Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review: Math911

I make not make a lot of friends with what I'm about to say, but math has always come easy to me.  I seldom had math homework because I would do it during class while the teacher was still drilling the concept with other students.  Because of my scores on the S.A.T. in sixth grade, I qualified to take a gifted math program at the college instead of the classes in Junior High.  I continued all the way up through Calculus II, when I got my first "C" grade ever and decided I'd gone far enough.  My little Schnickelfritz is following in my footsteps.  We have yet to cover a concept that he hasn't understood and mastered right away.  While we aren't in Algebra yet, it's right around the corner so I was pleased to review Professor Weissman's Math911 program as a refresher for myself.

With subjects like Algebra, Trigonometry, and Pre-Calculus, the assumption has been made that students are mature enough to not need games, gimmicks, or rewards to keep their interest.  Do you notice in the company's logo that it uses the word "tutorial" not "teaching"?  You'll still need another source to learn the concept and skills.  Then you can use the Math 911 to generate problems to drill the skills.  If you have trouble with a problem, there is a green button to the right that lets you see the solution.  Then it will switch to "See Next Step."  You may be able to pick up from there and solve the problem or you may need to see the next step and try from there.

It became painfully obvious to me that I had forgotten most of what I'd learned from lack of use.  The one thing I remembered from Trig. was "Aunt Sally's Tea Cakes" to help remember what functions were positive in each section of a graph.  Fortunately, this method of problem solving worked well for me as I'm a visual learner.  Once I saw the process being done in steps,  I could usually do it myself on the next problem.  On the other hand, if you don't grasp it after watching, there's not a teacher around who can provide alternative ways of looking at the problem.   If you visit the Math 911 website, you'll find a series of PDF files in the middle of the left hand column--these don't correlate exactly with the Intro to Algebra units, but it comes close.  I don't know if Mr. Weiswman is working on modules for the other courses.  The program is built on a Mastery System so  you're not penalized for wrong answers. The program will keep generating new problems until you get eight of them correct. 

It's a small point, but I was distracted by the fluidity of the program.  After you type in an answer and hit enter, the screen will tell you that you're correct (I'm assuming you are), but it won't move on to the next problem on it's own.  You have to drag the mouse to the other side of the screen and click on the New Problem button.  Changing between courses is also a slight hassle.  When you click on the course you want, you'll be force to exit the program.  Then you click on the icon again and when you enter your password, Math911 opens in the new course.

Here's the great thing--you don't have to depend on my review of Math911.  You can download your own fully functioning copy of Introductory Algebra for yourself for free (just look in the left hand column near the top). If this works well with your family, you can upgrade to the Premier Version ($49.94) and access the other courses.  This is a little tricky so I'll refer to Mr. Weissman's instructions.

RE: Activation Codes for Premier, Premier Password, Network Password
Upon purchase ($49.95) your readers should
1. Click on Register button and email us the Registration Codes
2. Identify themselves as a home schooler.
3. They will receive a reply email with ALL Activation Codes for all versions
     listed below:
     a) Premier Version (one user no password)
     b) Premier Password (Multiusers with Passwords)
     c) Network Version (Multiusers with passwords)
4.  Users can switch between versions by clicking the REGISTER button and
     entering the codes for the desired version.
4. Passwords are generated by the software.

Here's where I start to sound like an infomercial--If you act right now you can purchase the Premier version on a flash drive--no downloads necessary.  When you get to the Google checkout, use promo code homeschool  and the final cost is only $9.95!  It's almost a no brainer.  Don't have kids ready for Algebra yet?  The Premier Version includes lifetime upgrades.  But it at this low price and save it for when they're ready.

This software program is currently compatible with Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7.


Disclaimer: I received a free Premier Version of Math911 for the purpose of completing this review.  There was no other compensation for my honest opinions.

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