Seven innovative schools in the Netherlands opened their doors for the first time today, with each of them promising to use Apple iPads to change how schoolchildren learn.
As TabTimes reported in July, 11 so-called “Steve Jobs schools” were expected to launch in the Netherlands in August, with each school serving approximately 1,000 students aged between 4 and 12.
The Education for a New Era Foundation (O4NT) today announced that the first seven of these schools had opened across Sneek, Breda, Almere, Emmen, Heenvliet and Amsterdam.
However, these are no ordinary schools and that thanks in part to the iPad.
The schools are to use the iPads for replacing physical book and submitting coursework, while there will be no longer be a place for the more traditional pens, pencils, blackboards or even classrooms, which are replaced by ‘subject rooms’.
Instead, students will conduct most their work in the virtual world and will even turn to the ‘sCoolSpace’ app for virtually contacting teachers (who will be referred to as ‘coaches’) and other students. The app also integrates Facebook and Skype.
Students will also be able to schedule work and log school arrivals times using the ‘TikTik sCool Tool’ app and even play games on their tablet if a subject matter doesn’t interest them. The 'sCoolProjects' app lets them collaborate on work with other students.
As there is no fixed school dates or vacation periods, parents will be able to take time off as they please and will too be able to monitor student activity from afar by using the ‘iDesk Learning Tracker’ app, which analyses how long students use each app and even compares their progress against their peers.
Despite all this, there will still be some resemblance to traditional education. Students will be expected to attend some mandatory hours at certain schools, and do conventional drawing and physical activity, while teachers will instruct students to use certain education apps on their iPads. Some of these education apps are expected to offer a “Game-like experience” where students are corrected on errors as if they were playing a computer game.
O4NT says that the ‘Master Steve Jobs School’ in Sneek and the ‘Steve Jobs School’ in Breda incorporate iPad curriculum at all grade levels at launch, but confirmed that the other five schools have started at lower grade levels.
The agency expects at least 12 of these schools to be in operation by the end of the school year and says that it is planning an international roll-out (to other Dutch-speaking schools) early next year.