Last week I read Walter Issacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, and I was fascinated by how the Apple founder’s long-standing interest in Zen Buddhism led to his obsession with the zen-like simplicity we’re all so familiar with in his Apple products–a simplicity that we, as consumers, now often take for granted.  Issacson says that  much of Jobs’ imagination and energy was spent not adding stuff to his products, but removing stuff, stuff like buttons and features, which not only gave his products their iconic sleek and simple designs, but made us fall in love with them.  He saw computer design, Issacson argues, as a balance between technology and art.

I see Zen Teaching the same way.  Making a difference in the classroom not only takes technology, whether we’re talking about a laptop or a dry erase marker, but takes an intuition, creativity, and sense of artistry.  So next week, when our staff is called back to the trenches, I’m going to re-enter my classroom with a new perspective.  One of reduction.  Streamlining.  Simplicity.  I’m going to start with my desk.  And then the counter by the window.  And then my office.  I plan to remove every button and feature that’s not absolutely necessary.  Eliminate distractions.  

Less emphasis on the technology, more on the art.

My plan is to make my classroom as sleek, intuitive, and user-friendly as an iPad.

It’s time to Think Different. TZT