Thursday, May 29, 2014 by Jethro Jones
Apple is a technology company that excels at making software that is inspiring and innovative. If any company were able to create something with technology that would be amazing and inspiring, it would be Apple.
They just purchased a company called Beats, which makes headphones, speakers, and in just January of this year, released a music steaming service in a field crowded by Pandora, Spotify, iTunes Radio and more.
The coverage is mostly about the streaming music service as the reason for the purchase.
Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, said, "We get a subscription music service that we believe is the first subscription service that really got it right. They had the insight early on to know how important human curation is. That technology by itself wasn’t enough — that it was the marriage of the two that would really be great and produce a feeling in people that we want to produce." Emphasis added.
Apple gets what our current scripted programs, Value-Added Measures, computer programs, focus on big data, and an emphasis on standardized tests doesn't get - it is the human connection that matters.
Education is about connecting people. It is not about standards, racing to the top, international test scores, or high stakes tests. It is about teaching people to be human beings.
Furthermore, the Beats Music programming team consists of experts who are dedicated to their craft:
"The Beats Music programming team is comprised of qualified music experts with a combined 300+ years of experience representing virtually type and format of music available. Their unique backgrounds are as diverse as their musical tastes—from mainstream music magazines, to specialty music blogs, to radio promotion, label A&R, and much more." Emphasis added.
This idea of establishing the human connection with people who have devoted their lives to one thing sure flies in the face of current churn and burn practices and Teach For America cohorts we have now.
In education now, experienced teachers are often viewed as old stodgy people who just get in the way and cost too much.
Well, Apple just showed that the things we are forcing out of education are still highly valuable by spending 3 Billion dollars on a company to get its human connection and experience. That is 7 times as much as it paid for its largest acquisition previously (NEXT for about $400 million )
And that is more than the state of Utah spent on all public education in 2011 (page 4 of this).
In education and business we often look to Apple as a case study for creativity, iteration, shipping a product, innovation, and more. It is time we look at it as an example of the importance of human connection and start getting more of that into education.
Have a Good Life.