Yesterday, we lost one of the great minds of American history. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, passed away at age 56. Whether you're a Mac or PC person, there's no doubt that Steve Jobs has reinvented how people use and continue to use technology to fuel innovation. By personalizing the computer and bringing technology to our pockets, Steve's innovations propelled all industries -- including education -- into the 21st century.
While many argue that the education system is too slow to change, Edutopia has documented schools around the country that have embraced Steve's passion and dedication to innovation. In honor of this American icon's passing, I'd like to suggest some ways that we can all remember -- and perhaps even continue Steve Job's legacy of passion and innovation.
1. Take Advantage of Apps for Learning
Applications or "apps" can be very effective in engaging students. Check out Apple's directory of thousands of apps specifically designed for learning. Plus, when you download an app, you instantly make learning mobile. iPad, iPod, iPhone -- whatever the device, you can learn on the go.
2. Go Mobile
Thanks to Apple, powerful new devices are available at lower cost, such as the iPod and iPod Touch. Check out how one school uses the iPod to help young English language-learners master reading, writing, and more.
3. Explore a One-to-One Program
More and more schools are investing in one-to-one programs. Blogger Andy Marcinek, wrote a series on how to implement a successful 1:1 environment. And take a peek at a school that integrates project-based learning within their 1:1 program to transform the learning process.
4. Check out a PadCamp (or start your own!)
This year, a new type of edcamp sprouted up called PadCamp, a free unconference all about the exploration of the use of tablets, e-readers & other handheld mobile devices in K-12 education. Here's a great series from one of the founders of EdCampPhilly (the first edcamp) on how to start your own edcamp.
5. Find a New Way to Assess
Portable digital devices can help you assess diverse learner's reading progress in different ways. Blogger Suzie Boss explains this strategy in her classroom guide, Ten Tips for Assessing Project-Based Learning (page 9).
6. Teach Your Students How to Produce Podcasts
Students across the country are producing an impressive variety of educational podcasts (audio recordings stored as MP3 files or in another format). Read how a fifth grade science teacher helps his students produce podcasts (through Apple's Garageband) to take his lessons outside of the classroom. Or take a look at directories such as the Education Podcast Network and iTunes U K-12 for ideas to get your students podcasting.
7. Discover Apple's Distinguished Educator (ADE) Program
Apple's ADE program helped pave the way to recognize educators who transform teaching and learning through mastery of technology. Google has also followed suit with their Google Teacher Academy and many many more tech companies have also helped elevate and recognize the teaching profession through credentialed programs like Apple's.
8. Engage Special Education Students
Mobile handheld technology have had success in engaging disabled or special education students. Check out Apple's many accessibility resources that includes assistive gaming and technology. And for those developers out there, you can also learn how and why it's important to make their applications accessible.
9. Use Apps to Develop Critical and Creative Thinking
There are many useful apps that can help develop students' higher order thinking skills. Blogger Diane Darrow highlights many apps that not only do this, but also connect to the various stages on Bloom's continuum of learning in her blog series.
10. Have Your Students Develop Apps
Creative problem solving, collaboration, and technology knowledge all intersect when you provide your students a challenge to build an app. Whether it be a Mac or Android app, we all know apps will be around for a while. Why not have your students dissect what an app really is made of and have them use that knowledge to solve a need creatively? Here's a useful blog post by educator Wes Fryer that aggregates developer resources. And check out this post by MakeUseOf that reveals how to develop a simple iPhone app. Lastly, there is a slough of resources in Apple's Developer Center including white papers, getting started resources, video tutorials and more. So . . . get developing!
Steve Jobs was a true visionary -- someone, who will not soon be forgotten. This morning I ran across author Seth Godin's tribute to Steve titled "Eulogy of Action," where Godin stated: "It's one thing to miss someone, to feel a void when they're gone. It's another to do something with their legacy, to honor them through your actions."
So I urge you to remember Steve Jobs by perhaps trying one of the ideas I suggested above, or trying your own idea. Please share what you're doing to remember him below and together we can help his spirit live on in education.