Problem: Learning based on the copying of text that teachers copy onto the blackboard, with rigid classroom schedules and inflexible lesson content, that makes little use of technology while students get left behind, are issues that are being tackled by this network of schools that was founded in 2013. Its aim is to prepare the children, from their first contact with the school, for the world of the future, not for that of the past, which is what happens in traditional educational systems. The iPad is the main learning tool. Maurice de Hond, a specialist in the field of technology, developed this method of teaching. The project was named in memory of the founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, who died in 2011.
Solutions: The network of public schools involved in the initial years of elementary school aims to foster student autonomy. There are no classes, no daily schedule, simply ample space where students can learn at their own pace and in environments of their choosing. Children study together in two different groups of approximately 25 students; one group has children aged four to seven, the other, eight to 12. They can participate in learning activities, play, interact with their classmates, receive tutoring from a teacher, participate in sports, produce art and study culture.
Each day, in the morning, time is allotted for the children to talk about the issues or problems that concern them, or important current events that happened the day before, always under the supervision of a teacher.
Computers help to customize daily lesson planning for each child as well as monitor their progress and performance. Student evaluations occur every six weeks and include the participation of the child’s parents and his or her mentor. Individual iPads are available for each student and the teacher inside and outside the classroom. Students can use the tablet to study, play, share work, prepare presentations and communicate with others.
The school allows students and teachers to interact anytime and anywhere in order to clarify their concerns. The curriculum is focused on developing personal skills, talents, passions and the quality of being, as well as autonomy, but also values teamwork and collaboration. Older students are encouraged, for example, to help younger students.
Virtual tools, such as sCoolProjects and sCoolSpace, facilitate immersion in the field of information technology. In sCoolProjects, the student can collaborate in the development of projects under the supervision of a mentor. In sCoolSpace, students can access the school's virtual community center, within which they can interact with their classmates and tutors from anywhere in the world where Internet access is available. There is also a tool that stores everything that the student has studied. It allows parents and teachers to monitor the development of the children and to determine their next learning steps together.
Outcomes: Children and young adults study at their own pace and feel less pressured. From an early age, they become more familiar with the world of technology and learn to seek out knowledge on their own. In other words, these students learn how to learn in a manner that is flexible, and they are taught how to look for, filter and apply information. They feel good studying at school. Parents can participate in the education of their children in practical terms and they are happy to see that their children are developing their talents. Furthermore, parents also note that barriers do not exist between them and the school. By the same token, teachers feel more inspired to teach. They can also monitor each student individually.