The Factor Tree -bzz | Sandling All Day

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Factor Tree -bzz

So I've agreed, through BzzAgent, to review and, by word of mouth, share on this website, The Factor Tree.
After having Schwoom do the initial placement testing (we had to stop, and start again...  we used the save & continue button, but it didn't work) I'm pretty happy with it.  The setup is nice, quick and easy registration, no credit card or arm/leg required.  The parent dashboard is easily accessible, and you can even put a password on it to keep those nutty pre-teens from removing a 'bad' score or test and trying again.  Definite 'pro' for that!
I don't particularly like that it's not read-aloud, as La'Ray can't yet read, so that makes it much more difficult. I also think that they could provide more 'learning' aspects, vs just continual testing.  Another thing that I didn't like...  the save and continue button didn't work (at least during the initial placement test)  
As far as improvement...
I would like to be able to choose for my child if they need the information read to them (for a younger child) so the parent doesn't have to sit there with them.
I would like to see a more interactive system too.  Where the child, for example, if they're having difficulties in one area of math, could watch a "video" that explains how something is done, or some sort of explanation. (as in, this video teaches how to tell time, this video explains how to round numbers)
I think that this could be a very beneficial system, to many, if it had the ability to actually teach and advance the student, rather than quiz. 
more from my original review:
That said, I do see the possibility for it also being marketed towards parents of children grades 4-6 and perhaps more... When my 12yr old brings home his math, I often can't help him with it, because I've forgotten much of what he's learning now. I end up googling something to find out what he's learning, so I can help explain it to him. If I could go to the Factor Tree's website, and do, say, a search for graphs, watch a quick video or read an explanation of it, I could see that being very helpful to us parents who just don't remember.
My final analysis of this site is that, overall, it's a diamond in the rough. There are a lot of changes that could be made to make it more useful, but even where it stands now, it can still be very helpful to many kids struggling. Many changes/additions are called for, and I'd expect that, with the proper feedback, the devs will make the changes and make this a very important site.

All in all, it is a good site, and with a few 'tweaks' could be a real useful tool...  currently, at it's rate of $20/month, I don't see it going very far, especially considering it's free counterparts, and, well for worksheets, the dollar store's math workbooks.
I'm still grateful for the chance to check it out!

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