Saturday, September 28, 2013

Review: VideoText Interactive

Algebra:  A Complete Course is an interactive math course from VideoText Interactive.  What makes it interactive?  Instead of the student having a traditional textbook, which may or may not have separate teaching DVDs, the teaching in this course is done through teaching videos with written notes as a backup.  I was given a 3 year subscription ($299) to the complete course for review.  This subscription includes access to all of the modules for two children.

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This course does not have a traditional scope and sequence.  As the title Algebra: A Complete Course might suggest, it covers PreAlgebra, Algebra 1, and Algebra 2.  The layout of each unit is meant to be a logical introduction to algebraic concepts.  Because of the scope and sequence, it is highly recommended that any student begin at the beginning.

It is generally recommended that you start this course in 8th or 9th grade, but if your child is younger and doing well in math you can consider starting it earlier.  You can start this course with your child when they:
  • can add, subtract, multiply, & divide whole numbers, fractions, and decimals
  • know how to convert fractions to decimals and decimals to fractions
  • know how percents relate to decimals and fractions
  • know a little bit about positive and negative numbers

Once subscribed, both student and instructor have an account.  The instructor account includes links to PDFs for all the course notes, worktexts, quizzes, tests, solutions, and instructor's guides.  The student account includes links for course notes, worktexts, and solutions for the worktext problems.  Both include links to the lesson videos.

Instructor Account

Student Account

There are specific steps for using this program, which includes 176 video lessons.  The first thing your student needs to complete for each new lesson is a quiz over the material learned in the previous lesson.  Once they take the quiz, you check the answers.  If there are any missed problems, your student needs to figure out where they went wrong and then they can receive partial credit.  Following the quiz, your student will watch the new lesson.  You are encouraged to watch the lesson with your child and pause the video when questions are posed and allow your child to answer.  After they watch the lesson, then they should teach the lesson back to you using the course notes.  Once this is completed and the lesson is understood, then the student works problems in the worktext.  The instructor checks the answers, and if any problems are missed the student needs to figure out the reason why.  There are plans for completing the program in 1, 2, or 3 years, but all follow the same basic framework.

I used this program with Ezekiel. I chose to print the worktexts and course notes for him, though this isn't necessary and you could have your student work directly from the computer screen.  We were both impressed with this program.  It really focuses on a mathematical understanding, not basic memorization.  I didn't receive a great math education in high school, and it was mediocre in middle school. I learned some whys that have eluded me for decades by watching these videos--there is a reason why we flip fractions and multiply in order to divide fractions!  Ezekiel enjoyed it as well.  When asked his opinion on the program, he said "I think the videos explain things well.  I liked that he showed relationships between math and language.  The first lessons were really easy and it only took about 20 minutes, but then it started taking about 45 minutes.  Overall, I look forward to continuing with it."

Still not sure?  Check out this sample lesson and supporting material.

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For more reviews of VideoText Interactive, visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew.


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