Saturday, December 20, 2008

TOS Review: Aleks

Aleks is a complete online web-based math curriculum for grades 3 though high school. Aleks' website calls itself "an artificially intelligent assessment and learning system." There are basic math, middle school math, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, business math, accounting and more available. There are no textbooks. Everything you need, including the calculator is available online. You do need to have pencil and paper handy for basic math work when you can't use an available tool.

Aleks is different then other online/computer curriculums that I have seen, in that they don't use grades. You take an initial assessment for the program you are signed up with to see what you don't know and what you do know. To picture how this works: You are given a circle pie which basically represents your brain or your knowledge in an area. The areas you know are colored in. The object is to learn the things you don't know to completely fill in the circle. You are not given grades, since knowledge /mastery is more important then an actually letter grade. The lessons only stress areas you need to work on to fill in your pie. It is a very custom program.

Also, I noted in the program is a build in "frustration preventer" (for lack of a better way to state it.) When you get stuck on something, it tries to explain it several times, then goes onto other topics you need to work on. You can stop a lesson at anytime and it automatically picks up where you left off next time. Reports are emailed to the parent weekly to see how the child is doing. You can also access assessment information anytime on the website.

Aleks is easily accessible to any computer with Internet access, 24/7. The curriculum is individualized, so you know always what areas your child is weak in or excels in. Aleks makes a great supplement or even a stand alone math curriculum, depending on what you are looking for. Price per month is $19.95 month. $99.95 for 6 months and $179.95 for 12 months subscription. Family plans are also available. The lessons I did are straight forward teach and learn. I did not see any games. There are no multiple choice questions, so there is no guessing allowed!

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