It’s no secret that the iPad is a popular tool of education. Recently, America’s second largest school system, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced plans to deliver iPads to all of its students at a cost of $30 million.
Now, a new Dutch initiative plans to bring iPads into school with unprecedented force. Dutch officials plan to open eleven brand new “Steve Jobs Schools”. 1000 elementary school children (aged 4-12), will attend school with nothing except an iPad. And it’s not just pens and paper that the schools are planning to scrap. In conventional terms, these schools won’t be schools at all. There’ll be no blackboards, classrooms, homeroon teachers, formal classes, lesson plans, seating arrangements, schedules, grades, recess bells, fixed school days, or even holidays.
Madness I know.
Schools will open between 7:30am and 6:30 pm every week day, however children will only be required to attend the core period between 10:30 am and 3:oo pm. The school will only close on Christmas and New Years. Families can holiday whenever they like, with no worries about missing classes, because their won’t be any classes to miss.
Pupils can learn at their own pace, with apps tailored to teach all the core subjects through interesting games and methods. Teacher’s will no longer be conveyors of knowledge, but rather learning coaches, with student-teacher interaction remaining the foundation of the school experience.
Every six weeks teachers, children and parents will meet to establish what is to be achieved over the next learning period, even this can be done over Skype.
One parent, Debbie Hengeveld was so impressed by the scheme she immediately enrolled both of her children:
“Children innately want to learn things,” says Hengeveld. “Here they can remain who they are. They aren’t shaped by teachers and lesson plans.”
On first glance, this scheme sounds like anarchy. But most likely because, I, like most of you, was schooled in a conventional school system, with all the bells and whistles that these new Steve Jobs schools are planning to rid education off.
Could this be successful? Who knows. If any of you have been teachers or students (that would be all of you), I would love to hear your thoughts on this kind of education. One thing’s for sure, the handwriting of all these children is going to be dire.