Steve Jobs Comments on Technology in Education

Here in Palo Alto, many follow the cult of the late Steve Jobs. Well, maybe the term cult is a tad exaggerated, but it’s safe to say that many of us hold this icon’s products and vision close to our hearts. Steve Jobs, raised in Cupertino, founder of Pixar, CEO of Apple, was (and can still be considered to be) a huge figure in the Silicon Valley.

Jobs stood for the improved future that technology innovation can bring us. However, he believed that even technology is limited when it comes to education. In an interview in 1994, he discussed the importance of human teachers. Though this conversation took place almost 19 years ago, this issue is still hugely important and relevant. While Duolingo, Khan Academy, and endless other companies are trying to change the face of education, and machines do complete some tasks better than human teachers (such as quick grading), there is still immense value in being taught by a real life teacher.

According to Jobs, machines are limited because education is about much more than learning facts. He said,

“I absolutely don’t believe that technology is the most important thing….The most important thing (in education) is another person. Another person that guides your curiosity, that insights your curiosity, that feeds your curiosity. Machines cannot do that in the same way that people can. Computers are reactive…Kids need a guide, they don’t need an assistant.”

Though assistance is important (learning math), guidance is essential (learning to enjoy math an learning in general). While technology is a marvelous tool in education, and will surely improve even further, we must remember that humans cannot really be replaced….. For the time being, at least.

If you are interested in listening to more of Jobs’ ideas, you can watch the whole video here.

For more information about Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park and other unique word problems, visit our website at!


Math Enrichment and Math Skills, a Bay Area Blog Post

Perhaps more than with any other subject, math builds on previous knowledge. Without a solid understanding of addition, it’s hard to understand multiplication, and without a solid understanding of multiplication, it’s even harder to understand exponents. In some sense, then, the findings of a recent National Institute of Health study were unsurprising: students who do perform below average in first grade math are much more likely to also struggle in seventh grade, unless they get intervention.

You can read the full report on the study here.

Confidence in Math Early Pays for Later Life, Especially in the Hypercompetitive San Francisco Bay Area

Approximately 20% of adults in the United States lack the basic math skills required to for every day life, or numeracy. Obviously the

First Grade Math Help and Math Enrichment

required math for the high-paying, competitive technology jobs found around Palo Alto and Menlo Park, making the importance of building early mathematics skills even greater. Those children who are above average in math skills in first grade are the most likely to also be above average in seventh grade and in high school, when the harder math concepts such as functions, algebra, and geometry are introduced. However, if a child is below average in first grade, the gap between their skills and the skills of other students by middle school is likely to be even greater. A child simply cannot afford to fall behind at an early age if they wish to be successful in math. And because a solid understanding of math is the basis of science, a deficiency will make other subjects more difficult as well.

Math Tutoring Can Make All the Difference for Your Bay Area Child

Although many of the schools near Palo Alto and Menlo Park, both public and private, are some of the best in the state, a child can still suffer from a lack of personal attention during early grades, causing them to fall behind in math. Special math instruction, such as a tutoring program, can help to make up this gap and even put a child ahead of grade level, making future success far more likely. The NIH study cited number relationships, representations of real situations with numbers, and breaking numbers into their component parts as especially crucial for building a solid math foundation, and each of these is a major focus in math help for young students here at Mathnasium. In addition, special math instruction can help an older child make up a gap from earlier years before it significantly affects their performance, as it has for many students at Mathnasium from Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Redwood City, and more.

> Learn more about Math Tutoring in Palo Alto / Menlo Park

~ Mathin’ Catherine, 2/27/2013