Thursday, September 6, 2012

Math911 ~ A Comprehensive Upper Level Math Tutoring Program


I was very grateful at being chosen to review another math program.  I’m just always amazed at the variety of ways one can learn a single subject and all the multitudes of different ways the material can be presented. 


Math911 is a downloadable program with two versions:

1. The free version contains a complete Introductory Algebra (Algebra 1) course.

2. The Premier version is $49.95 and the same Introductory Algebra (Algebra 1)  course as well as :

  • Intermediate Algebra  (Algebra 2)
  • Pre-Calculus topics
  • Trigonometry topics
  • Introductory Statistics course
       You can request from the Math911 help desk a password version which allows multiple users or a network version, which can be installed on one computer and shortcuts can be created on multiple other computers on your home network {if the word “network” freaks you out, it is actually pretty easy and you’ll get step-by-step help in setting this up}.

I’ve found  the topics in the Introductory Algebra program to be appropriate beginning with middle school students up through high school.  You can view a huge selected list of topics covered at the Math911 Algebra In A Flash website.

{If you use the promo code: HOMESCHOOL during check out, you can get the USB complete version for only $9.95!}*

Please note that if you purchase the Algebra in a Flash USB, you must run the program from the USB (see FAQs about this).

I think one of the most important things to know about this software is that it is not a game.  at.  all.  It is a piece of software that takes you through all the major topics of  a math course and gives you practice solving different types of problems. 


The screen is fairly simple and is reminiscent of the Good Ole Days of desktop computing:

math911 screenshot

See the black circle in the gray-outlined box?  That is where you enter your answer.  Then press enter.  At the bottom third of the screen, you will find out if you got the problem right or wrong.  If you get it wrong, then you can click on the button at the right that says, “See Solution.”  Math911 will take you step by step through the problem, with some explanation of what you should do at the bottom of the screen.  When you are done learning with that problem, you click on “New Problem” to move on.  You can see additional screen shots at the Math911 website.

The program is a mastery-based program, so no errors are counted.  You will always get 100%.  I really appreciate that the program keeps a grade book which shows which topics and levels have been worked on.  Of course, since all grades are 100%, it is pretty easy to figure out your score. 

Our experience:   Downloading the software was easy. I did get warnings from my virus software because it is not a commonly used program, but I was able to tell the software to trust the program, and I downloaded it without trouble. 

Once the program is downloaded, you can immediately begin to use the Introductory Algebra program.  To access the premier (full) version, I had to copy down four registration codes, email those to the Math911 help desk and wait for four additional codes to be emailed back to you (I didn’t have to wait very long – maybe half a day at most).   This seems a little big clunky, but once these four codes were entered as instructed, I was able to work on all the courses – including calculus!

{I did try installing the network version.  It was pretty straightforward, but my computer seemed to be missing something, and I just ran out of time trying to figure it out.  However, I got great responses and help from Dr. Weissman, so the network not working is not his fault, but mine!}

Ben started working at the beginning of Introductory Algebra.  This course has a pre-Algebra beginning.  Ben needed to work through understanding values of negative numbers and positive numbers.

Ben started to have some issues with the program recognize his answers.  The program seemed picky about the spacing, comma usage and placement of negative  with the numbers.  Once he thought he had the technique down, he came upon a new issue.  Now, to be fair, I let Dr. Weissman know about this issue, and he asked which sets of problems Ben had problems with.  Ben couldn’t remember.  Dr. Weissman was willing to understand where issues were and make corrections. As a matter of fact, several new versions with modifications were made to the program while we were using it for the trial period.  Dr. Weissman’s willingness to constantly improve his product is commendable.  Ben has a low frustration tolerance for math, so these few little issues of spacing answers correctly really frustrated him and decreased his interest in using the program.  Those with children similar to mine might keep this in mind.

My recommendations & thoughts:  I think that this program is a great value for someone who is looking for a comprehensive upper level math supplement.  There are hundreds of problems which can be added in to your main math program for extra practice.  Answers are provided so your students can see step-by-step where they made mistakes.  Everybody gets 100%! If your student is having trouble with polynomials (or whatever), you can skip ahead to that set of problems.  There are even tests!

I went ahead and tried some of the math problems from algebra that I didn’t remember (which is a lot right now!).  Trying to answer the problem, however, was hard, and proved to me that this isn’t meant to replace a textbook– there just isn’t enough instruction before working through a problem.  Of course, once I got it wrong and could see step-by-step why I got it wrong, I could easily see what do to on the next problem.  So, this might be great for someone who needs a refresher.

Some other hints and good things:

  • tech support and upgrades are free
  • there is no textbook that accompanies this program
  • you can create multiple student accounts so more than one student can use the program (with the right activation codes)
  • plans are in the works for an introductory statistics course

Please click over to the Schoolhouse Review Crew (on the banner below) to see what other moms and their students thought of Math911!


*Prices are accurate as of posting date of this review.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a download of the complete Algebra in a Flash product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

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