Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Review of GPA LEARN

Critical Thinking Company Review
Computerized math programs are a big hit around here for two reasons: I don't have to teach the kids math and the kids have a blast doing them. To that end, we were delighted when we received a subscription to GPA LEARN's GPALOVEMATH program. GPALOVEMATH is a math practice subscription-based website populated by animated characters who lead a student through various "missions" as they solve math (obviously!) problems. Within each grade level (K-5), there are over 150 lessons and over 10,000 problems. What differentiates this program from many of its Internet counterparts is its unique system of rewards!

When your child begins GPALOVEMATH, he has a choice of three different color paths he can work down. Michael (10) has been working on 5th grade math. When he signs on, he sees a green path, a purple path, and a blue path.

The only lesson he can work on (unless I sign on to my parent account and manually unlock future lessons) is the current one in each path. Until he passes it at a certain level (getting 2/3 of the problems correct), the subsequent levels remain locked.

This is the Green Path:

Its focus is on order of operations. At a glance, you can see where you are, where you've been, and what's coming next.

The Blue Path focuses on graphing:

The Purple Path begins with place value:

Realize that these paths are only in 5th grade, but they are exemplary of what is available in other grades. Students can work one path at a time, or they can work multiple paths simultaneously. It's nice to have the option to move around if you get stuck or bored. It's also nice to be able to look at the locked boxes to see what's in the future! This program excels at showing students things graphically in a snapshot!

So how do those rewards figure in to the whole thing?

When you as a parent are setting up your child's account, you have the chance to populate the program with rewards. You can chose GPA LEARN's rewards, or create your own. They can be as simple as choosing an extra book to read at bedtime to having mom do the child's chores. Really, your imagination is the limit. Then, when the student has accumulated a certain number of points, their rewards become visible in their backpack. Parents can alter the rewards structure at any time. Some rewards appear automatically, while some need to be approved by the parent first.  

Michael (10) and GPALOVEMATH
Michael has not loved this program as much as I had hoped he would. Nicholas (11) is my video game fiend, and he probably would have enjoyed the whole concept of video game scenario and work-for-reward more than Michael. Unfortunately, GPALEARN does not go through Algebra! Michael is a bit simpler when it comes to math. Too many extras distract him. The introduction of a mission/scenario at the beginning of each lesson was, for him, a bit tedious. Additionally, he is not motivated very much by rewards (which is definitely our fault - we have always stressed that knowledge and academic success are their own rewards. We have never done a "reward for work or grades" type system.), so that entire aspect of the program was kind of wasted on him. Another aspect of the program that is a bit frustrating is its inability to save a lesson half-completed. In other words, if you stop a lesson anywhere but the end, you must start it over from the beginning. Having said that, you can "fast-forward" through slides, as it were, so it's not really that big of a deal.

So, GPALOVEMATH was not a great match for us, but that doesn't mean it won't be for you! If you have a child who loves video games, loves to work on the computer, and is highly motivated by rewards, I have a definite feeling that s/he will love this program! I know that were he younger, Nicky would have really enjoyed it! I also suspect that many younger children in general will love it; we are just getting to the upper limit of its targeted age level. 

Boring, but Important
GPALEARN works on a variety of platforms, including both Windows and Apple computers, iPad, and Galaxy tablets.A subscription usually costs $149/year per child, but the promo code GPAINTRO15 will lower the price to $129/year! If you don't want to commit to the full year, monthly subscriptions are available at $12.99/month per child.

Many Crew members with children of different ages got to experience GPALOVEMATH, so click the banner below to read their opinions.

GPA Learn Review
Crew Disclaimer

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