Beneath the public veneer of pioneering computer engineer Steve Wozniak is a fifth-grade teacher, the keynote speaker admitted Monday night at Abilene Christian University’s 2011 Connected Summit.
The co-founder of Apple Inc. spoke to a crowd of more than 2,000 in Moody Coliseum in a wide-ranging conversation with Dr. William Rankin, ACU’s director of educational innovation and associate professor of English.
For years, Wozniak volunteered as an elementary school teacher in his home state of California, seeking to connect with and motivate youngsters of all abilities and interests, especially shy ones like he was as a boy.
“Each student is different, and learns differently,” Wozniak said.
He envisions a classroom of the future where all students have computers that recognize and serve the user – as he says his iPhone does – with minimal guidance from a teacher.
Wozniak described his struggles in the 1970s trying to stay on as an engineer with Hewlett-Packard and build Apple I and Apple II computers at nights and on weekends with his friend Steve Jobs. Even after a financier was found to help the cash-poor pair fill the orders for their products, “I was too nice and soft and non-political to run a company,” he said.
Connected Summit – a gathering of more than 540 international educators, administrators, technologists, thought-leaders and policy-makers committed to mobile learning – concluded Tuesday with a keynote address by Adrian Sannier, vice president of product for Pearson eCollege.
Monday’s events included an opening keynote address by Karen Cator, director of educational technology for the U.S. Department of Education, and the grand opening of ACU’s innovative AT&T Learning Studio on the top floor of Brown Library.