Siri, the latest pupil at seven new Dutch schools

Education and technology are two very different fields, but one thing is certain, you can’t have one without the other. The fundamental need for technology to drive education and for the education system to drive the technological world has allowed for some great advancement in schools, colleges and universities, allowing more and more pupils to use laptops and tablets in class and providing hundreds of computers across tens of suites to allow the research and write up of assignments.

Now, with a little help from Apple, seven new “Steve Jobs schools” have opened in the Netherlands. Offering an iPad to every pupil, the rigidity of a normal school day is gone and a more free approach to education is provided.

What does this mean though? Let’s break this down a little, shall we?

  • The traditional text book is no more. The iPad replaces the book.
  • Pupils, from the age of four, will be allowed to choose what to learn and when to learn it.
  • Apps such as the “TikTik sCoolTool” scheduling app, and the virtual shoolyard “sCoolSpace” allow pupils to keep a track of their timetable or communicate with other pupils in the digital realm.
  • The schools will be open from 7:30am to 6:30pm, giving flexibility to when you attend.
  • The holiday timetable is gone as well, meaning that parents can now book that vacation in the off season, without disrupting their child’s education.
  • Teachers will be known as coaches, providing support and advice, rather than just bellowing course material from government sanctioned curriculum.

The Education for a New Era foundation (ON4T) is the group behind the schools. In a press release, they said:

In the O4NT approach, teachers will no longer simply convey knowledge to a group of children; they will be transformed into coaches that support children with their individual and group projects. Because educational apps are used for basic skills, the learning process can be completely adapted to the individual child’s learning speed and style.

And pupils won’t be tied to iPads all day. They can register for activities through the provided apps that will take them out of the classroom environment. They can also visit other “subject rooms” such as the math room, the gym or the technology lab.

A complete digital record of a pupil’s school life will be made, allowing the ON4T to refine the programs methodology for future implementations, and parents are able to monitor their childs progress thanks to the "iDesk Learning Tracker."

Although, in what sounds almost contradictory, the Dutch education ministry are watching the schools closely, ensuring they stick to the national curriculum and attendance requirements.

All this is very well and good, but giving children the choice of what and when they learn can, and almost certainly will, have disastrous results. Have any of our reader’s children? Have you ever tried to get them to make a sound and reasonable choice? Sometimes doesn’t happen, does it?!

Source: Dutch News | Image courtesy of ON4T

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One word "Unschooling" of course giving children educational choices works they want to learn when it is not forced.

Shadowzz said,
Kinda sounds like a modern revised Montissori school.

Montessori schools were excellent at the time I was in school in the , '60s....

They probably picked Apple because they control everything about the device. Sure there is RT and a regular surface, but the iPad is one of the only devices that has a 4:3 screen which is much better for books in my opinion than wide screens. Plus it has the software selection and the developer support.

As a phone I love Android

For a tablet I have them all

Acer W500 with Windows 8 Pro installed which is also like having an RT
iPad 2nd gen
Nexus 7 1st gen
HP Touch Pad running android

Out of all of them I think the iPad still gives the best Experience

Edited by warwagon, Aug 21 2013, 10:04pm :

What are you doing on your tablet that you think an iPad gives better experience than a Windows 8 Pro tablet? Playing Angry Birds?

AsherGZ said,
What are you doing on your tablet that you think an iPad gives better experience than a Windows 8 Pro tablet? Playing Angry Birds?

Well once you drop onto the desktop it's just a computer. if I wanted one of those i'd get a laptop.

I find it really disgusting that they use education as a front for what is a cult-esque move in providing an Apple-sponsored "education".

Shouldn't be legal.

What an awful company they are.

"Although, in what sounds almost contradictory, the Dutch education ministry are watching the schools closely, ensuring they stick to the national curriculum and attendance requirements."

Dutch schools, Turkish school, German schools.........the list goes on, educational institutions around the world are choosing Apple and the quality of their ecosystem over competitors. But they clearly don't know what they're doing according to most fandroid comments on neowin /s

Parents and administrators are just as susceptible to buzz and fads as CIOs. Besides, iPads, know what else they need? HTML 5! And "the cloud!"

It seems like people would have rejected the fallacy that electronics makes for better education by now. We now have people in college that have had access to computers and the Internet their entire lives. Does anyone believe they're better educated than their grandparents?

Spicoli said,
It seems like people would have rejected the fallacy that electronics makes for better education by now. We now have people in college that have had access to computers and the Internet their entire lives. Does anyone believe they're better educated than their grandparents?

Yes, I do.

Spicoli said,
It seems like people would have rejected the fallacy that electronics makes for better education by now. We now have people in college that have had access to computers and the Internet their entire lives. Does anyone believe they're better educated than their grandparents?

Absolutely not! I had to teach my daughter how to write in cursive/handwriting because in schools they now teach "directly" to write in block letters only because, so it seems, everything is written using computers......
Way to go.....

We have a hard time finding anyone that can spell or construct complete sentences. They do know a lot about celebrities and fashion, so I guess you could call that more knowledge.

Spicoli said,
We have a hard time finding anyone that can spell or construct complete sentences. They do know a lot about celebrities and fashion, so I guess you could call that more knowledge.

My parents can't spell either. In fact mostly all my aunts and uncles who are still alive can't spell.

This is a myth that all 70yo-80yo people can write perfectly. From my experience most of them can't.

Fritzly said,

Absolutely not! I had to teach my daughter how to write in cursive/handwriting because in schools they now teach "directly" to write in block letters only because, so it seems, everything is written using computers......
Way to go.....

Why the hell would she need to know how to write in cursive? The only thing I write by hand now is my signature anyway. Welcome to the 21st century.

LaP said,

My parents can't spell either. In fact mostly all my aunts and uncles who are still alive can't spell.

This is a myth that all 70yo-80yo people can write perfectly. From my experience most of them can't.

It's definitely not a myth. It used to work for a messaging company, and there was very clear difference between the older crowd and younger crowd. We had to add spell check to the application because the younger people were totally incapable of doing it on their own. Even the college students were pretty bad at it. This was thousands of people over the years.

siah1214 said,

Why the hell would she need to know how to write in cursive? The only thing I write by hand now is my signature anyway. Welcome to the 21st century.

Being a jerk just makes you look like a child. That does bring up how young people seem to be stupid about manners and rational discussion.

Fritzly said,

Absolutely not! I had to teach my daughter how to write in cursive/handwriting because in schools they now teach "directly" to write in block letters only because, so it seems, everything is written using computers......
Way to go.....

That is because your daughter's school blows. My daughter has been writing in cursive for several grades now (she just started 5th). It is not due to technology, but a sucky educational system.

siah1214 said,

Why the hell would she need to know how to write in cursive? The only thing I write by hand now is my signature anyway. Welcome to the 21st century.

I use handwriting all the time on my Tablet PC; much faster than typing. Besides if you need to write down some reminder or some short memo on a notepad do you use block letters?

This is verry bad. Especialy since it's only about iPad. This is not to be a good school, but to get a good image of your school, this has nothing to do with learning. And why iPads? What's wrong with those good old PCs we have that can work with everything that's used today instead that the goverment need to buy those things over again?

Lord Method Man said,
Image. The administrators are clueless and just think they have to buy whatever is trendy.

I seriously doubt this is cause of administrators, rather management or some parent-teacher group that use iPads themselves think it is an absolutely great idea

Most schools in Holland have been handing out iPads, and banks, and everything. I can bet my ass on it that more then half of the Dutch iPads were handouts

I don't see how this is worse than using Windows PC. It's not like Microosft products work outside Microsoft world. The iPad is pretty much the standard when it comes to tablet. Deal with it.

hmm... lugging a desktop or laptop with a power brick around, in a backpack... vs a nice light tablet. iPad or some other tablet... it's a by far better media consumption device for students to use when learning. Cloud based storage... no more I forgot my assignment at home, or lost worn out book. Online testing and grading... vs manual process of collecting papers, grading and waiting for a report/progress card every couple of weeks. We're getting to the point now where even content creation is easily doable on a tablet now. Welcome to 2013.

LaP said,
I don't see how this is worse than using Windows PC. It's not like Microosft products work outside Microsoft world. The iPad is pretty much the standard when it comes to tablet. Deal with it.

One big one is it's single source hardware so the schools get reamed on the cost. They also lack standard ports and memory slots.

Skipped the single source hardware I see. Expandability and being able to interface with other hardware are also cost controls. Apple designs everything so you have to replace it every couple years and buy their cables and adapters.

Lord Method Man said,
Image. The administrators are clueless and just think they have to buy whatever is trendy.

Android and Windows is not trendy? Sorry to hear that.