Starting in August, 11 so-called "Steve Jobs schools" will start running in the Netherlands, says German publication Der Spiegel
. The schools will be primarily iPad-based, substituting the tablet for things like textbooks and blackboards. Students will also be free of strict schedules, homeroom teachers, and even grades, choosing what they want to learn about and completing projects at their own pace.
Each teacher will serve as a more of a coach, helping students as needed. The iPads will let students finish schoolwork wherever they may happen to be. To keep things on track, each iPad will let teachers and parents know what children are up to. If the educational apps used impede progress, teachers will be able to order new ones.
In all about 1,000 children aged four to 12 are set to attend
the schools. At one of them, located in Breda, math, reading, and text comprehension will be core subjects; curricula will be decided every six weeks in meetings with teachers, children, and parents, who will communicate either in person or via Skype. The school will be open from 7:30AM to 6:30PM each workday, but kids will only have to be present between 10:30AM and 3:00PM. Only Christmas and New Year's will be official holidays, but families will be able to go on vacation whenever they feel like. While at school the Breda students will be allowing to pursue activities away from their iPad, such as drawing, building, play, and physical activity.
The Steve Jobs schools are are said to be part of a movement pushing for educational reform in the Netherlands, looking to go beyond outmoded forms of education. The shift is said to be supported by most political parties in the country, except for the right-wing PVV, which calls for "more structure" in classes. Each of the new schools is being publicly funded; parents unable to afford an iPad on their own will get a subsidy from a solidarity fund. The schools' current nickname could potentially become official, but neither Apple nor Jobs' widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, have been told about the idea.