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Steve Jobs schools in The Netherlands

| September 6, 2013 | 0 Comments

In August 2013, 11 ‘Steve Jobs schools’ opened in The Netherlands in honour of the former Apple CEO who, say colleagues, planned to radically change schools but died before he could do so.

One thousand children will attend the schools, all of them naturally, with their own iPad. But there are no books, backpacks, blackboards, chalk or classrooms, class teachers, formal classes, lesson plans, seating charts, pens, teachers in front of rows of desks, schedules, parent-teacher meetings, grades, break bells, fixed school days or school holidays. Instead, children use their iPads to do exactly what they want to do. One Steve Jobs school is in Breda, a town near Rotterdam.

Gertjan Kleinpaste, the principal, is looking forward to life in the still incomplete light-filled building. In his previous school, there were only three computers. At his new school, the gates open at 07:30 and close at 18:30. The only time it is mandatory for children to be there is during the ‘core period’, from 10:30 to 15:00. The only times school will close will be over Christmas and New Year’s.

At each Steve Jobs school, children select a preloaded learning app on their iPad, now an interactive multimedia textbook. Only occasionally will an adult step in to facilitate. The rest of the time, the app in question will direct the students’ learning, allowing each child to reach new levels at their own pace. In between, children engage in physical play and good oldfashioned drawing. Students at the Steve Jobs schools can continue working whenever and wherever they are, but the device will continuously inform teachers and parents what their child is doing and their level of mastery, among other things. If an app isn’t satisfactory, the school will replace it with another from the Apple online store.

Every six weeks, teachers and parents will gather via Skype to decide which core skills should be mastered over the next learning period.

The man behind the Steve Jobs schools is well known in The Netherlands. Maurice de Hond has been involved with computers since 1965 and within weeks of Jobs’ death, De Hond and supporters had created a manifesto for future iPad schools and began to create blueprints for establishing the iPad schools – a process that is relatively easy in The Netherlands.

Category: e-Education, Spring 2013

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