As several large tech-based companies continue to unleash their own education initiatives this year, it appears that this totally unofficial (for now) iPad-based solution may take on one of the most radical. Initiated by Amsterdam public opinion researcher Maurice de Hond and announced this week in the Netherlands were 11 “Steve Jobs schools” for children that’ll make major efforts to bring students into the future with an iPad-based system. No more pencils, no more books, as they say.
One such school works with Gertjan Kleinpaste as principal, a man who had up until recently found it rather frustrating that schools (such as the one he very recently left) worked with a total of – believe it or not – three computers. As far as how the Schorsmolenstraat-based school he’ll be heading up soon will deal with a wholly-iPad-based curriculum, well, “what we are doing will seem pretty normal in 2020,” he makes clear.
This one of a handful of Steve Jobs schools will be open starting at 7:30 AM and will be let out at 6:30 PM daily – not exactly a normal day’s length at a standard education facility. This exercise certainly isn’t about tradition.
The full length of the schools “core period” is different – more of a standard 10:30 AM to 3:00 PM. Before and after that time, students will be allowed to go and stay as they please – with parental consent, of course: these kids will be ages 4 to 12.
These schools, on the whole, will center around reading skills, text comprehension, and arithmetic. Meanwhile handwriting – presumably a skill of the past – has been downgraded somewhat. On the same note, it’s been promised by Kleinpaste that “it isn’t as if the children will just be sitting in front of a screen here.”
Physical play, art, and building will all be part of the normal curriculum at these future schools.
These schools have been brought up and supported (for the most part) in parliament in the Netherlands and are publicly funded as well. Each of these iPad-based schools are open to all children – at the moment we’ve yet to see how children are chosen or allowed in (a lottery is most likely in this case), and parents unable to afford the cost of an iPad will receive a subsidy to make it up.
According to de Hond: “I would be very disappointed if we didn’t have at least 40 Steve Jobs schools by August of next year.”
Again it’s important to mention that this initiative isn’t sponsored by Apple in any way, and the council in charge of making the schools a reality haven’t yet been in direct contact with Apple on the matter. On the name itself, de Hond continued, “we would like to honor this man in this way.”
We shall see how far it goes in that manner, at least. The schools themselves are set to open later this year.