Whenever I see a student struggling to make a 10 year old program run on our computers at school I cringe. They click on Math Programs, and then try to open up Math Workshop or some other ancient program to practice their math facts, only to be presented with a black screen, followed by the computer screen changing it’s colors to the the lowest setting, and decreasing the resolution to a blurry 600×800. When it’s finally done, the program is glitchy, runs poorly, often displays large black squares instead of the background, and generally confuses them:
“Mr. Rimes, my computer won’t work! It won’t let me play the game!”
I tell them that they’ll have to go to another program as the one they’re in just isn’t working well, but what I really want to say to them is that the computer is working just fine. However, it’s having an incredibly difficult time trying to run a program that was made before they were born, and technically isn’t even supposed to be running on our computers according to the manufacturer’s website (it says that program will NOT run in Windows XP).
I also want to question why such programs are still being used in our school, when there are hundreds of great interactive math websites (all of them FREE) out there on the Internet. They don’t have problems running on new machines, there’s no intricate system of patches and work-arounds that have to be performed by the IT staff in order to make them work, AND they’re constantly updated with new games, challenges, practice problems, and more goodies (for FREE). Don’t have enough time to go find the websites yourself? HOGWASH! A simple Google search for “interactive math games” returns more than 1.3 million websites that contain math facts, timed tests, games, puzzles, and more. I’d like to see some outdated and overpriced piece of programming give me that huge a selection. And in case you’re too busy to do a simple Google search at the moment (I can appreciate having little time to explore), here are five websites from the first page of results for interactive math games.
Create Your Own Math Game
I got to blast ghosts and practice my multiples of 10, ye-haa!
Solve those flash cards as fast as you can before time runs out!
HUGE collection of math games with a “fishy” theme.
Apples 4 the Teacher
Have fun with tangrams online without the hassle of losing all of those pieces.
Elementary Math Games
Don’t like any of the above choices. GO here and pick from the dozens of games they have linked to.