Today, there was an article in the local newspaper saying that the primary school where I spent the last the last two years of my primary education, is being transformed into a new kind of school. What kind of school you ask? A Steve Jobs School.
My first reaction was: “Really? Steve Jobs is having a school named after him? Why? What on earth did he have to do with education? Besides the fact that apparently pen and paper are outdated and iPads are the new way to go”. But apparently that was not all. With this new name comes a whole different teaching method.
Apparently a Steve Jobs School needs to differentiate from other schools by broader school times and flexible lesson periods. According to the developer, Maurice de Hond, are schools running on outdated methods and aren’t adjusting to innovation fast enough. This new kind of school isn’t a school anymore but a fluent system based on a virtual school. Learning everywhere and whenever you want. It’s a combination between a classic school and a innovative school.
It is a building where education and kindergarten are integrated and that will be open for 50 weeks a year between the hours of 07:00 am and 06:30 pm. Regular school periods or holidays don’t exist.
A Jobs School doesn’t have classrooms with a teacher but areas where kids can work on different tasks on iPads or other electronic devices while a coach (note: the word teacher is deliberately not used here) monitors the child’s progress.
As someone who has a passion for Education, who is studying to get a Masters degree in Educational Science, who wants to work at schools and protect the integrity of education, I can get extremely angry about this.
What is left of education as we know it in this new method? Nothing. There are no teachers, no classrooms, no regulation, there aren’t even set times that the kid has to spend in school anymore. What we have instead is a cold, impersonal environment where children can come in whenever they desire and work on an iPad the whole day, deciding what they have to do and when themselves. There is little interaction with a teacher (who aren’t even called teachers anymore) and, I imagine, all instruction will come directly from the iPad.
I mean.. what? Sure, people say that this the way that education is heading and that this is ‘innovative’ and what not but there is a huge difference between using a Smartboard or iPads in class and just making everything completely electronic and individual.
How, in this new method, will kids work and play with their friends? If everyone can just decide for themselves when to take a break and when the families decide when the vacations are? What about all the things they learn about social interactions and society in regular classrooms? There are so much more things they learn in school than maths and English (or Dutch in this case). There is no way that they can replace that in this new method. I find it extremely irresponsible.
I mean.. what’s next? Cubicles?
We have all noticed that electronic devices have become more and more important in our lives and that especially younger children are barely able to live without them. When kids from a young age on work with iPad all day every day, and when this trend continues into higher education (where we also see a integration of traditional teaching and the usage of iPad or laptops or other tablets), the world will become what Albert Einstein has feared. If it hasn’t already.
I mourn for my old school and I mourn for education as a whole.
Please let me know what you think in the comments!