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Gen Z Needs A Very Different Kind of Classroom

In this Glass is in Session podcast, Trey Harris, Education Market Manager at Clarus, discusses education sales at the university level. For the better part of the first decade of his career, Harris worked in architectural photography, led national marketing for the planning and landscape architecture division of a national A/E firm, and honed his skills as a professional communicator. Now at Clarus, having joined last year to lead education sales, he has visited 92 universities in nine months. There, he’s seen a trend across the board: classrooms aren’t equipped for Generation Z.

“The in-house designers at the university, when they’re looking at what they want their classrooms to be, how do they filter all this new generation’s needs,” Harris said. Higher education is such an enticing market not only because older adults are returning to college, but because of the size of Generation Z; the majority are just now entering college, but soon will be making up 40 percent of all consumers. He notes that Gen Z is very different from both Gen Y (Millennials) and Gen X, saying, “security and stability” are what they value most.

“Technology is integrated into their lives at birth,” Harris says. “Technoholics would be an understatement.” He discusses how although Gen X will move companies, they do not move industries. It’s becoming clear that Gen Z are what he terms “career multitaskers,” meaning they will move industries throughout their working lives. They want their hobbies to be their professions, and this innate flexibility need to be expressed in their learning process. Harris explains how Clarus helps universities make the design and technological transition Gen Z expects, empowering project-based learning and flipped classrooms through collaborative technology like the glassboard.