EMTeachline Mentor Math Software is a very unique product. It is a PC-based interactive problem-solving software for learning and teaching math. A complete description of the product can be found online at www.emteachline.com/eng/fc18.htm. The software is intended to aid both teachers and students. According to Dr. Chavalova, "The software tracks learners' scores, reveals major gaps in math knowledge and skills and generates optimal exercises for error correction. The CD contains three software modules covering the following subject areas: Arithmetic, Algebra and Trigonometry."
Pentium 2 or higher
64 MB RAM
Windows 98 or later
Internet Explorer 5.5 or later
Plug-in MathPlayer (available from www.mathtype.com)
Upon receiving this software, I placed the disk in my computer and it opened up easily. I downloaded the MathPlayer as instructed (free download available online) and proceeded to try to figure out how to best use this product. Unfortunately, I did not find this software easy to navigate. I emailed Dr. Chavalova and received a very prompt and detailed response giving me directions about how to go to the website www.emteachline.com and go through the samples, demos, etc., to see how the program works. Here is the response that I received:
The main page is called "Contents." Go to the third level of the list Contents (by double-clicking on a subject of interest) and select a topic. Click twice, and get a page with examples (in fact, a number of pages). Select an example. Now you can study its solution with one of the methods or techniques. To select a technique, use the upper bar menu. "To view" and "To learn" techniques are non-interactive, so that in the first case you can observe example's solution step by step (upper bar's buttons forward, back and auto), learn related math theory (icons in the text field--objective, definition, rule and underlying formula is provided for each solution step), and observe translation of all texts to German (globe icon). Also, you can get a complete solution to this example (upper bar). In the second case you are helped to learn concepts. Other techniques are interactive. After you solve an example or a group of examples, an option "Journal" appears, with an analysis of your performance. Study it, and find recommendations for further work. This is, in short, what the software offers for students.
For teachers there are a number of test preparation functions in the corresponding windows. In an automatic mode, you just select a number of topics (using button "add") and the program itself picks corresponding examples and generates 20 similar tests. In a manual mode, you select each example visually. That's it, in short.
However, even after all of this, I still found the program to be lacking in the user-friendly category. There were just too many steps to follow. I know that many homeschooling families are short on time and, unless one of the parents is very proficient in math, I am not sure that this program would help a student with his math unless he is a very motivated self-learner and is willing to take the time to REALLY figure out how to use the program to its best advantage. Maybe it was just me, but I found that I lacked the patience to try to tackle learning how to best use the software. It just seemed too complicated!
This program deals with UPPER LEVEL math, mostly algebra and trigonometry, so it is geared toward the high school student and up. A student who loves math would probably get a lot out of it because it explains step-by-step how to get the answer for each problem. At the time of this review, the price for the software was 178 Euros or $208. Before buying this program, I would recommend a thorough evaluation of the information presented on the website to be sure that this IS a program you can use in your home due to its cost.