On Wednesday, August 21, 2013, seven schools opened in Sneek, Breda, Almere (2x), Emmen, Heenvliet and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, that operate according to the principles of the O4NT foundation ( Education for a New Era). The role of the iPad is crucial to the schools’ approach: every child has access to a virtual school through its iPad. By the end of the current school year, at least twelve schools will be providing education according to the O4NT model. The O4NT foundation is reviewing the method with school boards across the Netherlands, and they expect many more schools to adopt the O4NT principles next year.
The Master Steve Jobs School in Sneek, and the Steve Jobs School Breda are implementing all facets of O4NT education simultaneously. The other will initially start using the approach in the first grades and gradually extend its use to the higher grades.
The 58 core objectives set by the Dutch Ministry of Education can be reached much more effectively because of the one-on-one student-iPad ratio. This creates space for the additional O4NT goals: promoting the childs individual talents and developing 21st-century skills. These skills include ICT and information processing, collaboration, and developing a critical, problem-solving and creative mind.
This ICT-based approach will have a major impact on the role of the teacher. In the O4NT approach, 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. Because educational apps are used for basic skills, the learning process can be completely adapted to the individual childs learning speed and style.
When they are in the physical school building, the children will move around the various subject rooms according to their individual schedule, e.g. the language room, math room, creative lab, gym or technology lab. They can also attend planned activities that they have registered for. Parents can follow via a special app exactly what their child has been doing during the day and the children also maintain their own portfolio, documenting their progress and achievements.
School hours and vacations will be very flexible once the O4NT method is completely implemented. Because the virtual school is available on iPad 24/7/365, parents are free to book their vacation at a convenient time and to determine what their child’s school hours will be. School and out-of-school care are seamlessly integrated. Legislative restrictions are currently preventing this ideal scenario from being realized, but O4NT is in the process of solving this in consultation with the Dutch Ministry of Education.
In order to implement this innovative form of education, O4NT and its partner developers have introduced various new tools.
sCoolSpace is a virtual schoolyard, where students can meet safely in an augmented-reality environment. The Tiktik sCoolTool system manages schedules, attendance, parent contact and portfolios, all at the same time. Students use sCoolProjects to work on research projects and other assignments in small groups, supported by a coach. Through iDesk Learning Tracker, teachers and parents (and publishers) can follow the results their children achieved using educational apps.
DigiTalenten will annually report on what the students digital life looks like and what ICT skills children have mastered.
Symbaloo is used for sharing and distributing knowledge, within the school as well as between schools and O4NT.
Not just students in the Netherlands, but Dutch-speaking children around the world will soon be able to benefit from the O4NT curriculum. Expat children can either attend a full-time Dutch-language education via their iPad or start a program that complements their education abroad. O4NT International is expected to start in early 2014.
You can see videos of this school and tools at:
For more information, and to see videos of these tools:
More detail here:
This site offers 20 different apps for the iPad that you
could be doing at school (and thats only a very limited selection: