Press Release Embargo: August 21, 14:00 (2 p.m. CET)

Press Release
Embargo: August 21, 14:00 (2 p.m. CET)
First seven Steve JobsSchools opened in the Netherlands
Today, Augustus 21, 2013, seven schools open 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 school’s 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 JobsSchool” in Sneek and the “Steve JobsSchool 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 child’s 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 child’s 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
“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.
For more information about those innovative new tools see Appendix A.
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:
In Appendix B you see the vision of O4NT how the tablet will revolutionize the primary school.
For more information: [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected]
Set of 27 pictures of first day (16 MB each), free to use:
Set of 27 pictures of first day (1 MB each), free to use:
Appendix A: The tools of the virtual part of a Steve JobsSchool
The following tools have been developed by or in collaboration with O4NT and play an important part in
the participating schools. Other schools where students have access to iPads can also benefit from these
• sCoolSpace is a virtual schoolyard where children can meet each other and their coaches digitally.
3D technology and Augmented Reality offer a life-like experience. Not only can children meet each
other here; they can also display their creative work.
Each school has its own, secured virtual schoolyard.
All students design their own avatar, made up from a photograph of their face and a number of
special elements. A small circle below the avatar indicates whether or not they are physically
present in the school building at that particular time.
In sCoolSpace, students can communicate through instant messaging or by contacting each other
on Facetime or Skype. Children can be invited to the virtual schoolyard through the Message
There is a 'Wall of Fame' that can be used as an exhibition space for digital creations.
• The TikTik sCoolTool automatically keeps track of the students’ calendar so that teachers and
parents can see what their children are doing at school. Children use Tiktik sCoolTool to maintain their
digital portfolio. This portfolio is not only available to teachers but also to parents, allowing them to
take a much more active role in the development of their child.
The app can be described as an intelligent, interactive school calendar. It automatically logs the
students’ presence when they arrive at school with their tablet and will auto-display their
schedule. The app also records in which room the student is working. Teachers and students can
use the app to plan activities that other children can participate in. Children can also create their
own activities, e.g. a presentation, and invite others to attend.
Students can share their achievements with each other and with the teacher through their
personal portfolio. The portfolio also contains the results of group projects. This means that
photographs, videos, presentations and screen shots, as well as additional reports, are always
available in the digital archives.
The secure web-based parent portal gives parents the opportunity to monitor their child’s
attendance and current schedule. They can view their own child’s portfolio and even set up
activities that students can later register for.
• Through iDesk Learning Tracker, both school and parents can follow the students’ educational
activities and results on specific educational apps.
It is of crucial importance to the school and its teachers that they are provided with insights into
the child’s development:
How much time did the student spend on this app?
What level did the student reach?
What problems did the student encounter?
iDesk Learning Tracker gathers all relevant information on the students’ activities from the apps
they have been working with. It displays the results individually as well as compared to those of
other or similar students.
This enables the coach to monitor the students’ development and provide them with extra
guidance where necessary. Parents can also use iDesk Learning Tracker to follow their children’s
educational activities or e.g. compare their results to the average for children of the same age.
• sCoolProjects is used for research projects by one or more students.
There is a wide variety of apps that can be used for research purposes. The results can be
recorded as video, audio, text, presentations, mindmaps, animations or eBooks.
Research questions, participating students and deadlines are recorded for each project. Teachers
and students can contribute relevant links by adding them to the project. Every project has its
own special chat box.
Project members have access to draft versions. The completed product can be accessed by
teachers; grading is optional.
The finished project is added to the school project database. This database includes all projects
and can be accessed by every student for reference or inspiration.
• Through Digitalenten (‘Digitalents’), the individual student’s experiences and skills in the digital
realm are assessed. Students complete a survey on This provides insight into the
following aspects:
Experience with and ownership of digital hardware, such as laptop, tablet,
smartphone, gaming consoles
Visits to and membership of websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.
Skills like processing texts, working with spread sheets, searching, creating videos,
performing technical repairs
Because children will complete this survey annually, the development of each student can be
tracked as well as the development of the shared knowledge base across the school. It also serves
to identify the students that have specialist knowledge and experience in certain areas and who
can become involved in communicating this knowledge to fellow students.
• The O4NT schools use Symbaloo as an important tool for exchanging knowledge between O4NT,
the schools, teachers and students. Symbaloo is a smart way of sharing links. Sharing experience is an
important aspect of the O4NT vision; the 'community' of parents, coaches and other caretakers who
support children in their development is also plainly visible on a higher level: in the way participating
schools support each other. (The meetings and training sessions by the O4NT training and expertise
center ‘Sources’ play an equally important part in this process.)
Every school has its own Symbaloo, with collective O4NT components, the school’s own
components and the possibility to add individual elements per project or student.
The most important O4NT links are shared on
• O4NT-queetz is an instrument that can be used for sharing experiences with educational apps and
websites, as well as lesson ideas. (
This application allows coaches from different schools to benefit from the app experiences of all
All of these tools are important to O4NT schools (Steve JobsSchools). But they are also excellent for use in
schools with different educational principles that use their tablets differently.
Over the next few years, the tablet will gain a prominent place in most schools worldwide. The Turkish
government, for example, has already committed to provide tablets to more than ten million students.
Over the next two years, the Los Angeles School District will purchase over 600.000 iPads.
The above tools can play a part in this, either as an inspiration or for actual use.
We invite school executives from across the world who take an interest in our approach or our tools to
exchange information and experiences with us. You can reach us by email ([email protected]) or use the
contactform of .
To see videos of these tools:
The Education for a New Era Foundation (O4NT)
Maurice de Hond
Irene Felix
Hans Theeboom
Erik Verhulp
Tijl Rood
Appendix B: How the tablet will revolutionize primary school
By: Maurice de Hond (
Whenever a new technological phase arises it is initially used as an imitation of the old. The first cars
resembled a horseless carriage. The first news on television in the fifties showed a man reading the news
from a piece of paper. The first company websites were only displaying a leaflet or brochure. It is only
after a certain period of time the new technology is used in a distinctive way in relation to the old.
With the introduction of tablets in schools, as it has happened in the past two years in various places, we
see something similar in many cases. Rather than through a book the tablet is used to spread the material
digitally. When something more is done then it mainly concerns existing curriculum that is given or
practiced in another way.
The real change will occur if use is made of the unique and distinctive features of a tablet. This can be
achieved by teaching a good mix of skills and knowledge, which one thinks children should be required to
have (including the socio-emotional maturation) and the development of the individual skills of the child.
It is fascinating to see the similarity between the distinction of the tablet in education compared to
previous digital innovations and the basis of the huge impact that the Internet finally got on the economy
and society. In my book “Due to the speed of light” (1995) I already pointed that out. Until that moment
the public were practically passive users of the media: they watched television, listened to the radio and
read the newspapers. Because of the Internet everyone’s opinion could be made known to a small
audience in many ways. Whether it was done on a website, a blog, a video, a message on Facebook or
through a tweet, everyone was kind of a transmitter with its own audience. No longer limited by physical
boundaries. Citizens were no longer just recipients but broadcasters as well.
There is a clear parallel if we look at the situation at school and the change that the tablet will bring. My
focus is mainly aimed at primary school, but in fact also applies (to a greater or lesser extent) to other
forms of education.
In an average classroom or group situation, it is the teacher who teaches the knowledge and skills to the
children. The vast majority of the time kids are busy listening to the teacher, carrying out assignments
given by the teacher and training skills under the guidance of the teacher. When students hand in
assignments or say something in the group or class it is mainly to show or demonstrate whether they
have mastered the given material. Only a very limited amount of time students are busy with their ‘own
tasks’ and are given the opportunity to tell or show other students about it.
In approximately the same way as before 1995, when people were just recipients of the media, students
in schools are also the recipients of which is taught by the school/teachers. The roles in school remains
teacher and students. The teacher knows a lot about the subject matter and the student little to nothing.
During the learning process the teacher carries the material on to the student.
Tablets in education will radically break through these roles which schools are based on from the
beginning. And that will go along two roads that will be mutually reinforcing. Tablets used at school (and
at home) allows students to learn about subjects matters the teacher knows little to nothing about.
If a student would like to learn Italian or wishes to study the history of Norway or the particle accelerator,
it’s much easier, compared to the past, for the student using the tablet, which he basically can use 24/7.
There are apps you can use and/or Internet and/or numerous other communication options which the
tablet features. The student can either do it by himself or in a (digial) collaboration with others who are
learning on that same subject or know a lot off. He can probably find a student in Norway who can help
him dive into the history of Norway. In relation to this part of the teaching process, the role of the teacher
will mainly be that he/she gives space and provides a form of guidance, which does not come from the
knowledge of the subject, but the knowledge of good teaching.
Naturally in this category it includes all knowledge relating to the digital domain, such as programming,
presenting, blogging, building websites, etc.
But of even greater importance and the real basis of this revolution is the fact that a tablet is a great
device to capture on all kinds of issues and ways to edit. Which can be vision (taking and editing photos or
video recording and editing or creating drawings), and/or sound. You can enter text and combine it with
one or more components. This can lead to a video/movie, a cartoon, a presentation, a mind map, an
impression, a comic book, a demonstration, an ebook, a special app, etc.
This site ( offers 20 different apps for the iPad that you
could be doing at school (and that’s only a very limited selection). With this tool, the students are not only
able to display what they have learned in projects or themes that are offered from school, but they can
also report on their own (research) projects, own experiences. Individually or in collaboration with others
(whether or not in the same school).
As after the introduction of the Internet recipients became transmitters, next to recipients, students too
become transmitters. Everything they have done and learned, they can share through the wide range of
tools with others at school (and beyond). It cuts both ways. Research has shown that if students had to
pour what they have learned in a form to share with others the subject matters is more internalized.
On the one hand, thus the learning efficiency of these activities for the performing student(s) increases.
On the other hand, other students who are recipients of what other students have created, will undergo
this in a generally appealing way. Therefore there is a much greater variety of knowledge and skills from
many sides, and not almost entirely from the teacher. In addition, they can be inspired themselves back
to their own project whether or not in conjunction with the transmitter(s).
This creates a form of specialization where one student is better with a particular tool than the other.
Students can collaborate to work out a certain output. This will especially be reflected in major join
projects in the context of specific projects (such as the recent Coronation, or the opening of the National
Museum, or any other major project selected by the school). Also, students who want to learn certain
tools can be linked to students who are already good at it. This way we learn the key skills of the 21st
century at school: working in teams to a common result.
This creates a real learning community, where students are alternating the role of receiver and
transmitter. This also applies to the teacher. Besides being a transmitter, he/she will particularly be the
one who organizes, processes, supervises and monitors. From teacher to coach.
Each school can set up a set of standard formats to guide students so they have ideas about the extent,
size and suitable structure. The school also has a number of undertakings in which students fulfill
positions; some of the students will be commited to the content of the iPad like a video journal about the
main events at school, a website/blog about the state of affairs at school, and written, photographed or
filmed reports on guest appearances at school (eg parents).
The tablet distinguishes itself: it combines what specific devices could in one device. To equip each child
with a digital camera, a video camera, and a laptop was a major threshold, in terms of costs and the
learning curve. Due to the tablets, which all students posses (1:1 approach), all these tools became
available for little or no cost, while the learning curve is low.
We can already see the ease with which students in their home environment corporate their skills in the
digital domain. Only a limited part is brought to school. Due to this 1:1 approach what we now call school,
will change significantly.