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

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member


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

  • Reply 2 of 48
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 48
    constable odoconstable odo Posts: 1,041member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 48
    danielswdanielsw Posts: 905member


    "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!!!

  • Reply 5 of 48
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,159member
    APPLE IS DOOMED!!!!!!!!
  • Reply 6 of 48
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,534member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 48
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member

    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.

  • Reply 8 of 48
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member

    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.

  • Reply 9 of 48
    muadibemuadibe Posts: 119member
    The iPad is becoming engrained in so many aspects of our societal infrastructure that displacing it as the dominant tablet anytime soon, seems impossible.
  • Reply 10 of 48
    timbittimbit Posts: 331member
    cnocbui wrote: »
    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
  • Reply 11 of 48
    superbasssuperbass Posts: 688member


    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 (image), 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!

  • Reply 12 of 48
    timbittimbit Posts: 331member
    cnocbui wrote: »

    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)
  • Reply 13 of 48
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member


    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.  

  • Reply 14 of 48

    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?

  • Reply 15 of 48

    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". 

  • Reply 16 of 48
    superbasssuperbass Posts: 688member

    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 

  • Reply 17 of 48


    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. 

  • Reply 18 of 48
    seankillseankill Posts: 337member

    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.

  • Reply 19 of 48
    gctwnlgctwnl Posts: 274member

    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.

  • Reply 20 of 48
    pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member
    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.
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