The Use of Cloud-Computing to Promote Collaborative Learning in Higher Education

The Use of Cloud-Computing to Promote Collaborative Learning in Higher Education

Melissa S. Martin (University of South Carolina – Aiken, USA), Rachel E. Hugues (State University of New York at Plattsburgh, USA) and Alison Puliatte (State University of New York at Plattsburgh, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7763-8.ch002
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Generation Z students are inherently different than previous generations. These students may need adapted forms of instruction in order to match their learning styles. Collaborative learning can be adapted using cloud-computing, which helps students work together online and manage their interactions. These students may benefit from a technological twist to a common instructional strategy and are inclined to use online means of communication to complete coursework. Technology has dominated the educational experiences of these students and they are no strangers to collaborative work through e-learning platforms. Higher education institutions and instructors must develop the format of courses in order to meet the technological learning preferences of Generation Z.
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Characteristics Of Generation Z Students

With the arrival of Generation Z students on college campuses, it is important for faculty and staff to glean information about this vastly different generation. A major difference between this generation and the preceding generations is the use of technology, but that is not the only way in which these students are different than their predecessors. According to Seemiller and Grace (2016), this is the “most racially diverse generation” (p. 6) that the world has shaped into solution-oriented students who rely on technology. Because of their life experiences (e.g., September 11th and subsequent war on terrorism), these students provide a different perspective and seem to have different goals than the most recent students to graduate from college (e.g., the millennials). Seemiller & Grace (2016) conducted a nationwide study to learn more about this generation. Results indicate that this generation views themselves as responsible (69% of respondents), loyal (85%), and determined (74%). The authors of this study believe their experiences in the world have shaped these views and made them more self-sufficient.

Technology seems to be a major difference for Generation Zers, as they were born and raised in a “highly technological era” (Seemiller & Grace, 2016, p. 6). In fact, these students were born with technology that many of us did not have access to until much later in life. Smartphones and social media are commonplace and used throughout much, if not all, of their lives. In fact, these students are often referred to as “digital natives” (Brotheim, 2014; Turner, 2015; Seemiller & Grace, 2016) and they “identify themselves and their lives in digital terms” (Zorn, 2017, p. 61).

Because of this unending access to technology, Generation Zers are well-versed in how to find information. They have grown up knowing and using Google and other search engines to essentially have an abundance of knowledge at their fingertips (Zorn, 2017). Therefore, unlike previous students, Generation Zers likely do not need training related to technology skills when entering college. Oftentimes, they seem to arrive on campus knowing far more than the instructors about technological opportunities and advancements.

Not surprisingly, Generation Zers spend more time than other generations online and using media. According to Turner (2015), results from a study comparing online usage from 2004 to 2009 indicated that students spend over an additional hour more using media per day than previous generations of students. Almost a decade later, we venture that students in 2019 likely use media for an even greater amount of time than in 2009. This generation also prefers to use social media and other online platforms to communicate. Unlike previous generations, Generation Zers almost exclusively use technology to communicate with family members, friends, and peers. According to Brotheim (2014), these students receive about 100 text messages daily. Although this seems like an extensive amount of online interaction, it appears students in this generation value and prefer this method of communication.

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