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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Schoolhouse Review: VideoText Interactive Algebra Online

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I received online access to use the Algebra: A Complete Course lesson modules A-F, from VideoText Interactive.
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The package I received is called:

Algebra: A Complete Course and includes Modules A-F, online - $299

It includes Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, and Algebra 2 and licensing for two students with 176 video lessons presented in logical order. Additional materials that are part of the package include online, but also printable:

360 pages of Course Notes
590 pages of WorkText
Solutions Manual
Progress Tests

Additional students may be added for $49. The license lasts three years.

If you prefer, you can purchase individual Modules, and there is also a DVD complete Algebra package you can buy, instead, for $529.

The Recommended Age/Grade Level and Teaching Approach:

Algebra is usually introduced at the end of the middle school years or the beginning of the high school years, so the program is intended to be used with students in this approximate age and grade range of Grades 8 through 12, but does leave room to adjust it for a younger or older student.

My son used the program for this review, and will be using it for his Algebra studies throughout the rest of the school year. He is 13 and in the 8th grade. The other math course we were previously using would have put him at a pre-algebra level, but this VideoText Interactive approach has been very easy for him to follow and grasp algebraic concepts.

VideoText Interactive does provide a helpful guideline to determine whether or not your child is ready for Algebra:

The program arrived in the form of an online subscription. Any printed material included is done by us by downloading it from the online program.

He is using the program on his laptop that runs Windows 7, and we have been printing out the tests for him to take and then compare his answers with the online answer key, which you could also instead print out.

VideoText Interactive Algebra presents the math “text” as an online video. Everything is online, but it does provide activities and tests that you print at home, on a home printer, as needed.

The program takes a unique approach to teaching. Instead of a spiral approach, where one method builds on another and a ton of memory work is needed; VideoText Interactive Algebra uses an analytic approach. It presents the material of each lesson on a video that lasts between five to ten minutes, but could end up taking as long as 15-20 minutes or longer depending on how often your child needs to pause it. 

While it includes Pre-Algebra, Algebra I and Algebra II in the package, it is not presented in the traditional format you may be used to. There is a guideline provided for you to customize the program for your child’s specific learning level.

The student is encouraged to use the pause button as often as needed to stop and make sure each concept that is presented is fully understood before moving on. Read more about the details of how to use the program here.

The makers of VideoText Interactive encourage any and all questions you might encounter along the way. The packet I received included a large amount of reading materials to get started so I fully understood the concept and how to use the program. It also included a phone number. They are there and ready to answer anything you need to know to help you and your student on their journey to learning Algebra. VideoText Interactive is also on Facebook

How We Used It:

I began watching with my son and looked over his test and frequently asked him where he went wrong when missing a problem. However, I quickly discovered that he was more than capable of doing all of this on his own. After I saw that he was flowing with the lessons, I allowed him to compare and “grade” his own tests after I printed them off for him to complete.

Did We Like It?

He really likes this video and analytic approach. He keeps asking if this is all there is to algebra or does it get harder? With each new concept, he keeps asking when it’s going to get harder. So, I can only assume that this approach is the reason he has picked up on how to do algebra so quickly. Another thing I liked is that the program gives each student the freedom to learn at their own pace, and there are two tests in the units, Test A and Test B. If the student needs more understanding in a particular area, they have the option of taking Test B as well as Test A.

I found the teaching approach and the teaching to be completely amazing and sound.  There are some colorful graphics, but seemed to mostly be a person talking.  It is not a super overload rapid-fire, updated fast, in-your-face style presentation.  If you and your student like this hyper stimulation style of video, you will find this to be more casual and laid back.  The only thing my son would have liked to see more of is more online interaction, where he could actually answer the questions online to receive immediate feedback.  However, I thought it was good practice for him to actually use a pencil and paper instead of just the electronic keyboard and mouse.

Please read what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought, here, or click on the picture below:

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