Apple working to deliver Steve Jobs' vision of the classroom

Apple is still aiming to deliver the vision of the future classroom that was outlined by its founder Steve Jobs

In a rare address to the UK education community Apple has outlined a future in the classroom that involves more collaboration and less focus on concentrating on just gathering and memorising content.

The traditional approach to learning has been to feed facts to children, encourage them to memorise them and then test that process through exams and assessments.

At Apple the firm is still following the legacy of Steve Jobs, who said that the classroom should provide personal learning experiences with feedback in real-time, and the vendor views tablets, smartphones and apps as a key way of delivering that vision.

John Crouch, Apple's vice president of education, used his keynote at BETT to reveal the firm had undertaken several studies of the education market in the last four decades and found that the traditional approaches were failing to provide the creative, relevant, collaborative and challenging environments that students needed.

"It is a far cry from when I went to school and it was all about consumption of content and memorising content," he said that each child was an individual that required a more personalised approach.

Teachers alone would struggle to meet that demand because of the sheer number of hours it would take to devise personalised student plans so the answer had to be using more technology.

But he warned that just throwing some ICT into a school would not deliver change if handled badly and he had seen examples of government spending that provided hardware that speeded up process or acted as a substitution for other tools that failed because the outcomes remained the same.

He warned that the children entering primary school this year were two when the iPad was launched and had never known a time without Google, facebook, Twitter and the App Store: "This is the generation that is now sitting in our classrooms".

As a result those pupils looked for content online, were prepared to share ideas via Facebook and could post thoughts to the wider community on social media platforms.

Crouch said that it viewed content as a freely available commodity and via its app store and iTunes University had already put a substantial amount of material out into the public domain.

"Content is going to be free. It's how you make it relevant that matters," he added "When I was at school collaboration would have been seen as cheating, but now it is a critical component."

"We need technology as an animate engine to help the teacher. It will really empower the teacher to meet the needs of each individual student," he added.

Other firms are also doing their bit to make content available to schools and colleges and Google has announced at BETT that it is launching a Play store education service that enables teachers to find apps and use them in the classroom.

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