IXL Online Math Program
Friday, June 22, 2012
IXL provided me with online access to their math program for my review. I received a subscription for 3 children. IXL teaches math via a combination of matching, and fill in blanks which helps to assure proof of mastery. IXL is compatible with Windows or Mac, needs adobe flash and of course an internet connection. If you are working with a child struggling with math, gade levels can be hidden - if you wish. The program scores based on the questions answered correctly and the child continues to practice until the subject is mastered and skill is learned.
All 3 children who used this program (7, 8 and 10 yo) loved it. My children enjoyed how easy it was to switch between subjects and work on different skills that interest them. Initially, my 7 yo daughter was working on 2nd grade level, but she can't read at a 2nd grade level, so that was frustrating for her. I wish all the levels had the option of having the items read out loud, like the Pre-K, K and 1st grade level do. I believe my 7 yo would have tried many different subjects and levels, but her reading skills limited her.
During the review period, each child sat with me while they worked on their math. I wanted to know they were doing their best. I wish it worked for me to let my children to work independently on the computer, but so far my younger students get too distracted. This is a reason I would be unlikely to buy a subscription for my children in this age range.
However, IXL does allow the parents to review the items covered, missed, and see how much time was spent on the program. Because my children liked this math, I feel they would work better than they did on other programs offering games as an incentive to time spent "learning". The rewards offered by IXL are stamps on a grid instead of access to games or printable certificates, The other programs offering access to arcade style games didn't work for us because my children learned ways to get unlimited access to those and found they weren't really "doing school" afterall.
In IXL, my children were prompted to go print certificates and such, but they don't have a printer set up to their computer and I really am not eager to have them print out the rewards. I do like the option, though.
If I could change anything, it would be remembering the level when switched to a different child. The program seems to stay on the same level the child before was doing, even when switched to a new child. So, my students would be working a level too difficult or too easy because they didn't notice the level was still on the old setting for the last person who used the program. I love how easy it is to move from subject to subject. If a child is highly motivated, they could get through a lot of math in a year!
Lastly, the enter key was an issue for us sometimes. My student would click the right answer, think it had picked it and the computer would let them leave a blank by accident and then take away points. Other times, a prompt would ask if the student meant to leave it blank.
While there are links to State Standards and a lot of other information, I am sure that is more important to a traditional teacher. Yet, I did glance at this information and do appreciate the time it has taken to compile all the information and make sure the coverage is adequate for each state.
IXL has a very thorough getting started guide explaining in detail how to use the program. I found all the answers (and more) to questions I had and didn't even know I would have! So far, this was my favorite online math program for this age range.
www.IXL.com provides several ways to contact them directly, you can also call, write or email.
- IXL Learning
- 777 Mariners Island Blvd., Suite 600
- San Mateo, CA 94404 (USA)
- (650) 372-4040
All possibly methods of contact can be found on the IXL website.
Without an account, students can answer 20 questions a day for free. Paid membership is by monthly or yearly subscription. Family membership for parents and one child start at $9.95. Discounts for multiple children on a family account are available as well. Yearly membership starts at $79 per year. It would be nice if there were a 6 month option at a reduced rate as well since most people do not school for the entire year. Classroom accounts start at $199 per year. Teachers can try IXL for free with a 30 days trial.
Currently, IXL offers math levels Pre-K to 8th grade and Algebra. Plans are to add more levels in the future. IXL is currently used in over 150 countries and covers a vast amount of math skills. The program intelligently computes a score based on the answers made by a student.
Overall, I was very happy with IXL. Now that my review period is over, but we have a membership until November, I plan on seeing how my children use this program without my direct supervision. If they are able to stay focused and make progress, we will likely continue with this program next school year. Math is by far the most challenging subject for me to teach due to the variety of different learning styles we have and math not being a strong subject for me.
As part of the TOS crew, I received this product for free in exchange for my honest review.