Is the iPad 2 really worth the hooha?

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There has been this HUGE-ASS furore on Facebook over RV's intention to make iPad 2s compulsory. Even the newspapers reported on it. Let's just say that there are two sides to this story.

The social media is really a place where news spread really fast. I knew about RV's intention to incorporate iPad 2s into teaching last year, thanks to my juniors. I did feel shocked, but other schools had been doing it, so I guess that's science and technology for you. However, that intention then never blew up into such epic proportions until today, when the various newspapers started running stories on how the parents and teachers (including the upper management) got into a heated argument over the need to own the iPad 2.

What actually bothered me was how some of the alumni immediately jumped in and started blaming KYC relentlessly for what has happened. People were getting too hot-headed to think rationally and reasonably. They were just ranting on Facebook for the sake of expressing their dissatisfaction at how the school had changed so much since we've left. Granted, I did not, and still do not like the way he handles some policies/matters (wtf is up with lumping ALL the CCAs into the talents and interest groups?! Gimme back my Performing Arts, Sports, Uniformed Groups and Clubs and Societies please!). A number of people have expressed their (negative) opinions towards this scheme and their statuses had many 'likes'. But, what are you liking for? Will your 'like' make a difference to a soon-to-be-implemented policy which the school students have already long known of and accepted?

I know you, the alumni, mean well for the school and have the school's best interest at heart. But have you ever wondered why things have come to this stage? It was because of a PARENT. Parents sometimes really need to hold their temper. If you're being uncivil, then don't expect people to treat you nicely you know. From the Wanbao article I've read and from people's first-hand accounts of what really happened during that meeting, that parent got too 'emotional' and kept interrupting KYC despite KYC's numerous attempts in trying to explain the rationale behind the incorporation of iPad 2s into teaching. So? Who was at fault? The parent obviously. He/she (not sure) gave no chance to KYC to explain himself. He/she INSISTED (that there was no need for an iPad 2) on his/her own way and showed no respect to KYC and the rest of the people who were at the meeting. According to first-hand accounts (which include parents), KYC had already been very nice and tolerant towards that parent. The meeting was to clarify doubts that the parents had of the school's intention to incorporate iPad 2s into learning. The pros and cons, views and opinions could be debated and expressed from there, in a civilised way of course.

Parent, it could have been all right if you raised your objection in a civilised manner. KYC could have the answer that you might be happy about. You could (and should) have given him the chance to speak and heard him out. Did you really need to get all so worked-up and dramatic? Must you really create such an ugly scene? What good would it do to you if your child's school is making the headlines for the wrong reasons? I sincerely hope your child won't be condemned by his/her school-mates just because of your unruly behaviour. Please don't act like those Taiwanese law-makers (or those clan association members who have made the headlines recently) who engage in war of words and physical fights when they don't get their way. Please, we are a civilised bunch of people (most of us are, anyway).

The school did not handle this incident very well in my opinion. The PTA chairman actually told that parent "if you're really not happy, you can transfer your kid to another school.", which I thought was rather untactful. Rage does drive one blind, and blinds one's sensibility. I believe that the chairman uttered such words because he/she had enough of that parent. It was an oversight by the PTA chairman, so I felt that it was utterly unfair when people (like those on Facebook) jumped to conclusions and started blaming KYC for the remarks made. What these people have read were just links which contained only an excerpt of the article in question since Lianhe Zaobao is a paid newspaper. They had probably failed to see the scan of the Wanbao newspaper article that a junior uploaded. If you had read that, you would know that it really is not fair to pin all the blame solely just on KYC alone.

Finally, is the iPad 2 really worth all the attention? Is the iPad2 really worth the hooha? Come on, it's just a technological gadget. Are you really going to let this thing run and affect your life? This incident has been blown to epic proportions by both the media (social and traditional) and students (current and (especially) alumni) alike.

Juniors seem to be in favour of having the iPad 2 for lessons (maybe for other reasons as well, like, the prestige of having an Apple product etc.), while seniors (who have already left school) are questioning the need for it. Don't talk if you yourself own an Apple product. Think about why you bought it in the first place. If you had bought it for its features and convenience, then these are the reasons why the school wants to get students to use the iPad 2s too - its features and convenience. "We studied without an iPad, so the juniors can do it too!" Well, you grew up without a handphone as well, so can you live and do without it now? Just face it, RV is not the only school using iPads for lessons. Other schools in Singapore are doing and have been doing it for quite some time now. Schools in South Korea have replaced textbooks with content from the iPads. Like it or not, technology is here to stay. It's a foregone conclusion that iPads (or any other forms of tablets) would replace textbooks (probably not entirely, but still...) as classroom materials. It's just a matter of time. You'd be a fool if you tried to deny or resist the advances of science and technology.

I shall just sit back and watch how the drama unfolds. Of course, like any other drama junkie, I do like to see a happy ending. ;)

Disclaimer: I don't think many people (especially the alumni) are going to agree with me on this, but hell yeah, I really don't give a damn. The above are just purely my own views. If any of you RVians (current or ex-students) stumble upon this, please do take note that while I am no fan of KYC, I'm disturbed by what I perceive as over-reaction from my ex-schoolmates (my batch-mates nonetheless, maybe because many of them are my friends on Facebook), which has compelled me to come up with this post. Not happy, just siam OK?

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