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On Track Software: Grade 1 Math (ages 5-6), ISBN 0-88743-932-2; Grade 3 Math (ages 7-8), ISBN 0-88743-934-9, 2001. (Computer Materials).

On Track Software: Grade 1 Math (ages 5-6), ISBN 0-88743-932-2; Grade 3 Math (ages 7-8), ISBN 0-88743-934-9, 2001. Includes CD + workbook, $19.99. Requirements: 32 MB of RAM, 4x CD-ROM drive; Macintosh: System 7.6.1. or higher; Windows: 95, 98, or higher 16-bit sound card. School Zone Publishing Co., P.O. Box 777, Grand Haven, MI 49417.

These electronic workbooks are designed to support the practice of number, place value, and operations at the given grade level. The series includes CDs labeled Story Problems. The CDs were easy to install-QuickTime is also available on the CD.

The graphics and music can be accessed between exercises and are appealing to the students I observed, but this structure can permit less practice and more game playing. The games focus on eye-hand coordination or logic.

The directions are both visual and spoken and can be repeated if needed--a feature that is quite an asset for first graders. Spoken encouragement to keep going is given, but no hints are offered.

The program assumes prior knowledge of content and thus is a practice tool, not a learning tool. Some concepts or procedures are explained, but others are not. For example, in the first-grade program, the word before is not explained, but the procedures for adding and multiplying are given in the third-grade program. The opportunity to correct wrong answers exists, but no reteaching is possible. The software comes with a workbook.

I agree with the parents who viewed this software that it could encourage students to practice basic facts and procedures but would not be a helpful tool unless the students already had a sense of the ideas being practiced.

COPYRIGHT 2002 National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Author:Kaduk, Catherine
Publication:Teaching Children Mathematics
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2002
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