5 Ways Steve Jobs Changed Online Education

Oct 7th, 2011

Steve Jobs was a tremendous innovator whose influence on modern society is immeasurable. The technology created by Apple has shrunk the world and made the pursuit of knowledge — any kind of knowledge — incredibly simple. His work has also had a profound effect on online education, which has evolved with the introduction of tools such as the iPod and iPad. Students who enroll in online courses value attributes such as mobility and portability so they can pursue their dreams while carrying on with everything else in their lives. Here are five ways Jobs changed online education, or more specifically, how we learn.

  1. Powerbook revolutionizes the laptop, portability: Prior to the early ’90s, laptops were less user friendly and more difficult to lug around. But, the addition of a palm rest and the installation of a trackball (pointing device) in the Powerbook created new standards for mobile PCs, and set forth rapid improvements that changed the industry. A decade later, laptops became essential workplace items, and today, every online student owns one — the Macbook, for example, has been the best-selling Macintosh in history and the best-selling laptop because of its comfortable usability and impressive power. Need to churn out a brief research paper? You can now do it at home, at the library, with a study buddy, or at the coffee shop thanks, in large part, to Jobs.
  2. Podcasting enables students to view lectures anytime, anywhere: Students can view or listen to lectures conducted by their professors thousands of miles away. Podcasting has been one of the best additions to online education because of its simplicity for both the person uploading the content and the person downloading it. Professors can upload supplementary material without wasting too much time, enhancing their students’ overall educational experience. What’s more, it supplements learning by offering access to a variety of expert sources covering a multitude of topics.
  3. iPad makes textbooks, learning easily accessible: And perhaps just as important — less expensive. Educators on all levels have been warming up to the iPad, which can download textbooks, notes, homework, practice games and other online resources, transforming into an all-in-one educational device. For example, Inkling works with education experts to develop more engaging content in their interactive textbooks, which range from essential neuroscience to the pathophysiology of heart disease. They’re better than the average textbook, and they cost about half the price — what’s not to love if you’re in college?
  4. iCloud on the horizon: A lot of hype has surrounded the development of iCloud, a cloud computing service that enables users to store data on remote servers and download it on devices such as the iPhone, iPod, iPad and laptop. Excellent for students and teachers, it makes it easier for them to access documents and videos — think notes and lectures. Of course, it’s only available for Apple products, but that could change with time. Many educators project that it’ll be the next major innovation to influence education.
  5. Jobs proves it’s okay to challenge the status quo: Online educators challenged the status quo in education, and Steve Jobs challenged the status quo in technology. He provided access to technology in the classroom, and he made the classroom accessible with technology. As a result, online education has evolved and become more valuable. Online students are accustomed to adopting unconventional methods for achieving success and overcoming challenges, which is why they especially should respect the work and impact of Steve Jobs.