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Preparing for Generation Z: The Hippocampus Experiment at Ecole Centrale de Nantes

[+] Author Affiliations
Christine Evain, Simon Carolan, Morgan Magnin

Ecole Centrale de Nantes, Nantes, France

Paper No. ESDA2012-82034, pp. 291-299; 9 pages
  • ASME 2012 11th Biennial Conference on Engineering Systems Design and Analysis
  • Volume 4: Advanced Manufacturing Processes; Biomedical Engineering; Multiscale Mechanics of Biological Tissues; Sciences, Engineering and Education; Multiphysics; Emerging Technologies for Inspection and Reverse Engineering; Advanced Materials and Tribology
  • Nantes, France, July 2–4, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: International
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4487-8
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


Although social researchers who have written about Generation Z have found it difficult to classify the generation precisely, “Gen Z” is generally defined as the younger children of Generation X — in other words, Gen Z starts with today’s teenagers.

For the last fifteen years, technoculture theorists have been exploring the consequences of the wide availability of internet connectivity to the first generation of people born to it, who are referred to as “Digital Natives”. Their purpose is to address issues such as shifts in the concept of identity, privacy, content creation, activism, and piracy.

Our objective will be to apply the findings of generational experts to highlight possible avenues for pedagogical innovation in our University of science and engineering. We cover a range of questions:

What are the online behavioral differences between generation X, Y and Z?

What is our experience at ECN in terms of blended teacher and student driven pedagogies?

What is the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in education?

What are the expectations and contributions of the “Digital Natives” likely to be?

Our purpose will be to define the type pedagogical approach which has the potential to appeal to Gen Z and help them face the challenges of their generation.

This paper will be based on the research and testimonies of a wide range of experts: it will include the work of technoculture theorists such as John Palfrey, Urs Gasser and Cathy Davidson as well as our own practical experience at ECN, mainly the Hippocampus project.

Our purpose will be to determine how we — researchers and pedagogues — can draw on our present pedagogical experiences to prepare for generation Z1.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME



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