Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

If Steve Jobs Designed Education System

What if Steve Jobs had re-invented the education system rather the computer and consumer electronics industry?

Presented at the Learning Without Frontiers(LWF) Conference, London, January 26th 2012. Jim Knight talked about “If Steve Jobs Designed Schools”, at the end of 2012 we still think it’s worthwhile to revisit this topic.

Jobs had a revolutionary impact on computing, animation, the music industry, printing, and publishing. Last year he and Bill Gates together expressed surprise at how little impact technology had had on schools. Jobs’s wife is an educational reformer, he was a college dropout; but what would it have been like if Steve Jobs had focussed on education? What would the Jobs School be like?

Behind this fanciful question is the serious question of whether we are willing to be truly revolutionary in our thinking about schools. Are we brave enough to truly challenge the many forces of conservatism in education? Can we “invent the future” for education? Can we show learners what they really want and make schools “insanely great”. Can learning become so intuitive, seductive and personal that every child is engaged, progresses, and fulfills their potential?

Jim Knight was the longest serving Schools minister in the last Labour government; he also served as Rural Affairs minister and Employment minister. He attended weekly Cabinet in the year running up to the 2010 General Election, and was made a life peer in the Dissolution Honours List after that election.

Learning Without Frontiers (LWF) is a global platform that facilitates the ongoing dialogue about the future of learning. LWF attracts an engaged and open-minded audience who are forward thinking, curious and receptive to new ideas and perspectives about education, teaching and learning. The idea behind LWF (Learning Without Frontiers) is in the power of disruptive thinkers, innovators and practitioners that share knowledge, ideas and experiences about the future of education, teaching and learning.

learning without frontiers

A post “SUPERSTRUCTURES 2.0” on LWF blog pointed into the core of the education issue…

Rapid advancement in technology, or exponential technological change as described by Ray Kurzweil, means that our education systems must adapt to inevitable disruptive changes occurring within this economic structure.

Education will not change until we recognise and challenge its central role as a superstructure supporting the economic foundation of society.

Historically, disruptions in the foundation structure ensured that the immense supporting superstructure would be more or less rapidly transformed, e.g. the industrial revolution.

So what is our technology determining now and who are our new masters?

In this digital society where power is held by global multi-nationals, companies such as Apple have more money than the US treasury, Google organise what we read, Pearson decide what is taught and assessed in our schools and Facebook decides what we share. Governments, NGO’s and international agencies gather around in an unconscious effort to legitimise these new superpowers supporting a new economic foundation.

What remains clear is that the economic, social and technological changes that are occurring in today’s society are not being reflected in today’s education superstructure. selected 10 LWF Talks Perfect For the Future of Education, Teaching, and Learning, enjoy!


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3 Responses »


  1. If Steve Jobs Designed Education System | Curating-Social-Learning |
  2. If Steve Jobs Designed Education System | gpmt |
  3. What we can learn from the industry of education? | Aleksander Brankov

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“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” -------- Chinese Wisdom "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." -------- Albert Einstein
"I'm calling for investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, educational software as compelling as the best video game," President Barack Obama said while touring a tech-focused Boston school (year 2011).
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