1/31/11

TOS Review: Times Alive!

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As a member of the The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew, I received a download copy of the software Times Alive! by City Creek Press.

Times Alive is a fun, interactive way for children to learn their multiplication tables.  It is based on the book.TimesTables the Fun Way! (Also available from City Creek Press)

Times Alive! uses a variety of methods to teach the multiplication facts from 0-9.  City Creek Press refers to these as Lesson Types.  These lesson types are:

  • Movie: students watches a narrated, animated story.  The words also appear on the screen so the student can read along.
  • Song:  A music video where the characters re-enact the story.
  • Paint:  There are 4 fun pictures total from the stories. You use your mouse to color the paintings.
  • Test: The program starts with a pretest and ends with the same test to measure progress.  There are also 4 progress check tests and about 4 tests for specific math fact sections.
  • Quiz:  These scores are not recorded.  Quizzes are short interactive games that review the previous lesson.

To use Times Alive! the student must log in.  This brings up the Lesson List which serves as both the program menu and curriculum outline.  Please note the Log In Screen has a Log In button and a Try It button.  The Try It button allows a student to try the program but will not record or save any of the student progress.  After logging in the student then double clicks on any lesson.  It is recommended to follow the order of the Lesson List.  A  white circle indicates an incomplete lesson.  A yellow circle means the lesson is complete whereas a half filled circle means the lesson has been started.

TimesAliveLessonList

Parents (or Teachers) can view student progress reports by logging in as the student and clicking on the View Student Progress red bar at the bottom of the Lesson List screen.. 

*What I loved about the program:

  • The Lesson List does not follow chronological order.  It presents facts and stories of the easier facts first. 
  • It kept SuperGirl’s attention.  She enjoyed the stories and songs.
  • Times Alive! teaches tricks for the 0’s 1’s, 2’s, 5’s and 9’s
  • Supergirl (developmentally around 6 years of age and duing 1st grade level work) is beginning to recall some of the easier multiplication facts.

*What I did not like about Times Alive! software:

  • I found it frustrating that there is no teacher log in.  In order to see the progress I have to log in as each individual student, log out and then log in as the next student
  • Once a log in name is created, it must be typed in exactly the same time each and every time a student logs in.  Any variation or mistyping creates a whole new student and progress appears “wiped clean”
  • Deleting students or trying to find which name your child used to log in can be quite difficult.  Step by Step instructions are given in the Owner’s Manual but found it annoying to have to search my hard drive for files just to check log in names.
  • I do not believe there is adequate practice or drill for the student to obtain actual mastery.  I would love to see more drill.   I want my students to not have to think about a story in order to remember the answer. 
  • Although it is recommended to follow the lessons in order, there is nothing to prevent a student from just doing any lesson they would like
  • Students are NOT prevented from moving forward even though they may score poorly on a test.

My Thoughts: I think I was expecting more of a drill type program that would use interactive software to obtain mastery of the multiplication facts.  I love this program for introducing the concept of multiplication and for introducing and teaching the multiplication facts but I feel that I would have to supplement this program to achieve mastery. (Mastery would be not just being able to recall the facts but to do so within 3 seconds)  Times Alive! does an excellent job of teaching the facts to increase recall but I feel it doesn’t do enough to increase speed. 

This program was a bit young for Tailorbear,, however, she did enjoy it and I wanted her to review her facts.  Times Alive! was a fun way for her to review her multiplication facts. I don’t believe Supergirl was quite as ready for Times Alive! as I thought she was, however, I am very impressed with how much has learned and retained while using Times Alive!   I will be continuing to use this software with Supergirl as she learns her multiplication facts.

Times Alive!  Software on CD-ROM is available from City Creek Press for $48.95.   A downloadable version is available for $44.95 (MAC and PC versions are both available).  City Creek Press has other products available as well including Addition the Fun Way.

Supergirl asks daily to “play Times Alive!”  the video below is one of her favorite songs.  I was thrilled that when she saw me add it to blog she shouted “3 x 4 is 12”.   Despite my frustrations (listed above) I do think this is a wonderful tool for teaching facts 0-9.

 City Creek Press has more sample videos available here.

Click on the Homeschool Crew banner below to see what my fellow Crewmates have to say about City Creek Press’s Times Alive! software.

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Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received this product free of charge to review. This review is my honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.

1 comment:

  1. That's Lauren's favorite song (cheer?) too. She was singing it over and over in the car the other morning.

    ReplyDelete