www.edudemic.com : How Steve Jobs Impacted Education

There’s been no shortage of studies on Steve jobs and the makings of Apple.  What is it that made him and his company so successful?  The consensus seems to be that a tremendously successful company is forward-looking and unafraid of making mistakes – and quickly learning from them.

But how can we apply these lessons to education?  Jesse Langley of edudemic.com explains how in excerpts from the article How Steve Jobs Impacted Education.

Making Mistakes
I think that the basic issue that underlies our inability to find workable and scalable solutions to an education system that no longer serves us well is simply fear. Fear of failure. Fear of getting it wrong. Politicians fear meaningful education reform because it could cost them politically to make tough choices. Teachers fear that reform could endanger their jobs. And the paralysis of fear doesn’t bode well for a system that needs boldness and vision. Steve had the attitude we need in education right now: “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.” That’s the kind of spirit that we need to embrace. Jobs’ successes are legendary. But it’s worth remembering that his failures were epic as well when viewed strictly in terms of financial outcomes.

Motivation Matters
We’ve become so focused on results that we don’t always reward motivation and good intentions. But these things matter. In our schools, we’ve become so focused on outcomes and test results that we’ve lost the elements of creative spark. We don’t reward students for effort and innovation, and we punish failure. The unintended consequences that we’ve created are a lack of imagination and no motivation to try something that has a chance of ending in failure. We want assured outcomes and rigid structure. Our education system is an anti-Jobs model; we don’t reward creativity. When Steve Jobs’ creativity was stifled and he was pushed out of Apple back in 1985 he started a company few remember. It didn’t experience much success. But the influence still lingers.

I agree wholeheartedly with the author of this article – we are held back not only in the realm of education reform by the fear of failure and the failure to reward effort, but also in our individual lives.

 Read Langley’s full article here.

-Kristen

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