Steve Jobs – The advocate of the new changed education paradigms

SOSMEC or SOS for the Ministry of Education and Culture. This was my first thought after I watched one of the most popular educational videos on the internet, “Changing Education Paradigms”. The video is worth its six million views as it follows the creation of a witty comic based on Sir Ken Robinson’s Speech at the RSA, while the actual speech on the need of changing the education paradigms on which we built an entire system is heard on the background.

As the video was playing, ideas began to link like pieces of a puzzle. “We need a  new educational system that…” seemed to be the key element. I found only 6 pieces, but they enabled me have an overall view. This new educational system must not be based on standardization, conformity and production-line mentality. It has to get over the old conceptions about education and focus on collaboration, which is the key to growth. It needs to prepare future professionals that would successfully adapt in a less stable environment. It has to keep motivated students who now start to find no meaning in getting a university degree, as this is not a guarantee for becoming a part of the workforce. It should make students resonate with what they study through offering them an aesthetic experience and it should enable students to keep their cultural identity in this febrile process of globalization. No standardization, getting over the old, taking into consideration the less stable environment, giving a meaning, providing an aesthetic experience, keeping the cultural identity. These are the directions on which a new educational system should develop. SOSMEC.

The need of new education paradigms came as a result of the actual economic and social environment. Nobody should consider that the paradigms under which our grandparents and parents were educated are a complete failure or that they brought no added value. In fact, almost everything we know now is the result of the work of great people educated in this spirit. Indeed, some of the most respected and talked about people of our century are people who, somehow, rebelled against the system and did things their own way.

Steve Jobs was one of them. His Stanford Commencement speech given in 2005 is now part of our contemporary conscience. Emphasizing issues of lifestyle, life philosophy, education, social interaction, the speech is of great value, as people of different backgrounds can relate to it. As the speech consists basically of fragments of Steve Job’s life, it is quite difficult to make an objective resume, as people tend to see the story as a reflection of their own experience. The following attempt is no different and it also tries to briefly emphasize the common elements between Steve Job’s learning experience and the coordinates of the changed education paradigms.

To begin with, we learn that finishing college is not  a guarantee to a life of success. Following your dreams is. The former Apple CEO was a college dropout. Shocking, isn’t it? The arguments standing at the root of his decision were price/value related (college could not help Steve Jobs decide what he was going to do with his life, while tuition fees were sky high.)

It is essential to never stop learning. One may never know when he needs a particular piece of information or how one can link that particular piece to another element and create something new. The distinctive complexity of the fonts for the first Macs was inspired by Steve Job’s calligraphy skills which he developed while taking a calligraphy course.

Failure and success are relative, as an ending can always be a new beginning. “The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again.” – Steve Job’s comment on what he felt when the Board of Directors fired him from the company he established.

Of course, it is hard to reach such conclusions in times of sorrow. You cannot connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. Through a reflective mindset, one can see how one past decision led to another and what was their role in the bigger picture.

Remembering that one’s time is limited is the most effective way of improving your lifestyle because it enables one to remember which are the things that matter and prevents him to take decisions just for irrelevant reasons.

Steve Jobs’ Stanford speech ends with  a quote: “Stay hungry, stay foolish!” In my opinion, this is an open ending, as  this piece of advice leaves room for interpretation. It could be an advice to keep the will to start new things as you did not achieve anything until that moment and take the freedom to make mistakes in order to learn from them. Or to be keen on new experiences and to avoid taking things too seriously. Or…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *