Marc Prensky of the Chronicle of Higher Education on Steve Jobs’ impact on higher education (which should remain ‘core’ to Apple’s work):
But what we can’t argue about is that as a result of Steve Jobs our environment has permanently changed. His genius in making devices that are beautiful, fun, useful, and that—most of all—students and others wanted to have, essentially remade our institutions of higher learning.
And that has only been the beginning. Many of the key aspects of the university of the future—including the fast-approaching paperless, bookless, campus; downloaded and online video lectures, podcasts, and courses; and easily created student projects in multimedia—can be traced directly to Jobs’s innovations and his great interest in education. If you doubt the commitment, just go search iTunes U.
Higher education will see the influence of Steve Jobs’s products for years to come: Tiny, elegant devices doing more and more; the opening up of individual innovation through apps; all of one’s own—and the world’s—texts, simulations, music, pictures, videos, and connections in one’s pocket. But don’t consider only the devices.
Students now carry around within themselves, either consciously or (in most cases, I suspect) unconsciously the idea that technology can be both beautiful and incredibly useful in one’s life.
They carry around (or should) in their heads the modern saga of the humble launch in the garage, the successful start-up, the takeover by nasty corporate interests, and the triumphant return that made Apple the biggest tech company in the world. Every college student sees, or should be made to see, in that story Jobs’s unyielding drive toward perfection, toward his ideals, toward, if you will, the very best. And he got there.
Of course, he did not work alone. Another important lesson Jobs has taught students is that real innovation and change can come from multiple minds binding together around a strong leader and a worthy purpose. Technical innovation happens, as the technologist Kevin Kelly says, when the “technium”—the system of all technologies—wants it, meaning when conditions are right. And, fortunately for today’s students, conditions for innovation are right. But Jobs showed students that an individual can also matter: The form that innovation takes depends on who is running the show. And Jobs was the master of form.
It also worth noting that Apple always treated the higher education and arts community differently from the consumer and corporate market. I am not going to speculate on why in this post, but its worth remembering as we look over his legacy.