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 http://www.mathnasium.com/paloalto-menlopark!