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I call it iFad3

March 2, 2012

“Mom, you’ve got to buy me a laptop ‘cos school is starting soon!”

That sounds like what some kid a decade ago would say.  Now that Apple is making its announcement with their new iPad3, I pondered over the necessity of these so-called gadgets in school. I remember not too long ago ( a decade maybe),  one of my students literally drooled with envy knowing such and such a school had university-issued laptop as a standard equipment.  He literally groaned in pain for being in the wrong school. In retrospect,  I recalled my days as a student, I would be considered a first kid in the block if I ever touched or programmed on the Apple II.

Now laptop is no-big-deal anymore, students want a iPad or a tablet. And some teachers even think this may even be a possibility for kindergarten. (See for instance the article by Good Education. ) The  NERDY Teacher dreams of an iPaded-classroom and seriously, I think this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.  Either that or he is a really bad teacher.

But really, who are we kidding? Even after publishing and informing students that eTextbook is available for my course, only ONE student out of a hundred bought ithe eTextbook on Linear Algebra by LEON. A quick survey also showed that everyone who has an iPad (or SAMSUNG tablet or ASUS Transformer) is very familiar with the game called Angry Bird.

More than a decade ago, educator foresaw the popularity of the internet and so using technology was highly encouraged. In calculus, for instance, colleges all across the country taught Maple or Mathematica (we call them CAS) to facilitate viewing in 3-D amongst all other advantages.

Today that software is available on that iPad/laptop and there are also cheap student versions.  At the very worst, they could assess Wolfram Alpha on the browser and that always answer their Math question. But students still hate the thought of doing projects with their CAS on their gadgets.  In fact most students hate Maple /Mathematica.

Stacy Dymalski (author of the book “Confession of a Band Geek mom”) talked about the gadget’s pros and cons.  It is from her, I got the word iFad.  I quote, ” 90 percent of the college students surveyed said they preferred using the iPads, however, average overall student grades stayed about the same.”  I am not at all surprised by her findings.

There is a page called

No, I’m not kidding.  I’m just unsure if Apple has anything to do with that organisation.  As an educator, I am old-school.  I still use the chalkboard heavily.  I still believe the hours spending time with a teacher is more important than any gadget that one might get  his hands on.


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