Educating Generation Z

A New Way of Learning and Teaching

It used to be, if a student knew the three “Rs” of reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic, they were well on their way to success. But much has changed in the past 25 years. Generation Z (individuals born between 1996 and 2011) is the first generation that doesn’t remember life without the three “Ss” smartphones, social media and streaming networks.

“Our current student population has always had the internet and instant access to information,” said Shelly Wheeler, Principal at Saint Dominic Academy’s Auburn campus (grades 7-12). “Technology is at their fingertips and they use it for everything, from socializing to watching movies and doing homework - all at the same time. It makes sense that the best way to engage this generation of learners is through technology.”

While the three “Rs” remain vital to a quality education, St. Dom’s teaching methods have changed to keep up with the modern world and the learning style of this tech-savvy generation - interweaving traditional classroom techniques with technology.

“We use online programs to reinforce our teachers’ curricula,” said Marianne Pelletier, Principal at St. Dom’s elementary campus in Lewiston. “For example, a teacher will show students how to do a math problem and then students will practice using fun and engaging math games online. Teachers can monitor each student’s activity and see where they are succeeding and where they might need extra instruction.” A survey done by Barnes and Noble College (available at shows that Gen Zers are engaged learners who want to be part of the learning process. They want a full, hands-on education where class discussions and group projects take precedence over lectures and rote memorization.

“Today’s students really thrive in a collaborative environment,” said Pelletier. “Our 5th and 6th grade students worked together to describe what civilizations would be like on the moon and under the sea, then, they built prototypes of those colonies using 3D printers. That’s innovative thinking.”

The CAD lab at St. Dom’s Auburn campus is also a favorite among students. It’s often a hub of activity before and after school. Students are creating everyday items such as cell phone covers and combs. The robotics team members are

frequent visitors to the lab, making parts for their prototypes in preparation for their robotics competitions.

According to the Barnes and Noble survey, middle and high school aged Gen Zers value a good education and how it will secure their place in the future. At the high school level, St. Dom’s offers courses at college prep, honors, and advanced placement (AP) levels. In addition, hundreds of courses are available online and students are taking advantage of them.

According to Wheeler, Gen Zers want a learning environment that isn’t confined to the classroom. They want online access to courses 24/7. “Students want classes that they can complete around their schedules,” said Wheeler. “They are also eager to take courses to earn college credits while in high school to reduce the cost of college. We are working on opportunities to make this happen."

Those opportunities and many more. With a 100% graduation rate and 100% college acceptance, St. Dom’s students are ready for success.

Posted in: Academic News 
Post Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 9:44 AM