Do not dismiss new ways of learning

I refer to the report, "Parents question use of iPad" (The New Paper, Feb 1).

The wonders of technology are all around us in modern societies like Singapore.

In fact, technology is the backbone in fields like commerce and medicine, which use top-notch systems and equipment for trading and for diagnosis and treatment.

But are mindsets on a par with Singapore's developed technology infrastructure?

From the report, it appears not.

The exchange at River Valley High School, that took place during a briefing session, has highlighted some of the parents' concerns.

Among them, the device's cost - about $700 - and access to unsuitable online material.

Yes, the initial cost may be steep, but an iPad is a long-term investment. Students can use the device when they go to junior college or polytechnic.

The device lasts for years, can hold more content than some books, and have many uses - it can take pictures and play music, which traditional books cannot.

On parents' concern about unsuitable material online - they should not assume that the gadget will be a channel for unwholesome content.

Give the students the benefit of the doubt - that they are mature enough to filter what is educational and what is not.

Also, mindsets cannot remain fixed.

The school is trying to enhance and accelerate the pace of learning, but the parents do not seem to appreciate that change is necessary. Many schools already use iPads as teaching aids.

At the least, parents should appreciate the school's one-year effort in planning the programme, and any exchanges should have been civil rather than furious and intense.

The iPad is an ingenious contraption. It can help simplify complex concepts.

I, for one - as a student waiting to enrol in a polytechnic - welcome it as a teaching tool.

Parents should embrace the wonders of technology and learn to understand the school's motives.

(TNP reader Muhammad Afiq Zamzam)


This article was first published in The New Paper.