Published by The Sunday Times, Singapore , 17-October-2010
The iMathSg app for Pythagoras' Theorem accessed on an iPhone.
Collaborating with her former student Ian Wen,
Ms Loh launched this and another app
to help secondary students revise maths on their iPhones
Mathematics teacher Loh Cheng Yee may be pushing 60, but that has not stopped her from tuning in to the high-tech appetite of teenagers.
Late last month, the former Chinese High School and Catholic High School teacher launched two applications on the iTunes App Store to help secondary school students revise maths on their iPhone or iPod Touch.
She is the first to put maths workbooks based on the local school syllabus on such a platform.
The apps, both called iMathSg, cover Pythagoras' Theorem and graphs. They are available for US$0.99 (S$1.30) each.
'This is the best way to introduce new materials to students,' said Ms Loh, who has been teaching maths in Singapore schools for three decades. 'Anyway, they don't read books these days,' she said with a laugh.
The idea to put her assessments and tutorials on the iPhone came from her Chinese High School former student, Mr Ian Wen, 32, whom she keeps in touch with regularly.
While Ms Loh provided the mathematical expertise, her former student was the one with the technical know-how.
'I was looking for inspiration and I found it in my two-year-old son,' said Mr Wen, who helped write the iMathSg apps.
He wanted to give his son 'a better life' - one without the strain of a heavy school bag. 'If I can package his heavy textbooks into a small device, I may be creating the classroom of the future,' said the information and technology executive.
While companies such as Britain 's Wiley Publishing, Indian start-up honeHead and Russian software firm App@Phone are providing stiff competition, Ms Loh is confident her background will help set her apps apart.
Ms Loh, who retired from full-time teaching in 2002, is still giving Math Olympiad lessons as a freelancer to students in Methodist Girls' School, Commonwealth Secondary School and Hwa Chong International School .
Since 1977, she has written several textbooks and more than 10 assessment books for schools here and in Asia . They were published by Shinglee Publishers and Singapore Asian Publications.
Upgraded versions of both iMathSg apps are in the works, featuring two additional sets of worksheets for each app. The current versions contain only one set of 20- to 30-question worksheets each.
Maths workbooks for the iPad are being planned for next year. 'The iPad is bigger and has more scribble space for working out the answer,' Mr Wen said. 'Currently, students have to scribble on a piece of paper before they input the answer to the iPhone.'