11 schools in Netherlands will use iPads instead of textbooks starting next month

iPad

We are all moving towards paperless schools and workplaces but 11 schools in the Netherlands are taking this concept to another level. In August these so called ‘Steve Jobs Schools’ will begin operation, and educational materials as well as lessons will be delivered using mainly the iPad. This will mean very little load in the form of books to be carried by over 1000 school children between the ages of 4 and 12 .

Students at these schools will have a copious amount of freedom and will have a major say in the material being taught to them. Probably the most stringent requirement of these schools is that students must be present for the main period which is from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm. The opening hours of these 11 schools are 7:30 am to 6:30 pm during the working week and will close doors only for Christmas holidays as well as New Year’s.

All though traditional education has come under fire in recent times and accused of being too rigid and in some cases being irrelevant, this situation does make one wonder how much freedom is too much. Don’t misunderstand me, giving these students creative freedom could never be a bad thing but a balance must be found between freedom and the direction that a young mind requires don’t you think?

[via Iclarified]

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9 comments

  1. Geert

    [@Geert]
    Oops… small mistake in my previous message:

    “One they, they will be part..”. should, of course, be: “One day, they will be part…”.

    Am I suffering from digital media influence??? :-) :-) :-) :-)

    Best rgds,
    –Geert

  2. Geert

    [@Louis]
    Hi Louis.,
    Will respond in English, but yes, my mothertongue is Dutch (Flamish language is quite close to the Dutch language). South-African is indeed also closely related to Dutch, because of historical (read colonial) reasons. I can clearly understand what you’ve read, no problem at all.

    You’re absolutely right when you say digital media is big business. Money, that’s all what counts in nowadays world of “earning big money ASAP”. This by whatever means, at whatever consequence, at whatever cost. Even if it’s the mis-education of young children. One they, they will be part of the digital revolution, even before they’re born (if that’s not the case yet…).

    We already see that the level of education in Flandres (the Dutch speaking part of Belgium) has gone down drastically in recent years, due to the “equalisation” with the European level of study. In the past, we were top-5 in the world!!! Can you imagine…

    But this “playtool”, as I call it (the iPad), won’t for sure not add to the benificials of the study level of youngsters. On the contrary, it will nothing but distract them from the real materials they have to absorb. And yes, you can close ports, gates, URL’s and more, but still, I’m sure that their concentration in many cases will drift away from the “core essentials”, if you know what I mean.

    Luckily, so far it’s the only school I’m aware of in Flandres, which has such a mandatory rule. Hope it stays like that…

    And again, luckily, I had a “classical” education, which can’t be beat by anything…

    Best rgds!!!
    –Geert

  3. Louis

    [@Geert] Hallo Geert, is jou ander taal Vlaams (Blankenberge) ? My moeder se familie praat Afrikaans (hierdie taal), dis baie naby aan Vlaams. Dit is regtig hartseer wat nou gebeur.

    It’s a great pity, that is’s been implemented already at that school — hopefully it won’t take them too long to realise their mistake, to still be able to undo the damage. I think it’s especially dangerous for very young children, if this experiment fails, it will be hard to lay a proper foundation afterwards.

    Let the private schools experiment if they like, and if after 12 years they can prove the results by their students passing the same set of traditional exams, I may be convinced, but I highly doubt it.

    I’m tied into news feeds from education forums across the globe,and all over there seems to be an obsession to bring in technology (me thinks digital media is big business !!) and it seems to be the “in-thing” to change not only the method of teaching, but also the method of testing (how convenient to hide your failure !!)

  4. David Roper

    In my small town of Blythewood SC (pop. 8,000) in the USA, the 4th grades and up use iPADS for their text books, getting lessons from the web, and using them for writing pads. The schools here issue them to the student and block a lot of websites somehow to keep them from using them at home for “unauthorized” surfing. I couldn’t believe it myself until I saw my own grandchildren with them. It MUST have been a grant or test site because we are NOT a “high dollar tax” town in SC.

    When I was growing up, having a wire spiral notebook with blank pages was the ideal notebook. It worked without batteries, too.

  5. Geert

    This was already introduced (mandatory, by the way!!!) in Belgium the beginning of THIS schoolyear (schoolyear 2012-2103) in one school in a city near the Belgium coast (Blankenberge, by the way…).
    This introduction bumpt into a lot of resistance from parents and other public groups, even the government threatened the school of losing its subsidies. But still, the school persevered. And now it’s implemented, unfortunately.
    I couldn’t agree more with the above statements and me too am happy to have had the “classical” way of education.
    But then… Modern times, I guess??? Sad…

  6. Darcy

    [@Louis] Well said indeed. Most of the problems in our schools can be traced to a few problems, from too many incompetent teachers to children with no self (or imposed) discipline. Online learning has those problems and more. There’s no interaction between the students, a key aspect of learning IMO, or with teachers who can help a student to understand something. (Again leaving out incompetent teachers.) It’s just magnifying the problems.

  7. John K

    Louis, I couldn’t agree with you more. Tablets and teachers who are there to provide guidance when required (as the proposal formulated it) are no substitute for knowledge and logical thought. I am very glad I was educated the old way and would never have wanted anything else for my children.

  8. Louis

    I fail to understand the criticism against ‘traditional’ education.

    Take a step back and ponder the following :

    EVERYTHING we have nowadays, every bit of technology, every innovation over the last century +, stands on the shoulders of ‘traditional’ education.

    LOOK at what ‘traditional’ education had achieved !!!

    And this is because of this one simple principle :

    Knowledge is NOT information.

    So we’re going to give the little ones iPads now, are we ?

    No more reading, no more original thinking and problem solving, no more expanding the mind, why would you break your little head trying to figure out that answer, look it up in Google silly !

    We’re going to raise a whole generation of morons …

    I love technology, but it has very little place in a class room — if you want to use the ‘saving the poor little darling having to carry all those heavy books’ argument (shame, poor thing !!), then get some cheap eBook readers (without Internet access during school hours), now that I would be able to understand — if technology improves the existing proven system, that’s great.

    But replacing it with iPads (and who the heck will pay for each new iPad which will make the old one redundant ?) just to try an unproven approach, well that’s just absurd.

    But of course, everyone is entitled to a different opinion, and if parents are in favour of sending their child to a school like that, all power to you !

    But I will find a different school, and make sure my child can do the following :

    Actually read a book.
    Solve a mathematical problem without consulting the Internet.
    Actually study for an exam. And study hard. And be proud of achieving a good result that came from his/her effort and use of his/her own brain.
    Do homework that involves original thinking, not copying and pasting from some obscure website.
    Etc

    Do some healthy outdoor sport or play.

    Afterwards you can spend an hour or so each evening checking your email and updating your FB, whatever.

    You won’t need that cellphone at school either. There’s absolutely not one single reason for a child to have a cellphone or iPad at school. If it’s about books, I draw the line at eBook readers.

    I teach advanced tax law at a University Business School — yes, these students are forever typing and using their iPads and iPhones in class, but judging from the quick hiding of open screens whenever I happen to walk past, it’s not related to my class (frankly I don’t care, it’s a university and they’re adults).

    But I sure as heck would have cared if that was a school class-room, big difference. Trust me, unless you install signal jammers for cellphone and wifi on the school terrain, THEY ARE NOT BUSY WITH YOUR WORK THERE AT THE BACK , DEAR TEACHER !!