Learning to use technology is fundamental to the success of our students. Learning to type, as we all as operate various forms are technology, are paramount. Recently, my family was given an amazing opportunity from EdAlive to review two of their products. We were given one-year subscriptions to each of the programs Typing Tournament Online and Maths Invaders Online.
EdAlive is located Armidale, NSW, Australia. It is the goal of EdAlive “To build great educational software that motivates kids to learn through fun.” The varying learning needs of children helps drive their mission. It is because of this that apps can be used as a “out of the box” curriculum or can be customized to the individual learner.
The founder, Graham East, along with his wife, founded the “New Horizons Educational Computing Services”. In 2003, he founded EdAlive, which has become one of the leading educational software publishers in the world.
EdAlive Central is the home to many education apps. In addition to the two that I have been given the opportunity to review, there are also apps found in the following image.
About Typing Tournament Online
Users take a journey around a Medieval town as they learn to type correctly.
The self-paced program first teaches the user about the correct posture, and hand placements.
The user then is prompted to set a goal for themselves, in terms of how many words a minute they want to be able to type. This goal can be modified.
The user the begins their quest in the Mountains learning basic home key positions of a, s, d f and space bar. They then move to the Dragon’s Cave, where they learn the basic home key positions of j, k, l and ;. This continues until the user has learned all of the keys, and proper technique for each.
Each location provides the user with a lesson, three drills, three games, and a test.
Rewards are an integral part in student success. This program provides several level of rewards for the user. In the graphic below you will see examples of these in the forms of badges, movie tokens, and certificates.
At any time, the user can view their progress to see their performance.
What did we think about Typing Tournament Online
Kisha, age 11. “I really liked that you got immediate results. I knew when each lesson was over how I did, and I could go back work on things that I needed to work on. I really liked each of the games.”
Josiah, age 10. “This was so cool. I learned a lot about how to type correctly, and my typing got faster. I really liked that it took place during the Medieval times and there were dragons. The graphics were really cool. The lessons before each drill were a little boring when compared to the rest of the program.”
Zathan, 8. “This was so much fun. I got higher scores than my brother. (insert laughing here). I liked that I could practice over and over so that I could better.”
From a mom’s perspective: I really liked that this program began by teaching them proper posture and hand placement. This was something I really worried about with it being an online typing tutor. However, it did a great job of explaining. I also enjoyed being able to see the progress of each of my children. I liked that they had one login and could access both apps using that one login. The less logins that I have to manage, the better. I really enjoyed that the lessons were self-paced. With the feedback and awards given, my children were anxious to play. They often asked me several times a day if they could do Typing Tournament Online. My children also challenged each other. They would share their scores and try to beat each other.
About Maths Invaders Online
Maths Invaders Online provides options for use. The first option is to complete the Galactic Campaign. The user begisn by meeting Hazel and she explains that the Maths Invaders are hurting her people.
Our job is to defeat the Maths Invaders by defeating waves.
There are ten zones for the user to work through. Each zone increases in complexity, with the first zone working on basic skills, and the last working on more advanced skills.
Before beginning each zone, the user must pass a test to ensure that they know the skills needed to advance.
There are three speeds available for play. The user begins on basic and then advances to the other speeds.
As the user plays the wave, they are given several math problems focusing on the skills that are being worked on in that zone. They must type the answer and use the space bar to blast away the problems. There are problems that scroll across the screen that are worth extra points, as well as problems that inch closer to the blasting ship.
The game provides the user with repetitive math practice by also providing worksheets that can be printed off mirroring questions that are found in each zone.
Another option for use is to choose your own content. The user can choose to work on math skills by level, topic, or times tables.
What Did We Think About Maths Invaders Online
Kisha, Age 11. “It was good. The Galactic Campaign didn’t really interest me. It was more for the boys, I think. I liked that you could print off worksheets that I could do, to help me pass a level.”
Josiah. Age 10. “I liked blowing up the problems. I liked that it was an outerspace theme. It was really cool.”
Zathan. Age 8. “I liked doing the Galactic Campaign. I worked really hard on the multiplication tables.”
From a mom’s perspective: I really found the worksheets to be helpful. Often, we would complete those only if they didn’t do well on a level. However, my daughter sometimes liked to work on them before she completed a level. It gave her more confidence. The mental math component was important. I saw my kids gain valuable critical thinking strategies when attempting to solve the problems quickly. I think that the overall theme was geared more for boys.
I used both apps with each of my three children, in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th. We used it for 15-30 minutes three to four times a week. While they would have benefited from more use this meant my children were spending thirty minutes to an hour each, online. We only have one computer for their use, so we did not want to spend more than that each day. We tried a staggered approach where we would do Typing Tournament Online on Monday, and Maths Invaders Online on Tuesday, but we didn’t like that schedule as well.
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