Personal Legacy of Steve Jobs

'Steve  Jobs ,RIP.' photo (c) 2011, indigo_girl - license: many in the world, I was saddened by the death of Steve Jobs this week. While many are going on about the contributions he made to computer and personal technology, I want to remember Steve Jobs for what he has done for me as both a person and a professional educator. No, I did not know Steve beyond what I have read about him. I did not have the pleasure or misfortune of meeting him personally and not really  sure how such a meeting would have gone because I heard Jobs could be conceited and a bit of a jerk when he wanted to be. It was Steve Jobs' vision that has touched me.

Steve Jobs had the ability to take the crazy ideas of Steve Wozniak and others and turn them into products that everyone wanted from the original Apple computer to the iPad. When I first put my hands on a computer in 1979, the machines were not nearly personal. They were too limited and too expensive to be in homes of ordianary people. Apple computers changed all that. While I never owned an Apple computer until recently, the computers I did own were certainly created because of the success of Apple in proving computers could help ordinary people.

I have used computer technology all throughout my teaching career. It was Apple, again, that opened the door to what computers could do in the classroom. Now, I could not think of me walking into a classroom as a teacher or student without a computer to assist me. Lately, Apple again will change education technology by making tablets a portable computing device. I already have started using my tablet in my classroom and cannot think of teaching again without it. Soon, students will storm the gates of knowledge armed with their own tablets, smartphones, and other pocket-sized computing devices. This could be an exciting time in education as students learn to use their devices to write, read, research, photograph, video, draw, and be more creative in ways I cannot imagine now. The fact that I currently get paid to teach computer technology to middle school students can be owed to the vision of Steve Jobs.

My personal life has been touched by the influence of Steve Jobs along with my professional one. I use devices whose creation was due to Steve Jobs' vision. Personal music players and smartphones are a constant companion whether I am driving around, walking or running, or doing other tasks. I listen to books, music, and podcasts to entertain and inform me while I do other things. Apps can track how far and fast (or slow in my case) I have gone. A library of books that would normally take up many shelves of space can fit into my pocket. Vast libraries of information at at my fingertips anytime of day or night. There have been many instances where I needed something and all I had to do was use my computer or phone to order the product I needed. If I need to get in touch with someone I can text, tweet, Facebook, talk, or video chat. As time goes on, I am sure I will be amazed at how Steve Jobs inspired devices will be more a part of my life.

The passing of Steve Jobs made me pause to reflect on how much the man has directed my life. As time goes on people will realize how much Jobs has changed society much like Johannes Gutenberg did with the printing press. As he lay dying, John Adams said "Thomas Jefferson lives!" as his last tribute to a man who gave the United States its guiding principals. Today, Steve Jobs lives through the innovations he inspired. However, somewhere in the heavens Steve Jobs is addressing a group who helped shape the world over time, dressed in his trademark black turtleneck shirt and blue jeans. After he talks about all the things he has done he says "And one more thing, it is the iWorld and it is magical." Rest in Peace Steve Jobs.