You Need a Person

I really like watching old interviews and videos of Steve Jobs. If I have a few spare minutes before my next appointment I’ll queue up some of his older stuff, or maybe the iPhone launch, and watch him “perform” while on stage just for the heck of it.

I don’t worship the man and I’ve heard many cases of the parts of his personality that I would definitely not admire, but it is fun to watch him because he seems unique in the world of public-facing executives.

Here is a quote about education from an interview done before he joined Apple again in the mid-90s. The interviewer has been asking him about his thoughts on education and he had this to say about technology in education (what is the most important thing):

As you’ve pointed out I’ve probably helped put more computers into more schools than anybody else up until this point in time and I’m absolutely convinced that that is, by no means, the most important thing. The most important thing is another person.

That’s the best transcription I can come up with and I agree with it whole heartedly. We are in the middle of everyone and their landlord talking about how technology is going to change your classroom, make your kids better learners, help improve test scores, and any list of other things … and it is all snake oil. The fundamentals of education haven’t changed and they never will and unless we keep that as the foremost idea in our minds, every single technology initiative is going to fall flat on its face because it cannot, by itself, do anything of any value.

Technology apart from people is fundamentally dead and may even be detrimental.

You can find the interview on YouTube and I’ve linked to the quote so you don’t have to hunt for it. I’ll pull out another quote from that same interview in another post.

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