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Netherlands To Launch 11 iPad-Centric 'Steve Jobs Schools'

Approximately 1,000 students in the Netherlands will attend one of 11 new "Steve Jobs Schools," with flexible hours and an emphasis on learning through iPads, this August.

Students will be able to learn or play on their iPads as they see fit, and a purpose-built app on the devices will track their activity and progress for teachers and parents. If students don't use a learning app, or it doesn't help them progress, their teacher will switch it out with another.

Launched by Education for a New Era (O4NT) and open to students aged four to 12, the schools will be open from 7:30 in the morning until 6:30 in the evening every weekday, though students will only be required to attend from 10:30 to 3:30. The additional hours, according to a New York Times report, are intended more for child care and will not feature formal schooling. The schools will be open 50 weeks each year, only closing for Christmas and New Year's, in order to conform to students' personal and family schedules.

Students, teachers, and parents will meet at the school or via Skype once every six weeks to set learning objectives, and the schools will have "no blackboards, chalk or classrooms, homeroom teachers, formal classes, lesson plans, seating charts, pens, teachers teaching from the front of the room, schedules, parent-teacher meetings, grades, recess bells, fixed school days, and school vacations," according to a Spiegel Online report.

Gertjan Kleinpaste, principal of one of the schools in Breda, told Spiegel Online "The interaction between the child and the teacher remains the foundation of the lesson," and added, "It isn't as if the children will just be sitting in front of a screen here," where students will still play, engage in physical activity, build things, and draw.

Funding for the devices will vary from school to school — some will provide them for students and others will require students to buy their own. Parents who can't afford an iPad will receive a subsidy from an O4NT solidarity fund to allow their child to attend one of the schools, which are publicly funded.

More information on Education for a New Era and the Steve Jobs Schools is available at o4nt.nl.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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