Jim Knight - If Steve Jobs Designed Schools





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Published on Feb 20, 2012

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

Steve Jobs was a contradictory character, combining control freak and Zen Buddhist, and technology with design. He 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 fulfils 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.

Presented at the Learning Without Frontiers Conference, London, January 26th 2012.


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