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BYOD In Higher Education: Developing a Print Strategy for Gen Z


The printed document (as you’ll read more below) remains a very relevant mode of consumption for Generation Z. However, the preferred means for doing so is unequivocally mobile.

A generation ago, one glance at a bustling on-campus computer lab, and you knew: Mid-terms must be right around the corner.

However, this traditional hub for course research has migrated to coffee shops, residence halls, student centers, cafes and anywhere else a student can access Wi-fi. The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Movement, being currently led by Generation Z, creates increasing complexities for Higher Education IT personnel hoping not to get sacked by the onslaught of devices.

Mobile printing is certainly part of the BYOD equation to be solved. The printed document (as you’ll read more below) remains a very relevant mode of consumption for Generation Z. However, the preferred means for doing so is unequivocally mobile. Students essentially want to print on the move. 

3 Things You Should Know About Gen Z:

1. Mobility isn’t a preference — it’s an assumed part of life.

Gen Z simply grew up in a mobile technology environment.

According to a study by the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA , “The average attention span of a Millennial is 12 seconds. Gen Z is even lower: 8 seconds. If something does not make a meaningful connection with them quickly, they simply move on to something else with a touch of their finger.”

89 Percent of Gen Z surveyed owned a smart phone. For a generation who never knew a life without Google, mobile phones and Wi-fi. 47% surveyed say they spend, according to Pearson Education Inc., three hours a day on YouTube alone.

2. Collaborative, engaging learning Is essential.

Passive learning is definitely passé.

According to UPCEA, approximately 51% of current Gen Z students surveyed said they learn best by doing, while only 12 percent said they learn through just listening. Key “wants” listed in the report include:

  • Incorporating video and online visual media as well as in-person class discussions and activities
  • Individualized, customizable curriculum for each student
  • Unlimited access to teaching materials and resources

Developing collaboration tools like video conferencing, content management, file sharing, texting, etc., and integrating them into your curriculum will help promote that collaborative learning environment your students are seeking.

2. Print is not dead to Generation Z.

According to a Printing Industries of America Report on the role of print in the lives of Generation Z, the findings might come as a surprise to many. Gen Zers:

  • Spend about 1 hour each week reading magazines
  • Prefer reading printed books
  • Favor printed learning materials (textbooks, research articles) to help them focus
  • Value print media and trust print publications more than digital media

3 Things You Should Know Regarding Your Campus Mobile Print Capabilities: 

1. Is your print solution easily utilized?

Regardless of their physical location, can your users can leverage their compatible smartphones or tablets to submit and release their print jobs in a managed setting? Must they scramble through multiple apps or steps just to print out an email from their device?

Remember Gen Z’s attention span is 8 seconds – if it ain’t intuitive, it ain’t happening.

2. Is it properly tracked and, if applicable, charged back correctly?

The more devices that come into play, the harder it becomes to maintain visibility of print activity.

According to Papercut, the average student wastes 3,200 sheets of paper annually. To help reduce wasteful printing and promote better habits, visibility must be high and tracking of print behavior must be accessible. Likewise, you need a solution that enables printing, but also lets users pay without unnecessary hassle.

3. Is your print environment secure?

Higher Education, like any other business or organization, holds no immunity to data breach. From student transcripts to dissertations to health and financial data, what is spilling out of the printer must be properly authenticated and secured.

When a print job is released, whether its via desktop, tablet or smart phone - are there proper authentication steps that spring into action? 

Are you ready to develop a mobile print strategy that supports Gen Z's mobile instincts? Is your institution ready to manage necessary printing, reduce unnecessary printing, and maximize your budget? Click below to learn more about what Print Management can do for your college or university!

Learn more about print management ›


Topics: Color Printing Print Management Education Tips and Tools Mobile Printing