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the iPad will change the way we teach in the Netherlands

The Netherlands launches the Steve Jobs Schools and integrates the iPad into the heart of education

At last it seems that education is changing and there are more and more projects to modernize classrooms and, more importantly, methods to teach children in schools.

Nowadays a child has many distractions and things to entertain himself with. Getting her attention in a boring classroom with boring books and a boring teacher is a very complicated task.

the iPad will change the way we teach in the Netherlands
the iPad will change the way we teach in the Netherlands

Luckily there are more and more projects that try to modernize a little bit the teaching , to make it advance and to modify the techniques and the educational systems that have been used for many years.

In the Netherlands, several Steve Jobs Schools have been preparing and will open their doors this academic year . Specifically there will be seven schools located in Sneek, Breda, 2 in Almere, Emmen, Heenvliet and Amsterdam that will be governed by the principles of O4NT: Education for a New Era.

Initially the schools in Sneek and Breda will use all the elements of the O4NT model. The others will start with a basic structure and will gradually add the rest of the parts of the concept until they are all integrated. In addition, they expect that the number of schools with this new teaching system will grow to 12 before the end of the school year.

One of the cornerstones of the Steve Jobs Schools is the use of the iPad in the classroom . The use of the Apple tablet will allow the 58 central objectives that the Ministry of Education has established to be reached and this will be done in a much more efficient way, something that will help to be able to integrate additional objectives such as: development of the child’s skills and talents for the 21st century. Among these skills and talents are: working with ICT, problem solving, creative thinking, teamwork and the ability to be critical.

The teacher becomes a coach who will guide the sessions, but will not be the only one teaching inside the classroom

The teacher (called the trainer in this educational model) changes his role from being the centre of attention of the whole class to being the person who guides the sessions, both individually and in groups, where the students will have much more prominence .

In the Steve Jobs Schools students will be governed by their own individual calendar or schedule . Thanks to it they will be able to move around the facilities and go to the different premises (classrooms), which will have names such as: language premises, numbers workshop, creative workshop, gymnasium, technical laboratory, etc, etc… Thanks to the use of educational apps to acquire basic skills, the educational process is adapted to each child, to their rhythms and learning styles.

In the face of such a big change it is normal for some parents to have doubts. To try to mitigate this, the Steve Jobs School model has systems in place so that they can always be aware of what they are doing and their children’s progress. Thanks to the iPad and the apps installed on it, parents will be able to know what their child has done during the day and keep track of their progress and academic performance.

The ultimate intention is for schools to be truly flexible. At present, it may not make sense to have fixed schedules and specific dates. Virtual schools can be open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. In the labour market it is increasingly common to work by objectives rather than timetables, so getting children used to this from a young age makes a lot of sense. This first year the authorities will allow some tests, but it won’t be until next school year that a new experiment will be carried out with regard to timetables and holidays.

Apps to be used by Steve Jobs Schools students on their iPad

Every child will have his iPad and of course it is necessary that this tablet has some apps that will make it really useful for this educational model.

sCoolSpace : is the virtual school itself. It is a safe, augmented reality environment where students can meet other students and progress in class.

TikTik sCooTool : this app is used to plan schedules, register attendance, contact parents and as a digital portfolio of student assignments.

sCoolProjects : this is an app for group work that students will use to carry out their projects, always under the guidance of a coach (teacher).

iDesk Learning Tracker : thanks to this app teachers and parents will be able to follow the progress of their children in the different educational applications.

DigiTalents : this app is for children to fill in a form once a year. Thanks to these forms, the skills and experiences of the student in the digital world are determined.

Symbaloo : this app is used to share and disseminate knowledge, both within each school, as well as with other schools or with O4NT itself.

Although at the moment this programme will only be available in some Dutch schools, they hope that very soon it will be able to reach Dutch children living abroad. In this way the children will be able to follow the teaching in Dutch or combine it with the curriculum of the country they are in.

What does O4NT expect from the iPad in the classroom?

The first attempts at using the iPad in the classroom were limited to imitating what was already there . In the first years the iPad was simply used to distribute information digitally instead of in a paper book, although later its use was very similar to the previous one.

This usually happens with all technological developments. The clearest example could be the first car, which resembled a horseless carriage. Little by little it has evolved and today it has little to do with what it was originally.

With the iPad they believe that something similar will happen and that will gradually transform the teaching and change it completely .

They believe that this new method of teaching will completely change roles. Teachers will no longer be the only ones teaching things to the classrooms and having the iPad available to them 24 hours a day will make it easier for them to learn about anything they find interesting and will also help them to awaken their critical and investigative side

Thanks to the iPad the school will become a learning community . In this community the students will be able to alternate the role of receiver and transmitter and not just receiver as has happened for many years (where the teacher spoke and the students had to listen).

Without a doubt, it is a project that looks really good and we will follow it closely to see how it evolves and how it is accepted by the parents of the students who are already participating in it. Will it be a success? Will they be able to replicate it in other countries? It certainly looks like it has enormous potential.

More information about the Steve Jobs Schools can be found on their official website.

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