Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review of MathRider: A Math Game for Kids

Wouldn't it be great if there was something available to help our elementary school age kids master the foundational math operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division? This was the question the co-founders of MathRider started with--they ended with an exceptional game software that propels children toward mastery of  math operations while at the same time building their confidence and letting them have a bit of fun.

MathRider is a quest game.  Your child names her own rider and starts out on the quest, complete with her own map to get a sense of the journey.  MathRider does all of the following:
  • Maintains extensive statistics of each player's performance in the game and uses that to optimise what needs rehearsing and what doesn’t. 
  • Considers a player's individual typing speed. 
  • Adjusts according to player performance and when someone has indeed mastered an operation, the software recognizes this very quickly.
  • Offers support--once you have MathRider running, you can press the question mark in the game to get to the web-based help – it has a lot of explanation on the various aspects of the software.
  • Features an auto-update built into the software, so that we can make improvements available to every existing user.
Check out this video explaining the features of the software:

Second Born and I played MathRider.  Just a bit of context, Second Born is in 3rd grade and her favorite subject is Math.  But that doesn't mean she can't benefit from using MathRider.  As a mom, I worry that she'll do what girls generally do which is, as they get older, retreat from developing their talents/interest in Math and Science because they're told or otherwise shown that those are disciplines for boys.  So even if Second Born likes Math, I'm counting on MathRider to help her take that commitment to the next level where she excels and, hopefully, avoids the Math hole that girls seem to fall through.
Second Born really enjoyed playing the game! Although she loves Math, the speed at which she completes operations can improve.  MathRider offers that kind of practice.  Also, I love the recursive learning aspect of the software.  When she got a problem wrong, the equations got easier for a few of the jumps and then returned to the one she got wrong--its like she isn't getting dinged in the game (or in life) for getting an equation wrong.  Second Born has only been able to play the game a few times so I'm looking forward to further exploring her quest as plotted on the map.  When I played the game, it was a bit addictive to plug in the right answer and watch that horse jump the bars.  I also love that progress bar that parents can access to see how their child is doing in mastering equations and that the software is programmed to allow multiple riders which means multiple kids can play the game and improve their math skills.
I think that MathRider has a lot of potential and I'm grateful to have the software for my daughter to use. I would like to see its software developers enlarge the mission of the program by allowing schools to license the game (similar to something like Kid Biz 3000) and by creating a smartphone version of the game that can either be bundled with the software or sold separately from it.  I would download something like this in a minute so that I can hand the phone to Second Born when we're stuck somewhere to practice equations play a game.  Otherwise, for the price of one tutoring session, parents can purchase a game guaranteed to improve their child's Math skills.  You can purchase MathRider here and download the software from the site.

Mahalo to Family Review Network and Mathrider for allowing me to review the software.  I did not receive compensation for my review although I did receive a software sample to facilitate my review.  Any and all opinions are my own.


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