Steve Jobs as Educational Guru. Apparently.

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 Besides the fact that apparently pen and paper are outdated and iPads are the new way to go”.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 According to the developer, Maurice de Hond, are schools running on outdated methods and aren’t adjusting to innovation fast enough.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! 

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Author: EMK

Just blogging away in my free time while I try to make something of my life

14 thoughts on “Steve Jobs as Educational Guru. Apparently.”

  1. This is the first time I’ve heard about this type of education being put in place. What a prospect!! On the one hand, I like the idea of returning to a more classical method with less formal hours and schedules – like when most people were taught by governesses and private tutors. It puts the responsibilty of learning back on the student, which I feel is where it should be. Of course there are “bad teachers” but they shouldn’t be an excuse for an inability to learn something.

    Now, on the other hand, I have to agree with you… and Albert. A generation raised, taught, and nurtured by iPads, computers, etc. is bound, it would seem to me, to be a generation of idiots. Instead of classrooms teaching important lessons like cooperation, compassion, even competition, they would become little more than one more place to “plug in” and ignore… Where will children see proper social interaction modeled and taught? Reducing Teachers from authorities to “coaches” is dangerous, especially at a primary level when children need to learn how to properly and respectfully work with authorities. How will they ever know how to interact with a boss”down the road?

    Thanks for posting! You gave me quite a bit of food for thought!
    N

    1. H! First of all, thanks for your comment!

      I get what you’re saying with putting the responsibility back on the student and I think that this is a good idea but for older students. High school and maybe even middle school but not for primary school. Students that age don’t even know how to learn yet and should not be in charge of their own eduction. I’m sure that it’s not as bad as that sounds but still.. if ‘teaching’ will only become monitoring the students progress via the computer .. They need supervision and encouragement.

      And, exactly! There are so many things that they learn just by interacting with those around them. It’s invaluable. But even more so.. do we want to raise children who don’t know how to write? What about arts and crafts? Will they learn photoshop instead of working scissors?

      It’s definitely an eye opener as to where education is heading!

  2. I am only a high school student. And yet, I feel so strongly about this subject as well. I grew up/ am growing up with the technology, but, I think that I am more of an old schooler. I get so sick of using technology at school. There isn’t a creative side to school any more, which I used to love. I’ve lost alot of creativity that I used to be proud of, because we don’t do enough of it in school any more and I don’t know how to continue at home.
    One of the things that bothers me most, is that in our English class, we basically aren’t even allowed to write things any more. We had to write a letter a few weeks ago to use for our grammar and spelling and all that good stuff. And I started writing it out, and she said, “Guys, this has to be typed. If it isn’t typed up I’ll dock points. ” Well then I wrote the whole things and typed it up… very annoyed. I like writing, typing gets frustrating for me really quickly.
    Another thing, our computer at home is over 10 years old… we can’t afford a new one. And so it is very frustrating when we are assigned a task that requires a computer because our computer for the most part, can’t do it. We can’t use powerpoint, or word.
    The use of technology frustrates me in school. I feel that I do not learn nearly as well, because we are sat down with a computer and said to do our work. We don’t lecture over it, we don’t talk about it in detail, and it’s just not… the way I remember being taught in younger years.
    This is probably a really sad response, with not much arguing towards it or good examples, because I’m really bad at that. But I just wanted to say something because, I read this and thought, EXACTLY!
    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. Hi! Thanks for commenting!

      The fact that you’re still in high school makes the fact that you agree with me on this even more awesome. I’m guessing that in high schools around the world there are loads of kids dying to throw away the pen and paper and just stick to computers. I’m glad you’re not one of them.

      I noticed this exact same problem in the school that I’m working at right now (also a high school). The student had to type up their assignments and if they didn’t, it wouldn’t even be graded. Partly this was because the assignment was a formal business letter and it had to be all neat but also because the students’ writing is becoming so intelligible that they have to type it up in order for the teachers to grade it properly. This says to me that students are writing so little nowadays that people can’t even read it anymore.

      To be honest, I could probably talk about this for hours! Haha but for now I will just say, keep writing! 🙂

      Hope to see you around!

      1. I am currently taking a science credit online because I need one more and couldn’t possibly deal with having those science teachers again (we have really awful science teachers…) and I’ve taken some extra random classes online because I have to…I don’t remember a single thing from those classes. Some of which I will need some day. Like personal finance. I want to know that really well, and I asked if I could take it as a class in the class room because it’s a new class in our school that just started two years ago. But they wouldn’t let me take it as a class because it was for freshman. And I’m a junior. That bothers me a lot. Now I don’t remember it and next year I’ll have to start learning it sort of on my own and that’s digging right in. After next year I’m on my own and will need that information more than ever for a successful financial life, which I really want.

        I as well, could probably go on and on, but… I lack good examples. 😛

  3. Whoa this is crazy, I hate the idea! How are kids going to become inspired when their only contact is with an iPad? Eugh. Speaking from personal experience I often find certain teachers (you know the type, those particularly good ones you never forget) are the ones that inspire us to not only enjoy education but continue on to do further education! Eugh don’t like this idea, not at all.

    1. Exactly! How many of the great greats out there have gotten there because there was a teacher who inspired them to do it all?

      The developers of this idea have just taken the idea of innovation and went completely crazy with it. It’s just one step too far.

  4. This sounds just like a re-hash of the Montessori method, doesn’t it? Hardly a new idea. I’m all for innovation in education, having been a frustrated high school English teacher and principal until a month ago, and I support student-centred teaching, but this is just no teaching at all. And as you say, interaction is going to suffer for it. Already kids will rather text the person sitting next to them than talk to them.

    As you are passionate about education, check out this manifesto of Seth Godin http://www.squidoo.com/stop-stealing-dreams Some of his ideas are a bit out there and it’s very much based on the US school system and social context, but it’s worth a read.

    1. It does seem a sort of ‘high-tech’ version of Montessori and that fits because the school used to be a Montessori school but I guess the differences do lie basically ‘within the classroom’. Even though Montessori does give the student the autonomy in learning, it’s still a classroom with a teacher and the kid needs to be there on time in the morning and school lets out at 3 etc.

      I talked about this with a friend of mine who is a primary school teacher and she compared it to a ‘natural learning school’ where kids just go their own way, not having to sit in on any explanations if they don’t want to. But she says that that school has failed tremendously. I guess that pretty much says it all.

      It’s just creepy the way that society is heading.

      1. The problem is, if you give a child (and even teenagers and the majority of students) a choice between what’s good for them and what’s fun, nine out of ten will choose fun. Hell, I’m in my thirties and still struggle with that one. I cannot see a school system based on that working. But people are going to flock towards it simply because it’s new and innovative and in our society we believe if it’s new it’s better. Sadly not true, as everyone who recently upgraded to the iPhone 5 found out the hard way 😉

  5. Nice to read your critical thoughts about this dubious attempt to automate education – an approach that insists that children are baptised in the Church of High Technology long before they are in a position to understand the technocracy that they are being brought up to perpetuate.

    You seem to be thinking along lines not too disimilar to those we are trying to think along on our digitalcounterrevolution.co.uk blog.

    One minor gripe, though: Perhaps that Einstein quote at the end detracts a little from the strength of your case. It would seem that it is fake. See the discussion here: http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/03/19/tech-surpass/

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