Monday, August 25, 2014

Review of UberSmart Software

UberSmart Math Facts Review

Math facts. They're not all that glamorous, but boy are they necessary! If you don't master them, every bit of math you do becomes overly laborious for the rest of your life. The problem is that they are not always that easy for kids to master. When it comes right down to it, though, the key is always going to be repetition, repetition, repetition. While there are many different types of websites and software available to help kids learn their math facts, I have found that it is usually the simple approach that is the most effective. Enter UberSmart Math Facts from UberSmart Software.

UberSmart Math Facts is the epitome of "Just the facts, ma'am." It delivers what you need to know in a simple and effective manner without any bells and whistles (otherwise known as pointless distractions), and it does all that for the very reasonable price of $24.95 (best of all, the price allows you to download the software on all of the computers in your home!).

There are several parts to this software. First, just like the screen shots demonstrate, UberSmart Math Facts is essentially digital flash cards. It works the same as flash cards, even allowing you to focus only on the facts you need to learn. The first stage lets you learn the facts. You select several options:
  • +, -, x, or ÷
  • facts 0-12 (only one family or mixed)
  • shuffled or in order 
Once you make the selections, you see flash cards one at a time. You get a chance to look at the card with the fact.

When you're ready, you hit "Show" and the answer appears!

As you learn more facts, the progress bar across the bottom turns green. 

When you've had enough practice, you can choose to test. As you test, you will always see 3 flash cards (after the initial 2): the one you just answered, the one you are on, and the one upcoming (the test is shown in the first picture in the composite graphic above). The green line shows overall progress, while the red line shows the elapsed time for the current card.

Parents have the ability to set several parameters, including the time allowed for each card. 

While I have thus far described the Intermediate features of the software, there are Beginner counting features as well featuring pictures like dominos for adding dots. Thus, the software is appropriate for even the youngest learners. Officially, it is for grades K-6, but it has one more neat feature that made it wonderful for Therese (13) as well: 10 key! The software showed a number and Therese used the keypad on the computer (in 10 key fashion) to key it in. What a neat little bonus feature!

How We Used UberSmart Math Facts

As much as it chagrins me to admit it, Mary-Catherine (9) has had the darndest time learning her multiplication facts. Maybe it would be more correct to say that she has had the hardest time retaining them. We have tried a few programs, and some have worked pretty well, but she tends to forget them after she stops using the program. It is no exaggeration, though, to say that this program has absolutely had the greatest retention value. For the first month that we had it, Mary-Catherine used it to practice her multiplication facts for about 15 minutes every day. I didn't have to ask her to do it; she wanted to. She really loved the flash card formula, and she loved being able to decide which facts she wanted to work on that day. She truly felt that she attained mastery over most of the facts. 

Michael (9) has been much more on top of his multiplication than Mary-Catherine, but he, too, has been using and enjoying UberSmart Math Facts. For him, I set the time allowed for each fact to be shorter, plus he has been doing more division, while she has been focusing on multiplication. I think for the first time, Michael has been understanding the idea of multiplication and division as fact families because of the repetition of the UberSmart Software.

Finally, as I indicated, Therese has fully learned 10 Key because of this software. It took only an hour or so of practice before she became fully proficient. I learned 10 Key on the job one day as a temp, but because of this simple little add-on to this flash card program, she learned it much younger, much more quickly, and much less painfully! I was delighted by that!

*Especially* if you have kids of multiple ages or if you have young kids who can grow with this program, but even if yours, like mine, would be starting with multiplication, I think this program is well worth its reasonable price. To see what other Crew members think, click the banner below.

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