While the oldest is just 9 years old, schools and universities are planning ahead for what is touted to be the most influential generation to come—the Alphas.
Coined by social researcher Mark McCrindle, the term ‘Generation Alpha’ pertains to anyone born between 2010 to 2024. As with all new generations, they bring with them new characteristics, imbued by the times, that educators will need to adjust to.
While most of them aren’t in school and some not even born yet, there are some generational features that we can now derive. These generalizations, based on what we’ve seen from previous generations, will help coaches and educators tackle the unique needs of Generation Alpha.
They’re beyond tech-savvy
Barely out of a diaper, the Alphas will be surrounded with technology. They’re a generation more accustomed to swiping an iPad and speaking to a voice assistant than any other generation. This unprecedented access to technology will be key to their development. While some parents may want to minimize screen time, Nir Eyal from Stanford University highlights that it’s a mistake to control it all the time. In fact, he notes that technological autonomy will play a vital role in developing this generation.
They will be educated through technology
In line with the above, they will also be born into an educational system that will continue to integrate technology into its curricula. There are already many examples of this happening. One such trend is the Apple Distinguished School certification that universities in the US have been awarded. As a recipient, Maryville University explains how “Apple grants this designation to schools and universities that have a track record of technological leadership in education.” Today many schools now use apps and extended reality in the classroom, with 65% of K-12 classrooms using tablets. These educational institutions are setting the standards for what Alphas will experience in the future.
They will come from more diverse backgrounds
Racial diversity is another defining feature of this generation. As Huffpost reports, Generation Alpha “…will have a high share of children with foreign-born parents and children who are foreign-born themselves, representing more countries around the world than previous generations.” This will also be reflected in socioeconomic inequality. As the gap concerning income inequality in the US grows, so will the diverse experience of the Alphas growing up in these times. Educators and coaches will need to consider this diverse society in how they plan and teach their lessons. Generation Alpha will be much more open to inclusivity and also much more aware of gender issues.
Of course, many of the alphas are still young and these trends are far from final. But there’s never anything wrong with being prepared to effectively shape these young minds.
Thanks to guest blogger Jendi Braham for this post.