Emily Bailey's Blog

My Twitter Find…

October 31, 2014 | 3 Comments

On my personal twitter account I’ve recently started following GuardianTeach and TES in case I see anything relevant to my Research Project this year. I have found a few good articles for it but also discovered some interesting articles and ideas. I was scrolling through my feed today when a post from Guardian Teach titled ‘Inside Steve Jobs Schools: swapping books for iPads’ popped up. As a book lover I felt inclined to give the article a read…

Click here to visit the guardian education website

Click here to visit the guardian education website


What is a ‘Steve Jobs School’? 

These are schools with no workbooks, whiteboard, blackboards or even formal lesson plans(!). The structure of the school is children dropping into 30-minute work shop sessions on various subjects. There are no seating plans and 45% of learning takes place on an iPad-which the children are given when they join.The work shops the children attend are decided by the teachers, parents and children themselves as part of a six week learning plan. They use web-based learning programmes that adapt to the children’s results. Teachers are described as ‘talent coaches’, helping children to achieve specific learning goals.


Where? When?

This began just over a year ago. Seven schools educating 1000 4-12 year olds opened up their doors. These schools are in cities like Amsterdam and there are now 22 of them across the Netherlands.

Does it work?

There has yet to be any formal research carried out, the entrepeneur Maurice De Hond has commented that children are getting more self-assured over the year in his schools. He believes the iPads are helping children to concentrate for longer, particularly for those children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD). Robin Smorenburg, an apple educator, notes that ipads allows children to see their learning in an alternative way to just seeing exam results. The independent element to this learning doesn’t work for all children, but it allows teachers to give more attention to children who need it. It has been suggested that their involvement in designing their own learning goals increase their engagement within their learning.

Watch Maurice DeHond talking about his schools below:

What do the critics say?

Critics have said that it limits the creativity within learning, they are taking in information rather than embracing their creativity. Others have noted that ‘there’s something inherently wrong with building a school around a brand’, that schools should be independent and not linked to a product. This method can also make it difficult to see a child’s development and progression- you cannot see how they’ve done something. Children often learn a lot from exploring their misconceptions and this method does not adopt this strategy. As ever, the safety issue has been bought in, and rightly so. Children’s work will be online and this needs to be effectively protected and what they see needs to be effectively monitored.

What do I think?

I can definitely see the benefits of using iPads for children’s education. Children are interested in iPads so will be more likely to want to get involved. I have seen the benefit they have for children with behavioural difficulties or SEN, whilst on placement 2a a particularly disruptive child was taken out of the classroom with a TA. He was very interested in iPads, often he wouldn’t converse with you but once I got him talking about iPads there was no end to our conversation! He also responded well to activities on it, willing to take part which was not always the case for other activities. It is good that teachers have more time and are able to focus on children more, which is a constant issue.

However, if children use iPads in their education everyday who’s to say the novelty will not wear off? I love thinking up creative and interactive lessons and I think it would be a shame to lose this to technology. Though I believe iPads and ICT should be thoroughly involved in the curriculum I don’t feel it’s effective to base a whole school education plan on them. It will be interesting to see the results!


What do you think?

I would love to know fellow teachers/trainee teachers/parents opinions on this so please feel free to add words to the answer garden or leave a comment!


What is your opinion of Steve Jobs Schools?… at AnswerGarden.ch.


Marsh, S. (2014) Inside Steve Jobs Schools: swapping books for iPads. [online] Guardian. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2014/oct/07/text-books-school-ipad-steve-jobs-classrooms [Accessed: 31/10/14].

3 Comments so far

  1.    Hayley on November 2, 2014 12:20 pm      Reply

    I think using iPads in school is a great idea, children who have used them on previous placements are engaged in their learning. I feel this could be influenced by the fact they aren’t a consistent tool in the learning. If children use them on a regular basis for a large amount of the time, I think they will soon lose the excitement value. This could also reduce the effectiveness of the iPads. Thanks for sharing!

    •    Emily on November 2, 2014 9:22 pm      Reply

      Definitely Hayley, our opinions on this are very similar. I can see the benefits of iPads but think a whole school approach based around them could decrease their value. Intersting idea though.

  2.    Sophie on November 7, 2014 5:23 pm      Reply

    I have never heard of the ‘Steve Jobs School’ before reading your post, and the whole concept seems extremely different, especially not having formal lesson plans! However, I agree that iPads can make learning interesting and fun for children, but I feel that if used too often that novelty will eventually wear off.

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