I think I can speak for our entire IHE community in saying how sad we are at the news of Steve Jobs's death. Few individuals have loomed so large in our consciousness over the past decade as Steve Jobs.
While we may have been critical of Apple at times, we all recognized the genius of Steve Jobs as a visionary leader and as someone who changed how we think about our personal technology. I don't know if Steve Jobs wanted to change higher education, but the technology he worked to invent has deeply woven itself into the material culture of the academy. The emotional connections we feel with our devices and tools are at least partly a result of Steve Jobs' successful reinvention of computers from tools for business to platforms for creativity, learning and discovery.
The news that Steve Jobs has died at 56 feels like a terrible shock, even though we knew how sick he has been these last few years. I think the connection we all felt with Steve Jobs has everything to do with his keynote talks. Most of us have experience teaching and presenting, none of us could do so with anywhere near the flair, polish and perfection of Steve Jobs. Many of us are working to find new ways of delivering education beyond the lecture, but Steve Jobs showed us how lecturing could really be done. We all sit through many vendor presentations, and none of them ever come anywhere close to quality of a Steve Jobs talk.
When I walk around campus tomorrow I'm going to take special note of all the products that Steve Jobs helped conceive and execute. How may Apple products do you own?
Just a couple of weeks ago I purchased my 14 year old her first laptop, a MacBook Pro. She brings it to school every day and uses it for her homework and much of her socializing and entertainment. All the computers in her high school are Macs. So are the computers in my younger daughter's middle school. When my kids go to college in 2015 and 2017 they will go with Macs, the same computer I see most freshmen arriving with (or quickly buying). Windows machines may still outsell Macs, but education for a while now has been an Apple domain.
The world will be a less interesting place without Steve Jobs.
What did you think about when you heard the news that Steve Jobs had died?