Gen Alpha And Learning In the New World
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Gone are the days when a classroom meant blackboards, chalk and heaps of books. The modern schooling setup is quite tech-oriented, to best fit the needs of Generation Alpha.
Gen Alpha refers to those born between 2010 and 2024. They are the children of millennial parents, with the oldest children having turned ten in 2020. With over 2 million Gen Alphas born every week, it is estimated that there will be 2 billion by 2025. India is poised to have the largest population of Gen Alphas, followed by China and Indonesia.
Many social researchers foresee that this generation will be the most technologically engaged group with access to the best formal education. With these forecasts, how this generation engages with learning is a conversation of great importance. Gen Alpha entirely comprises children who are ten years old and below and are enrolled in preschools or primary schools, with most of those who have access to education.
Their classrooms are very different from anything that millennials would be accustomed to. The parents of Gen Alpha and the children themselves want a more responsive learning system. To suit these tech-savvy young learners, personalized learning programmes, learning through play, S.T.E.M. and S.T.E.A.M. focused curriculums, and reinventing the training for early educators have become the order of the day for educational systems. The 1:20 teacher-pupil classrooms have always been under heavy scrutiny, and Gen Alpha is no exception. Deeper research into personalized learning experiences and the need to focus on critical thinking, problem-solving, cultural sensitivity, and environmental awareness now form the most basic expectations that millennials have, for education systems that are worthy of their Gen Alpha offspring.
Also, the importance of physical and mental health in the process of learning has come to play a more critical role than ever before. Personalized learning programmes are just a start. Learning, whether at home or in classrooms, needs to evolve so that children can thrive among peer and problem-solve for real-world issues in a healthy, positive environment.
Assessment methods also need a quick overhaul and go beyond test scores in centralized exams. The focus needs to shift to social, moral and holistic development. Young children have always learnt through play. While older generations hoarded coloring books and action figures, Gen Alpha is born digital. Most of their favourite pastimes are mobile apps. The amount of online content that children today consume is exponentially more than even a generation before them.
Traditional educational institutions cannot be expected to fill this need, and digitizing existing content is not the answer. There is an imminent need for new, engaging and relevant learning systems.
To meet the requirements of Gen Alpha, many private tech startups have begun to innovate, gamify and create a better educational paradigm. We already see higher engagements and extended sessions on many digital play-and-learn platforms. Using augmented reality and other technologies can unlock a whole new dimension of interactive experiences that are rich, engaging and meaningful.
We’re preparing a generation for a world we cannot imagine, and jobs that don’t currently exist. The best we can do is to continually innovate, reinvent, and stay invested in their growth.