Friday, December 19, 2008

TOS Review: Core Learning

Core Learning is a publisher of software, books, multi-curricular projects and on-line learning applications. The products they sell seemed to be geared to the educator both at home and at school. The programs seem to be secular but did not see anything offensive in what I viewed.

For Math I previewed a demo lesson on fraction and factors. It sounded I like I had a sweet older teacher reading me information on the screen. The explanations were detailed with plenty of examples. There are no bells and whistles with this program. It is straight forward teaching and learning and quizzing.

For English Grammar II demo, I previewed a lesson on adjectives. It was very detailed with great explanations. At the end was a opportunity to print out worksheets on the topic and to complete a quiz. This is straight forward teaching and testing. Little bells and whistles. I did not notice any games.

For the above two programs there is a teacher chart which tells you time spent on the lesson, how they did on the lesson, and the ability to preview the actual quiz taken.

Also available for math is a series on Calculation Skills, Math Skills Builder and 4 math courses (decimals, geometry, measurement besides the fraction one above.) For English there is level I and level II.

I did enjoy both the math and the English grammar demos. They both taught with great detail and had excellent examples. I even learned I am not suppose to say "beautifulest", but rather "more beautiful" or "most beautiful."

From the Health Series Demo I previewed the human body we watched a few short videos that went through the parts of the mouth: the teeth, tongue, epiglottis, etc. These videos tend to remind me of "Magic School Bus" type. There are interactive quizzes that go along with the video segments. There is also a section on explore the body that has go through different systems of the body. This section is not a video but it is point, click and read. For example for the digestive system you click on the different sections as the boy swallows the food. There are clickable pronunciations of the parts of the digestive system. But the rest of the information is read by the student. The pronunciations are English (UK). They are definitely written from a modern kids perspective with common slang words for bodily functions. There are two main series available for health: Family Health Series and Health for Kids Series.

We also reviewed Crayola Art Studio. After installing it and watching a short online video we were anxious to see what we could do. You are given a blank screen to work with and the option to use 12 different mediums such as paint, pastels, crayon, and markers. There are special effects and "stamps" you can also add to your picture in several topics (animals, make a face, backgrounds, shapes, etc.) I guess with a little practice we will be able to make invitations, decorations, and greeting cards.

To say the children fought over the computer to play this was an understatement. They played this until bedtime then when they got up in the morning they started over again. They enjoyed making all kinds of pictures (we didn't save but a few.) From drawings to picture scenes they had a ton of fun with this. One of the boys commented, "I can paint with no mess!"

Here are a few of our pictures (you can save them in several different formats):

They also have a more advanced art program, Corefx- Three Level, with pictures and animation. There are add-ons for it and an activity guide to give you more details on how to animate your pictures with it.
You can find demos of some of the products by visiting their website at:

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