Times Alive is an online program. As such, it does not require you to download anything on your computer and works on both MAC and PC. I used it in the Chrome browser on both my MacBook and PC with no problems.
My daughter really enjoyed this program. It is full of songs, videos, and stories that make it feel more like a game than school. There are quizzes interspersed throughout the program to assess the student’s understanding, but even these don’t feel too “school-ish.” She used the program 2-3 times per week for about 20 minutes. She was easily able to complete about two lessons in that amount of time and I generally had to make her stop and move on to other work.
Even though my daughter liked the program, I don’t really feel like she gained much out of it. She is already proficient at skip counting multiples up to 12. I was hoping this program would provide a good bridge from skip counting to actual multiplication tables. It is actually a very different approach to multiplication. Since she could already skip count, the songs and stories just added unnecessary mental clutter which caused a bit of confusion.
I think this program could be great for a child who struggles with skip counting and needs a different approach to learning multiplication tables, but I believe skip counting and then transitioning to multiplication facts is the best and most straight forward way to teach this concept to most children. It could also help a child who is very resistant to learning by other methods but enjoys computer games. Since it feels like a game, children are motivated to “play” it.
I also found the program to be a bit glitchy. It would occasionally skip sections of a lesson and while it had a pre-test, there wasn’t a clear way to use the results of the pretest to customize a lesson plan for your child. These issues are not hard to deal with. If I were doing this with another child, I would simply print the pretest and evaluate it myself to determine which lessons they need. As for the skipping lessons, it is easy to go back and do anything missed by looking at the lesson list.
Overall it is a cute program that is easy to use and fun for kids. I would recommend it for a child ages 6-9 who is struggling with multiplication facts or who is resistant to learning them with paper and pencil or from a workbook but may be motivated by the computer “game” feel. I would not recommend it for a child who is doing well with skip counting or another math curriculum as the extra information could end up being confusing instead of helpful. I also think anyone older than nine would be less entertained by the songs and stories and might feel it is too “babyish.”
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