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    #77436 06/04/10 04:04 AM
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    Blob asked how we were finding Alcumus, and it seems a good idea to have a thread on it... In particular, I'd love to hear about it if some of you have youngish children doing it. The community aspects - the chance to have a blog there, for example - seem to have potential as a way to connect with other mathy children, but I'm wary about encouraging DS6 to jump in with unknown and mostly much older children.

    Background: this is the online course from Art of Problem Solving, at http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Alcumus/ Currently it's free, but apparently they plan to charge for it in future. What they have now covers the content of their Counting and Probability book and their Algebra book. (We have the Algebra one but not the C&P one; it doesn't seem to be necessary to have the books to use Alcumus.) As an adult you can set up an account and have a look around very easily, which is what I did initially; to sign a child (under 13?) up you have to fill in a COPPA form and fax or post it, which is probably familiar to you US types but was a new thing to me. They dealt with it pretty promptly though. I suppose it's the community aspects of the site that mean this is required where it isn't for ALEKS say.

    Short answer, DS loves it so far and it looks very useful to me too. Compared with ALEKS, the questions are much more challenging and less formulaic [I suppose the former is to do with level, partly: the last ALEKS maths DS did was Level 6, and he's now doing their Chemistry course in which he polished off the "algebra readiness" sector of the pie in short order. But I think it's style more than level: the target age of the children isn't that different between these two things AFAICS.] As well as providing a worked answer (after you answer correctly, or after I think 2 wrong answers) it has a collection of video lessons, which DS loves. It doesn't allow choice of topic in the same way ALEKS does - there are some options for setting your "focus" which we haven't explored, but the basic mode of operation is that you just press Next Problem and see what comes up. It gives you a visual representation of your level in each of counting and probability and algebra and of your progress through the levels, although we don't quite understand the details yet (it shows you how many "experience points" you have, but we don't know how many you need for what - that said, we haven't looked for an explanation either). It also sets you Quests from time to time, e.g. "answer 5 questions correctly in a row". If you achieve a quest, and when you move up a level, your user name appears in a public list (under Stats). DS liked this, but it is a reason to definitely not use a real name, I'd say. PM me for DS's username if you like.

    Would be very interested to hear how anyone else is finding it...


    Email: my username, followed by 2, at google's mail
    ColinsMum #77442 06/04/10 05:39 AM
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    Tks so much, ColinsMum. I'll have a look around to see the level of questions.

    Your son sounds amazing btw smile.

    blob #77469 06/04/10 11:22 AM
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    Quote
    to you US types


    Totally off topic, but this had me gigglin'!!! Thanks for the chuckle. I needed it today. smile


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