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Topic: Tutorial software for high school algebra

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Subject:   RE: Tutorial software for high school algebra
Author: KennyTilton
Date: Aug 14 2008
Better late than never, I hope. You pretty much described the software I sold
back in the early 90s as "Algebra I HomeworkTutor". I have now rewritten it from
scratch and am about to release as... well, still undecided on the name, but for
now it's Stuck On Algebra!. (If you see a release of "Tiltons Algebra", I
decided to go eponymous. <g>)

You can download a prelease version from here:

Fair warning:I am still putting on the finishing touches, including tracking
down bugs. I hope to have it polished and stable by the free trial cut-off
date of October 1. That said, it is fairly useable now.

The download is a self-extracting archive that creates its own directory named
StuckOnAlgebra, wherever you direct the extractor. Inside the SOA directory will
be a getting started guide with more info.

I am pre-releasing it precisely to get input from educators on how it might be
improved. My design is surprisingly malleable, so just suggest and let me worry
about what is doable.

In your wish list one thing I do not do is record bad work. I do not record any
work, actually, but I will change that shortly to record problems entered by the
student. I just record student scores on the "missions" (quizzes) they attempt,
and only when they succeed.

My model for this design is the GT4 roadracing game for the PlayStation. :) The
idea is to, yes, hold students to a standard by making them really do the work
and pass the tests, but also to disregard failed attempts. Students understand
this model from video games, they know how to use "Learning" and "Practice" mode
to improve their skills so they can turn around and try a test again. That is
the theory anyway.:)

I do imagine teachers will want broad activity measures: what have they been
working on, how many problems, are they working steadily or goofing off or just
stuck. But I am kinda waiting for specific input from teachers -- I could
guess, I was a math teacher, but I'll get better ideas from a bunch of teachers
than just sitting here thinking things up myself.

One principle I do think important, however, is that the kids know that no one
knows how much they are failing -- I want them to stay relaxed as they try to
figure out Algebra.

Well, I will make a longer post starting a new thread in a bit.

Cheers, kenny

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