Got a tip for us? Share it...

New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Dutch Committee Proposes to Build Steve Jobs' iPad-Equipped Classroom

In his biography of Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson shared a story of Jobs' meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama. Along with sharing his displeasure at the difficulty in building a factory in the United States, he also disassembled America's education system.
It was absurd, he added that American classrooms were still based on teachers standing at a board and using textbooks. All books, learning materials, and assessments should be digital and interactive, tailored to each student and providing feedback in real time.
Jobs wanted to hire great textbook writers to create digital versions, and make them a feature of the iPad. He wanted to make textbooks free and bundled with the iPad, and believed such a system would give states the opportunity to save money.


A panel of four Dutch educators and politicians is proposing to fulfill Steve Jobs' vision and create a school where students are taught with iPads. The proposal will be presented on Monday [Google Translate] in Amsterdam. The plan, called Education for a New Era, is designed to help students learn "21st century skills" and push the limits of what can be done in a classroom.

It is just a proposal for the time being, but the promoters wish to test existing educational apps and encourage more to be developed. The so-called "Steve Jobs schools" would open their doors in August 2013.

Earlier this year, Apple rolled out a digital textbook initiative. The company partnered with McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt -- the three companies together control 90% of the textbook market in the U.S. -- and is focusing on high school textbooks initially. Apple presumably wants to expand the project to include all grade levels, and eventually fulfill Jobs' vision of a digital classroom.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

33 months ago
It's amazing that the education system has virtually been unchanged since it began. It is definitely in need of a revolution.
Rating: 16 Votes
33 months ago
if all the kids use it that that guy is in the picture they will have a generation of bad backs. Trust me they don't want that.
Rating: 14 Votes
33 months ago

if all the kids use it that that guy is in the picture they will have a generation of bad backs. Trust me they don't want that.


Right. But that's how books are used today, and have been for ages. So it'll be nothing new for the iPad. If anything, the iPad, being much lighter than a textbook, can be held upright, like with the student in the background.
Rating: 9 Votes
33 months ago

how will they be able to keep them on task and off games?


Oh I don't know, maybe by disciplining the children. A rare concept I know.
Rating: 9 Votes
33 months ago

...I think it is fine to have this for certain classes like biology or history however I cannot see iPads being that useful in the teaching of maths or physics!...


I think mathematics may be one of the BEST opportunities for iPad usage. The iPads can and should be used as workbooks, where children actually practice problem solving. For those kids who breeze through practice questions, the workbook could automatically create more difficult problems that test the same math skill. Meanwhile, those who struggle can get progressively easier questions or automated assistance. The teachers would be relieved of the burden of monotonous grading on this type of work, and the iPads give much more instantaneous feedback than a teacher could ever hope to achieve. All of this can reduce the need for the socially painful practice of grouping kids into levels, physically cordoning them off from peers based on talent.
Rating: 7 Votes
33 months ago

It's amazing that the education system has virtually been unchanged since it began. It is definitely in need of a revolution.


Honest question: why does it need a revolution? I admit, the iPad does bring a lot of advantages, but I've seen a lot of posts on MacRumors who want change only for the sake of change, not to make things better.

I work in a school district and it's not just teachers telling kids "OK, turn to page 125 in your book and read the next 10 pages," or whatever. Most, if not all, teachers have hands on projects kids do. Some stuff can't be done on iPads. Like in science class, kids learn about chemical reactions. Sure, you could have an app where you mix vinegar & baking soda and see an animated test tube fizzle. But that's not the same as having a real test tube or learning about endothermic/exothermic reactions. iPads bring many things to education but they are NOT end-all, be-all of educational tools.
Rating: 6 Votes
33 months ago

Oh I don't know, maybe by disciplining the children. A rare concept I know.


funny guy. you have clearly never been in a computing classroom. Teachers, regardless of their skill, fail to keep all the pupils on task. Websense, LanSchool... you name it, it doesn't seem to work. Maybe kids in the the Uk are just particularly badly behaved.

the point i was making is there a way the school will be able to restrict the usage? (Like LanSchool for iPad?, i don't think this is possible yet?)
Rating: 5 Votes
33 months ago
The truth is, at least for me, there is nothing close to a printed book. So much easier to read it and find things. Write notes, put separators.

I know all these things can be done with the iPad, but somehow it distracts you. What makes good students is good teachers. Not so much if they have iPads and interactive things.

iPad and iPhones and similar devices are great, but from how I see it, most people use them for distraction purposes. Music, Twitter, FaceBook. Even when using it for keeping an schedule, I've found that nothing really works as a paper agenda. Whenever I try and use my iPhone or iPad for that, I end up loosing more time.

It amazes me how now everyone is within their smart-phone, doing, mostly, unnecessary things. It's very common you are having a conversation with someone and they take out their phone and start typing, etc. In the work-space, it is a necessary evil. But in school?
Rating: 5 Votes
33 months ago

if all the kids use it that that guy is in the picture they will have a generation of bad backs. Trust me they don't want that.


Think of an 11 year old kid carrying a backpack full of archaic text books to and from school. That's more likely to cause back problems.
Rating: 4 Votes
33 months ago

This seems like a great idea, my biggest concern is: What happens when the kid drops it and breaks it.


What happens when you drop yours and break it?
Rating: 4 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]