next to our children in bed.
2. Highly personalized learning: Keystone Academic is telling us that Gen Alpha needs a targeted learning experience, that lectures are not going to work for that generation – and they suggest online learning modules, delivered via Videos.
Those are great points and also something many educators would agree with. The problem is that we often don’t have the resources or even the knowledge on how to specialize the learning experience to cater for these creative, innovative, visual learners. Keystone Academics call it super-education, but fails to elaborate on what a super-education would look like.
These creative and usually visual learners first need to learn to read and write – and here it ought to start with personalized learning. They are not auditory learners and as they comment, lectures, therefore, are not going to be as effective. Visual learners need to become part of the literacy process, which means that they need to self-create and master the process. They are adverse to rote learning; to following rules, especially if they don’t make sense to them; and they need the information to align with their values to absorb and accept it.
3. Educators must adapt: Generation Alpha will also be more innovation-minded, entrepreneurial, technologically advanced, always seeking the latest and newest device. Good points, but how are our educators responding to this need?
Of course, they are much more than that. If their preceding generations are used as indicators of things to come, the ‘new’ ones will have an even more pronounced sense of fairness, a higher value system, confidence and they will seek inter-connection rather than competition. Collaboration and connection will be highly valued and they will seek to work with an industry that values their creative input and is aligned with their vision.
They will be aware of the importance of mental and emotional well-being and a better work-life balance. Are educators able to provide a useful framework for these needs and value?