Adobe Education
Educators and Professional Development Specialists

Research: Gen Z in the Classroom

Presentation Published 11/11/16 Last updated on 2/28/20

Generation Z (11-17 year olds) is growing up in a world that looks completely different from the one their parents and teachers grew up in. To learn more about Gen Z, Adobe launched a study of over 1,000 students in the U.S. and 400+ of their teachers to find out how this generation thinks about creativity, technology and their futures beyond the classroom. The findings give us insights into how teachers can nurture Gen Z’s creativity, and prepare them for the challenges ahead.

“This study underscores that the vast majority of educators understands the integral role that creativity and creative thinking play in solving many of the world’s challenges,” said Dr. Gerard J. Puccio, leading creativity researcher and Department Chair and Professor at the International Center for Studies in Creativity at SUNY Buffalo. “Teachers, administrators and education leaders face a huge challenge in preparing their students for today’s world, and can show they are serious about this duty by taking action to update the curriculum to better reflect 21st century skills and support professional development.”

The students in our study told us that they are excited and nervous about the future. And it’s no wonder they feel this way—94% of their teachers believe Gen Z will work in careers that haven’t even been imagined yet. We can’t prepare them for the exact work they’ll do, but we can teach them to be life-long learners, to be creators, to solve problems and express themselves using whatever tools are available. Imagine a young person coming to a job interview with an app she built in class. When she shows it to a potential employer, she’s demonstrating a specific technology skill, but she’s also showing her ability to communicate and solve a problem in a creative way. These are the skills employers tell us they need. Wherever Gen Z goes, these skills will help take them there.

Download the findings and an infographic from Adobe’s survey, Gen Z in the Classroom: Creating the Future, below.

Tell us what you think! Participate in a discussion on Preparing Gen Z for the future here:

CC License
Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives
5 / 5 • 5 Ratings

Resources (1)

or Join for free to access materials
File Size

Comments (4)

Write a reply...
or Join for free to view all comments and participate in the discussion.

deborah barnes

Posted on 11/17/16 4:43:11 PM Permalink

​Hello I see the thinking that ignores super reality and inconvenient "Externialities" (D Suzuki) at work once again.

As a web designer -degreed in 2004, i have seen a lovely frontier turn into a virtual billboard of screaming ads and "forced" dependencies. As a visual artist and video editor, arts installer and a designer creator of recycouture garb, i have adored Adobe. However seeing it fold into this ever hungry "thing" saddens me. Isn't this article forcing the old pattern of expectation, the old entice, trap and exploit model that empire building has utilized again and again?

How is this considered progress?

Studies on brain changes have shown that the less 4d playtime, the less natural world exposure a child has the less "abled" they are to freely be curious and creative. Funneling all experiments toward a "can it make money" agenda kills a lot of potential that if nurtured could expand the whole of thinking and what untapped possibilities not yet even imaginable live there?

I received an environmental science degree in 2012 because i felt the imbalance and i think many of us do. It can be difficult to air this in public but if not now when?

Remember "the thinking that made the problem will not find the solution" loosely Einstein


"We can and must do better than this" Dr Suess



Shelley Read

Posted on 11/16/16 10:03:35 PM Permalink

​Speaking as a careers counsellor and Technology educator (Australia), I find the key points and
"​recommendations" of this survey make it clear that we must to engage more with higher education and business. As educators we need to give students every opportunity to develop and practice problem solving in (and out) of the classroom using both technology and creative thinking - skills that come naturally to GenZ. Having a STEM coordinator & education team who is willing to work with careers advisors seems like a great way to create opportunities for students to build dynamic and ongoing relationships between universities and business.

Bob Tuttle

Posted on 11/16/16 6:35:41 PM Permalink

​I have been telling people in schools and in business that they need to think differently about education and training, and this report is one of the best I have seen in confirming this. In today's world market, we need to differentiate ourselves, especially in education and training.

Shelley Read

Posted on 11/16/16 10:04:17 PM Permalink

Thanks Bob. I agree.