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)
Avatar
112 months ago
It's amazing that the education system has virtually been unchanged since it began. It is definitely in need of a revolution.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
112 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.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
112 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.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
112 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.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
112 months ago
Respectfully Disagree

...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.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
112 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.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone 12 Pro in Graphite and iPhone 12 in Blue Shown Off in Unboxing Videos

Monday October 19, 2020 8:20 am PDT by
While the iPhone 12 Pro does not launch until Friday, we now have an early unboxing video of the device courtesy of Twitter account DuanRui, providing a closer look at the shiny new flat-edge design and sleek Graphite color option. Ben Geskin re-uploaded the unboxing video to YouTube, which we've embedded below: Geskin has also uploaded an unboxing video of the iPhone 12 in Blue: ...

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...

Kuo: iPhone 12 Pro Demand Higher Than Expected

Sunday October 18, 2020 10:39 pm PDT by
TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released a research note this morning detailing what he's seen with the volume of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro pre-orders in the first weekend of sales. Kuo had previously indicated that Apple's estimated shipment allocations for the new iPhone models placed the iPhone 12 at the top with 40-45% of inventory allocation (up from 15-20%). However, ...

Apple Releases iPadOS and iOS 14.1 With Multiple Bug Fixes Ahead of iPhone 12 Launch

Tuesday October 20, 2020 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.1, the first major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 14 operating system updates that were released in September. iOS and iPadOS 14.1 come a week after Apple released the golden master versions of the updates to developers. The iOS 14.1 update can be downloaded for free and it is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access...

Hands-On With Apple's MagSafe Charger for iPhone 12

Monday October 19, 2020 11:54 am PDT by
Alongside the new iPhone 12 models, Apple introduced a MagSafe charger that attaches to the back of the iPhones using magnets embedded both in the charger and in the iPhone. It allows for speedier charging and paves the way for a portless iPhone in the future. MagSafe chargers are shipping out and are in some Apple retail locations now, and we picked one up to check it out. Subscribe to the ...

Watch: iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Unboxing Videos and First Impressions

Tuesday October 20, 2020 6:05 am PDT by
Apple's embargo has lifted for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro reviews. In addition to our detailed review roundups for each device, we've rounded up over a dozen unboxing videos and first impressions below. iPhone 12 in Blue on left and iPhone 12 Pro in Pacific Blue on right via Engadget Key new features of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro include a flat-edge design, 5G support, a much faster A14 ...

Some Apple Watch SE Owners Experiencing Issues With Overheating [Updated]

Monday October 19, 2020 11:38 am PDT by
There may be an issue with the new Apple Watch SE, which some users have found is overheating after a few hours of usage. Several Apple Watch SE owners in South Korea have run into problems, as noted in a Reddit post chronicling the complaints. There have been six reports from Apple Watch SE owners in South Korea who have had their Apple Watches get hot and malfunction, with a yellow spot...

Gold Version of iPhone 12 Pro Apparently Has a More Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel Frame

Tuesday October 20, 2020 11:56 am PDT by
iPhone 12 Pro reviews hit the web today, and one of the more interesting tidbits came from TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino, who revealed that the Gold version of the device apparently has a more fingerprint resistant coating applied to the stainless steel frame. From his review:Most of the iPhone 12 Pro finishes still use a physical vapor deposition process for edge coating. But the new gold...

iPhone 12 Pro Max Has Smaller 3,687 mAh Battery According to Regulatory Filing

Tuesday October 20, 2020 8:48 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro Max is equipped with a 3,687 mAh battery, which is around 7% less capacity than the 3,969 mAh battery in the iPhone 11 Pro Max, according to a regulatory filing published by TENAA, the Chinese equivalent of the FCC. The regulatory filing, spotted by MacRumors, also lists the iPhone 12 Pro Max with 6GB of RAM as seen in benchmark results last week. Apple has filed ...

Hands-On With Apple's iPhone 12 and 12 Pro MagSafe Cases

Tuesday October 20, 2020 1:33 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are launching this Friday, and ahead of that release date, Apple is shipping out various accessories like the MagSafe charger and MagSafe cases. Yesterday we took a look at the MagSafe charger, and today our MagSafe case came in the mail, so we thought we'd take another look at the charger to see how it works with the case and just how strong the case magnets are. S ...