Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Pedagogy: What Would Steve Jobs and Plato Do?

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Pedagogy: What Would Steve Jobs and Plato Do?

Article excerpt

The maturing of digital technology is returning higher education to the age of the School of Athens, when Plato dismissed books as a dangerous disruption to education.

That was the argument made by William Rankin, director of learning at technology giant Apple, who said that it was up to universities to ensure that technology was used to connect students to the world rather than to isolate them from it.

Speaking at the Universia International Presidents' Meeting in Rio de Janeiro on 29 July, Dr Rankin said that the School of Athens was built on the precept of students "walking through the streets exploring the world around them" without relying on the books whose use, Plato believed, would cause people to "cease to exercise their memories".

As books went on to transform teaching, Dr Rankin said, they "pulled people out of contact with everyday life. In the age of the medieval university there were town and gown riots, where the schools were seen as enemies of culture by people living nearby. ā€¦

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