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Dutch 'Steve Jobs schools' to use Apple's iPad for entire education experience

post #1 of 41
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This August, 11 so-called "Steve Jobs schools" will open in the Netherlands, serving 1,000 students primarily through educational apps on Apple's iPad, replacing everything from books to blackboards.

Education


The unique concept will ditch strict schedules, formal classes, seating charts, and other longtime staples of the education experience, according to Spiegel. Instead, children ages 4 through 12 located in the town of Breda will use an iPad to access learning programs of their choosing, and complete them at their own pace.

Teachers will remain, but rather than sharing knowledge, their job will be that of a "learning coach." Because the entire curriculum is digital, students will be able to complete their classwork whenever and wherever they choose, in or outside of the classroom.A so-called 'Steve Jobs school' will use Apple's iPad to focus on three core skills: arithmetic, reading, and text comprehension.

"The iPad keeps teachers and parents constantly informed about what children are doing, what they have learned, and how they are progressing," Marco Evers reported. "If a math app is neither enjoyable nor successful, the teacher simply orders another one. The supply of educational programs never runs dry in Apple's online store."

Core skills for students will be arithmetic, reading and text comprehension. Each student's curriculum will be decided collectively by the student, their teachers, and their parents every six weeks.

Non-iPad portions of the experience will be typical playtime activities, including building, drawing, and getting physical exercise. The concept was created by public opinion researcher Maurice de Hond.

Apple's iPad has become the tablet of choice as educators look to go digital in the classroom, though most current programs are not as radical as the one that will kick off this August in the Netherlands.

In California, L.A. Unified School District announced last month that it inked a $30 million contract with Apple to provide iPads preloaded with educational software to every student it serves. The deal was a major win for Apple, as the Los Angeles district is the second-largest in the U.S.

Another program in Idaho called "iSchool Campus" has also earned rave reviews from educators and students alike. In addition to providing a more engaging way to teach students, Apple's tablet has also helped reduce costs at Paul Elementary in Minidoka County, Idaho, by eliminating 20,000 paper copies a month.
post #2 of 41

It would've been awkward for them to have made any other choice.

post #3 of 41
I love my iPad, and think it can be a great tool for education, but I think there's plenty you lose going to a model like the one in the Netherlands.
post #4 of 41
Bill Gates couldn't understand why Microsoft wasn't allowed to bid for usage of the Surface RT which is just as good as any iPad if not better.
post #5 of 41

"Plenty to lose"? Like being able to sleep through class? Like cheating on exams? Like not having to think for yourself and just believing what the teacher tells you? That'd be just awful!!!

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post #6 of 41
APPLE IS DOOMED!!!!!!!!
post #7 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irving Muller View Post

I love my iPad, and think it can be a great tool for education, but I think there's plenty you lose going to a model like the one in the Netherlands.
Unless you know a lot more about this than the rest of us I think you may be speaking too early. Maybe the programmer will be very effective. The current educational methods have not changed much for years. Forcing kids to sit in rows in classrooms doing stuff they for the most part intensely dislike always struck me as a very poor way of imparting knowledge.
post #8 of 41
Quote:
children ages 4 through 12 ... will use an iPad to access learning programs of their choosing, and complete them at their own pace.

 

Good luck with that.

post #9 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post


Unless you know a lot more about this than the rest of us I think you may be speaking too early. Maybe the programmer will be very effective. The current educational methods have not changed much for years. Forcing kids to sit in rows in classrooms doing stuff they for the most part intensely dislike always struck me as a very poor way of imparting knowledge.


You don't think schools are primarily for education do you?  Their principal function is to act as child-minding centres so their parents can go to work.

 

Examples abound of home schooled children who significantly out-perform traditionally educated children, even though their hours of study are a fraction as long.

post #10 of 41
The iPad is becoming engrained in so many aspects of our societal infrastructure that displacing it as the dominant tablet anytime soon, seems impossible.
post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

Good luck with that.

I agree that allowing kids to learn at their own pace can be hard to implement, but we do have a few high schools schools here in Ontario that do just that. Students can complete the work whenever they want, as long as it is all completed by the end of term. If a student is motivated then it can work well, however there are lots of students who aren't, which creates problems.

It will be interesting to see how this pans out. With the parents involved also, it may work quite well. Kids may be excited about learning if they are playing games and using an iPad. On the other hand, it could be a huge distraction. We will know in the next year or so
post #12 of 41

Most western cities have gotten bad enough with people devoting the majority of their attention to personal screens at home, at work, at the coffee shop, on the subway, when they're out walking their dogs and even when they're driving. It's an anti-social type of addiction that no amount of "social networking" excuses can cover up. I think its horrifying to think that they're going to be raising kids by adding an extra 6 hours of "screen watching" to their lives at such an early age. Interacting with a computer/phone/tablet puts you into a little private bubble, and socialisation is probably the most important part of kids' educations from 4-12 years old. I know real teachers/blackboards/whiteboards/slide shows/overhead projectors are nowhere near as interactive or entertaining as an iPad is (1eek.gif), but they are also inherently social teaching aides that kids experience as a collective. I love the idea of iPads as take-home tools for kids that need some extra tutoring, but this just sounds dystopian to me.

 

Also, it's been common knowledge that staring at close screens for long periods of time is absolutely horrible for your eyesight - I hope they at least make the kids take breaks every 15 minutes and have some sort of "focus your eyes on distant objects" breaks so they don't all get unnaturally nearsighted!

post #13 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


You don't think schools are primarily for education do you?  Their principal function is to act as child-minding centres so their parents can go to work.

Examples abound of home schooled children who significantly out-perform traditionally educated children, even though their hours of study are a fraction as long.

While I agree that home schooling can make kids smarter, I find many of them to be socially awkward with few friends. (Not that there is anything wrong with only having a few friends)
post #14 of 41

Nothing wrong with using the iPads exclusively.  The real problem is this part:  


... Each student's curriculum will be decided collectively by the student, their teachers, and their parents every six weeks. ...

 

This is one of the greatest fallacies of "modern education."  That a student or a parent has any real insight into what should be taught or any right to be involved in the curriculum process.  

 

Give the average kid the right to set their own curriculum and they will pick video games and comic books every time.  Give the parents the same option and most will pick some awful religious/magical nonsense or insist that everything be easy enough that their precious child literally never fails.  

 

IMO the child centred classroom is the number one reason why kids are so ignorant today relative to even 20 years ago.  

post #15 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


You don't think schools are primarily for education do you?  Their principal function is to act as child-minding centres so their parents can go to work.

 

Examples abound of home schooled children who significantly out-perform traditionally educated children, even though their hours of study are a fraction as long.

There are examples I'm sure of kids out-performing traditionally educated kids. I know a few, but I also know the vast majority of doctors, PhDs, faculty, research scientists, lawyers, judges at my university and state went through traditional public schools. 

 

So what was your point again?

post #16 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Nothing wrong with using the iPads exclusively.  The real problem is this part:  

 

This is one of the greatest fallacies of "modern education."  That a student or a parent has any real insight into what should be taught or any right to be involved in the curriculum process.  

 

Give the average kid the right to set their own curriculum and they will pick video games and comic books every time.  Give the parents the same option and most will pick some awful religious/magical nonsense or insist that everything be easy enough that their precious child literally never fails.  

 

IMO the child centred classroom is the number one reason why kids are so ignorant today relative to even 20 years ago.  

You must not be a parent since your comments about choice is so comically off base. "Johnny, I'll let you choose what you want; this apple or this orange." "No, Libby, you can't stay home by yourself. But, you can help me shop for dinner. What store would you like to go to first?". "I know you're hungry. You can snack on this fresh cauliflower or snap beans or even both". 

post #17 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

IMO the child centred classroom is the number one reason why kids are so ignorant today relative to even 20 years ago.  

 

Could also be that 20 years ago the average north american watched 26 hours of television while now it's over 35 hours. (according to Ofcom) That includes console video games but doesn't include internet/mobile phone/tablet use...

 

By the way, 20 years ago, grumpy old men also thought they knew the reasons kids were so ignorant relative to 40 years ago. 40 years ago, grumpy old men also thought they knew the reasons kids were so ignorant relative to 60 years ago. etc etc etc 

post #18 of 41

The idea is fine if implemented intelligently. But the problem with the concept is that there are no adults intelligent enough to implement a program that will work. The article says 

 

"The iPad keeps teachers and parents constantly informed about what children are doing, what they have learned, and how they are progressing," Marco Evers reported. "If a math app is neither enjoyable nor successful, the teacher simply orders another one. The supply of educational programs never runs dry in Apple's online store."

 

If this is their idea on how a coherent curriculum is built and is supposed to work then these folks are even dumber than the kids they're trying to teach. 

post #19 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by waldobushman View Post

There are examples I'm sure of kids out-performing traditionally educated kids. I know a few, but I also know the vast majority of doctors, PhDs, faculty, research scientists, lawyers, judges at my university and state went through traditional public schools. 

 

So what was your point again?

That is not exactly a fair conclusion to draw.

 

A proper way to state it would be to say XX% of home school students became college students vs XX% of traditional.

 

Of course you will see more people from traditional schools because more people go to traditional schools.

 

 

Anyway, I think this will be an interesting experiment.

post #20 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post


Unless you know a lot more about this than the rest of us I think you may be speaking too early. Maybe the programmer will be very effective. The current educational methods have not changed much for years. Forcing kids to sit in rows in classrooms doing stuff they for the most part intensely dislike always struck me as a very poor way of imparting knowledge.

The concept of students learning on their own and teachers becoming learning 'coaches' is not new. There have been many experiments in The Netherlands with so called 'free schools' but the schools generally performed pretty poorly on actually teaching the kids good skills. In other words: the concept (but without iPad) has performed pretty badly. It is questionable if a mere tool (however nice) is going to change that. And it is roughly toying with kids as guinea pigs to start something like this without knowing what you're doing.

 

Secondly, certainly in the Netherlands, 'sitting in rows doing stuff they intensely dislike' is not as it is. At the elementary school where my kids go, there are 5 levels inside each class, both the faster and the slower students get personal attention. There are remedial teaching opportunities and across the school, the few super-brights are doing special projects together (a group of smart 8-12 year olds working together). Measured internationally, the Dutch system works pretty well, underfunded as it is. Only at the top (the brightest kids), the system does not perform very well, but the amount of attention here is changing.

 

Of what I know of edu research, the major factor in relative performance for a child is the quality of the teacher. In terms of absolute performance it is child talents combined with teacher quality. There are many things a digital computer cannot do at all, even a nice one like an iPad, but it won't be 'teaching'.

 

The guy who is behind all this has been along advocating all kinds of extreme utopian futures based on his beliefs in computers. He is a very public figure. He published books about it (as I recall, written by a ghost writer and I also recall that it kind of reminded me a lot of 'being digital' by Negroponte, except that the guy did think that in the end 'beam me up, Scotty' as an extrapolation of 'travelling senses' would become real). Taking his beliefs in this direction is I think typical. Facts will only stand in the way.

post #21 of 41
I'm all for breaking certain traditions of learning. I think I might have written a thesis years ago about why open-book open-computer testing should be allowed, and encouraged, as opposed to the emphasis on memorization.

But...

This seems too far, especially for younger kids. I've always felt part of what school accomplishes, especially in the younger grades, is teaching kids a sense of structure, authority, and discipline. These are important.

For older kids, less structure is needed, but still required. The goal is to prepare kids for the real world. Guess what? The real world with its real jobs has structure. Not everyone has a job where you can show up when you want or where you want or do what you want. Yikes.

"Making learning fun" is a big misnomer. Learning should be fun, but because the person develops the right attitude about it; the same as hard work is enjoyable. Not everything in life is fun and games.

I would feel better about this if it was only for part of the day, and for certain classes that lend itself better.
post #22 of 41
The sole purpose of a school is not just to have a place for a kid to stay while their parent is at work, it's there for the reason to educate children, give them the opportunity to become something.
The education system hasn't changed in centuries, and needs to. I believe the iPad has the chance to give kid's a personalized approach to education, and will engage them to not think they're memorizing the material but instead actually LEARNING it. It's also worthy to note that most of these education technology apps, are games which keeps children immersed in the material and makes them want to keep learning.
post #23 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by qhollister View Post

The sole purpose of a school is not just to have a place for a kid to stay while their parent is at work, it's there for the reason to educate children, give them the opportunity to become something.
The education system hasn't changed in centuries, and needs to. I believe the iPad has the chance to give kid's a personalized approach to education, and will engage them to not think they're memorizing the material but instead actually LEARNING it. It's also worthy to note that most of these education technology apps, are games which keeps children immersed in the material and makes them want to keep learning.

I am afraid of how these kids will react to material that is not games. Seems to me (I am only 21 ATM), that when I was a kid and I had learned things through games, I hated going back to learning the more traditional way. Now if these kids are exposed over the course of years to "fun." What happens when the fun ends?

 

I also know 10 years ago, if you asked me to manage my education, I surely would have waited until the last minute to do my work. Now that I am 21 and have the complete ability to comprehend the world, I get my assignments done as soon as possible.

 

I think allowing kids to make their own schedule between the ages of 4-14 is a major mistake.

post #24 of 41

relative performance for a child is the quality of the teacher

Thank you
 

post #25 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

It would've been awkward for them to have made any other choice.

Good point!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

Bill Gates couldn't understand why Microsoft wasn't allowed to bid for usage of the Surface RT which is just as good as any iPad if not better.

Not a good point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by muadibe View Post

The iPad is becoming engrained in so many aspects of our societal infrastructure that displacing it as the dominant tablet anytime soon, seems impossible.

Excellent point! I too believe the iPad will remain #1 but that shouldn't mean the competition should throw in the towel. AAMOF, Apple loves competition.
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post #26 of 41

This is a good concept.

 

It makes sense for students to learn at their own pace. Smart children will no longer be held back by dummies in their class, and dummies can progress at their own snails pace. Students of the same age are not equal, and they should not be taught the same curriculum at the same tempo.

 

When I was a kid, there was an Apple ][ in the classroom, and just look at how well I turned out! lol.gif

 

iPads will surely be a benefit to many students.

post #27 of 41
Interesting debate on these forums around education. At least it hasn't devolved into accusations of fandom.
I think we just don't know how iPads could affect K-12 education because a tool like that has never been used this extensively in education. I think the purpose of this program is to get some hard data on that. Our relationship with technology is changing, and I'm not of the mind to assume that change is always bad. I know the manner in which I was educated, and I certainly thought it was adequate, but it was never self directed. The result might be depth of learning at the expense of breadth. I think some kind of balance should be kept by mixing self-directed learning plans with guided learning according to some kind of standard syllabus. That's my two cents.

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post #28 of 41
I have mixed feelings about this whole approach. I have a kindergartener who has been read to since birth, adores books, has a sophisticated vocabulary, but struggles with reading and may have ADHD issues, etc. We work closely with the teacher and a school reading specialist we are lucky to have. We are also using all tools at our disposal, including print books and an ebook subscription (Bookboard.com) for iPad. We watched our daughter have her first experience reading using the iPad (I wrote about that here as a parent blogger. http://bookboard.com/blog/2013/03/reading-for-the-first-time/ But all iPad, all the time, without all the other aspects of the school experience supporting her journey? It feels way out of balance as an approach.
post #29 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post


Unless you know a lot more about this than the rest of us I think you may be speaking too early. Maybe the programmer will be very effective. The current educational methods have not changed much for years. Forcing kids to sit in rows in classrooms doing stuff they for the most part intensely dislike always struck me as a very poor way of imparting knowledge.

I think I have an idea of where they are going with this; They go by the assumption that without interference -- kids naturally want to learn. So they monitor what the kid gets into and the teacher STEERS them towards constructive activity or other ways to engage them.

 

 

I'd think they'd at least have ONE science class, and one creative (like music or art) -- but it's better to NARROW the focus of education rather than try and add a lot of bells and whistles. In the US we have a lot of books we skim through without gaining any in-depth knowledge. If you really learn how to learn you can apply skills from one thing to another, rather than memorize for a test on some quickly scanned topic and forget about it a week later.

 

It all depends on actual implementation and how they carry it out. But moving everything to an iPad saves huge money -- you couldn't do it here, because our education system is a captive audience to big book business, and we pay huge fees for new math books every few years when we could have open source educational material created by Universities (as a requirement for PhD degrees in education). Since this is a socialist country, they can pay what they need for results.

 

It should be an interesting experiment and it will be successful if they can keep the kids inspired. Our schools seem determined to turn learning into a chore for both the students and the teachers.

post #30 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

This is a good concept.

 

It makes sense for students to learn at their own pace. Smart children will no longer be held back by dummies in their class, and dummies can progress at their own snails pace. Students of the same age are not equal, and they should not be taught the same curriculum at the same tempo.

 

When I was a kid, there was an Apple ][ in the classroom, and just look at how well I turned out! lol.gif

 

iPads will surely be a benefit to many students.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

This is a good concept.

 

It makes sense for students to learn at their own pace. Smart children will no longer be held back by dummies in their class, and dummies can progress at their own snails pace. Students of the same age are not equal, and they should not be taught the same curriculum at the same tempo.

 

When I was a kid, there was an Apple ][ in the classroom, and just look at how well I turned out! lol.gif

 

iPads will surely be a benefit to many students.

 

 

It's not really about smart or dummies. Just because a kid bolts ahead at an early age -- well that can help with confidence, but it doesn't really mean they are smarter. Brain development happens in different locations ad different times for of course, different people. Girls get quite ahead of boys in language and general knowledge until they hit puberty. Myself, I was lagging behind and not able to read well at all until I was ten, then I got a special tutor who struggled as I did, learned phonics and was at a college level in about three weeks.

 

My first elementary school was in New York and it allowed kids to browse different classrooms to cover whatever they wanted to learn -- and they had good success. But I came to a red state and it was 100%; "Shove this in your brain and we test you on how well you can spit it back out." And I suppose I was too bored to focus on it.

 

So a really intelligent kid can do poorly if class is stupid. Allowing people to have a different pace is better for brain development. However, at some point, they have to be able to focus. So a bit of both approaches can be helpful rather than ONLY our structured schools or their unstructured "learning is fun" schools.

post #31 of 41
We've used exactly this principle for years on learning the tables 1 through 15. On the beginning of the schoolyear a paper is put up on the wall with the names of every student. For each table you're able to complete correctly you receive a sticker next to your name. The kids are free to choose which table they do and when as long as they finished them all by the end of the year. By the end of the year all students have received all stickers. This works because no kid wants to stay behind. I can't see why this system can't work on other courses as well.
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post #32 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragan0405 View Post

relative performance for a child is the quality of the teacher
Thank you

 

Not at all. The primary factor affecting student performance is SES. The major in-school factor is the teacher. But that is an "of course" and the reason for this is a no-brainer. The teacher connection to the student is the only cause and effect connection. All other variations, disciplinary, curricular, materials, physical plant, are mediated through the teacher.
post #33 of 41
Not sure how I feel about this one. On the one hand, current methods seem lacking and it makes sense to try alternatives. On the other hand, children need structure and need to learn some type of discipline. I think the major weaknesses of at least the US education system is basing funding in standardized test scores and taking power away from the teachers more so than rigid classroom structure. I would be interested to see how these kids turn out.
post #34 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

Forcing kids to sit in rows in classrooms doing stuff they for the most part intensely dislike always struck me as a very poor way of imparting knowledge.

Information perhaps. But there is no thinking so saying they are getting knowledge is a stretch.
post #35 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timbit View Post

While I agree that home schooling can make kids smarter, I find many of them to be socially awkward with few friends. (Not that there is anything wrong with only having a few friends)

So are many kids that go to traditional schools
post #36 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


Give the average kid the right to set their own curriculum and they will pick video games and comic books every time.  

Or they won't.

And not just because they won't be that total free in what they do.
post #37 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by gctwnl View Post

, there are 5 levels inside each class,

There are a lot of theorists who feel this is a mistake. Multiple learning levels in one class, they say, inevitably ends up with the slow kids needing way more attention and the smart kids apget ignored, the slow kids don't have the skills to continue alone while the teacher makes sure the other kids get teacher time etc.

Sure it sucks for little Johnny that he's not in class with the kids his age but educationally if he's not up to their skill it makes more sense to have him with younger kids. Smart schools even divide up the day so little Johnny is in lower math, upper reading and on level for social studies etc. not held back a whole grade for one subject.
post #38 of 41

I don't think children should guide their own learning, they don't know enough to do that. Yes, they should be encouraged to find fields that interest them personally, but that's where their personal input ends: in choosing the field. Having made that choice they should be guided by an adult, to ensure things are learned in the best order for understanding purposes, and all the relationships are clear.

 

Another point is, by the time these kids grow up, they will have some tiny device (the evolution of the mobile phone) on their body at all times that gives them complete access to the corpus of human knowledge (the evolution of Wikipedia). So school that emphasizes rote memorization of facts will be useless to them. But there is a difference between book learning and real-world learning, so schools could respond to this reality by having more field trips and such. Or young people could not stay in school as long and enter the business world sooner.

post #39 of 41
This type of education is nearly ideal. It allows everybody to learn at their own pace. The smart children will zoom through the courses with better understanding. They won't be held back by the needs of the others. The slow children will be able to grasp the material fully because they aren't being rushed through it.

The quality of the lessons and the way they are presented will be a huge factor in whether they are effective.

The main piece of the learning puzzle will be allowing students to learn things they find valuable instead of being forced to learn things in which they have no interest. Once someone learns basic language skills, basic mathematics, and some science, they shouldn't be forced to learn more than they need. Let them continue in any subject that interests them. With that the system will create people willing and eager to learn instead of disinterested children feeling forced to attend a boring school.

One valuable lesson that all people should be taught is how to find information, evaluate it, and how to study anything. This way they'll be able to learn outside of any type of classroom or work situation.
post #40 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

I don't think children should guide their own learning, they don't know enough to do that.

Self-guided learning had me reading the Odyssey series in first grade. Children are absolutely able to do it, but having parents that actually care and can get them the resources they desire helps immensely.

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