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This multifaceted program was created to entertain and amuse youngsters as it teaches them real Math. It targets kids who find Math dull and dreary, and teachers who aim to spice up their curriculum. It may also target an element we think should have no place in our educational system.
As the name on the screenshot on this page illustrates, we found that ‘spice’ is exactly what kids who use this program will discover - and why we would strongly discourage parents and schools from owning this program.
The program is divided into seven sections, Math Labs (experiments in math), Kids and Parents Guide (offering neat things for kids and parents to try), Guided Tours (of the program), Tower of Contents (six important parts of mathematics), Games, Fun, and an Index (to find particular subjects). So far so good.
Our young testers who tackled the “Games” section were initially asked to choose a friend -- an onscreen character to join in the ensuing math adventure. As our testers cycled through the list of characters, they found that many of the characters’ last names were strange and unacceptable entries in a program created for young children. They included names like: Amy Topheavy Constance Ablehand, Elizabeth Diddleygrab, Melinda Seemeover, and Abraham Peepingtom.
We attempted to contact the program's publisher to ask for an explanation -- but received no reply as of press time.
In the course of our testing, we encountered numerous ease of use issues with this program. For example, students must supply their first and last names to use the program. This was a problem for some of our teacher testers who didn’t want their students' full names listed on programs that are used by multiple classes.
Many of the math questions are not specific enough for student users. The questions are vague, and students were confused about what information was to be answered. Our testers were uncertain of how to proceed in some instances. They were given no direction about the form in which to provide their answers, so that although they were correctly answering the questions, they were repeatedly marked incorrect because they were not rounding the numbers at the precise point that the program required. To illustrate the absurdity of this issue, one student was marked wrong because her whole number answer was not followed by a lone decimal point.
PC: Windows 3.1, 95 and 98, 486DX, 33MHz or faster cpu, 15 MB hard drive space, 8 MB RAM, CD-ROM, Sound card and speakers (optional).return to top of page
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