Friday, March 20, 2015

GPALOVEMATH from GPA LEARN (Schoolhouse Review Crew)

Math is always a difficult subject for me to teach because I've got boys with drastically varying skill levels.  I was incredibly excited to have the opportunity to review the math program, GPALOVEMATH, through GPA LEARN.  I feel like both of my guys work better at math when it's computerized.  Since this program fit the bill, it seemed like it would work well for us.  This is not a download, but rather streamed from the internet.  You will need to have an internet connection to use this program.

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I'll take you through the process of getting signed up and started.  I was able to assign each boy their own sign-in and password and also have one for myself.  Once a student logs in, they are taken to their dashboard.  For this review, I'll mostly be referencing one child, Zander, but both of my school-age sons have been using GPALOVEMATH as their math lessons for the last few months.  They each use the program in the same way, so it's just easier to pick one and explain how our household makes this product work for us.

Once on their dashboard, overall progress can be viewed.  There are four tabs, Dashboard, Learn, Engage, Motivate.  Under the Lesson Summary on the dashboard, you can quickly see how many lessons have been attempted, the number of lessons completed, and how well completed lessons rank: Rockstar, Excellent, or Nice Job.

If you click on the Learn tab, you are taken directly to the colored paths of lessons.  There are three paths, differentiated by the colors green, blue, and purple.  I have Zander's lessons set-up to be completed in the recommended order.  This means that the order of lessons is pre-determined.  He can only select a square that is in color, the gray squares have not been unlocked.  They will be unlocked as he completes other lessons.

So, how did we like the lessons?  We all love them!  The lessons are divided into three parts: Instruction, Practice, and Quiz.  You can skip Instruction and/or Practice and go straight to the Quiz.  The good aspect of being able to skip ahead is that if Zander is proficient in that area of math, we can just skip forward and go right to the quiz.  The bad part is that if I'm not in the same room, Zander can be tempted to skip right to the quiz and sometimes that doesn't work out as well as he was hoping.  (In our home, you have to achieve Rockstar to move head.  If you do not, you need to redo the lesson.)

The lessons are engaging and fun and seem to hold the attention of my guys well.  They don't complain that the lessons are too long or boring.  I like that lessons require a great deal of participation from students, not just a lot of talking at the kids.

The next tab available is Engage.  This tab is pretty funny for my boys.  In this tab, you are able to "friend" other GPA LEARN users.  Each child is given a "Friend Code" which is automatically selected and a silly combination of words and letters.  You can find friends by inputting their Friend Code.  My boys each friended each other and occasionally send messages back and forth.  I can also send a message to each of them.  

We don't use this feature very often, but it's a fun way to stay connected in this program.  I figure if I can keep them active and engaged inside GPA LEARN, then they will remain excited about using this program for their math lessons.  So far, I haven't been disappointed.  I don't hear much whining when it's time for them to get started with math.

Finally, and probably their favorite tab of all, is Motivate.  When I set-up their accounts, I was able to go in to the motivate section and select rewards for each child.  I could make my own, but decided to give the pre-made ones a try (because that was easier for me).  I selected Chores from the column on the left -- the Rewards Store -- to get started.  Once I select the topic from the Rewards Store, a selection of chores becomes available.  I then click on the green button that says +My List and it is then added to that child's list. 

This screenshot is from my account.  

The green bar you see at the top shows that I have selected enough rewards that a reward will be given after 8 lessons have been completed.  The boys would like for me to select a few more rewards so they are rewarded more often, but I like the current arrangement.  

As each lesson is completed, points are earned based on how well they have done on the quiz.  So, not only can they receive rewards randomly as they complete a number of lessons, the child can go under their Motivate tab and do a little reward shopping themselves.  They can select from the same rewards from which I have chosen.  

This screenshot is from a child account.

I enjoy how easy it is for me to use as a parent and that it requires very little preparation from me.  In fact, the only thing I need to do is quickly set-up the account for each child and select their rewards.  The boys each know their sign in information so when it's time for math, they know how to get started.  I'm nearby to help with questions, usually going back and forth between the two of them as they work on separate computers.  

We will definitely be continuing with GPALOVEMATH.  Both of my boys like it and I do as well.  If you are looking for a math curriculum, you should head over to Great Parent's Academy!

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