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iPads the future of education

Seven “Steve Jobs Schools” opened in the Netherlands this week

Seven "Steve Jobs Schools" opened in the Netherlands this week, giving each student an iPad instead of textbooks to encourage individualized learning and, potentially, replace traditional teachers.

The initiative is run by O4NT, a Dutch foundation advocating a one-on-one student to iPad education model to cultivate individual strengths and prepare children for a future supported by technology.

The O4NT foundation is currently in talks with a number of school boards across the Netherlands and they hope that more schools will sign up the model next year. The program has a number of benefits: apart from teaching children useful skills, school hours and vacations are a lot more flexible under the new model — as the "virtual school" is accessible round the clock, 365 days a year (although the Dutch Ministry of Education is currently preventing this scenario due to legislative restrictions) — and the ICT-based approach also has a major impact on the role of the teacher.

Various apps have been developed to help facilitate this new style of learning, including Tiktik sCoolTool — which manages a student´s schedule and assignments — and sCoolProjects — which allows students to work on group research projects. Parents and teachers will also be able to follow students through the iDesk Learning Tracker.

One major shift under O4NT´s system is the role of teachers. According to the press release from O4NT, "teachers will no longer simply convey knowledge to a group of children; they will be transformed into coaches that support children with their individual and group projects."

Additionally, because the student´s educational resources will be available 24/7, parents will be able to determine their child´s school hours and vacations.

O4NT is also planning an international version of the program, allowing Dutch expatriate children around the world to attend full-time education via their iPad. O4NT International, as it has been dubbed, is expected to launch in early 2014.

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