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opinions on IXL math the website


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#1 Bang!Zoom!

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 10:38 AM

Is anyone here using this and have an opinion on it? Is it useful at all just for something as simple as question generation and practice even?

#2 aly9712

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 12:49 PM

drill practice. If you don't want to invest in workbooks to practice a concept after it's been taught, it's a good resource.
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#3 morningxmorning

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 12:36 PM

It's straight drill practice, no teaching though the site will give an explanation if your child answers a question wrong.

One thing I really don't like about it is that it will punish the student (by adding more questions) when he or she answers incorrectly. It really bugged my 6 y.o. to be 99% done with a problem set, answer something incorrectly, and get pushed back down to 80% done.

I still have a subscription that we haven't used for months and when it runs out, I don't plan on subscribing again.
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#4 OSUBuckeye

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 03:55 PM

If your state requires state exams, you could have your kids do the "20 free questions a day" for a couple weeks to go over the odds-and-ends you personally haven't covered. It is state-correlated, and the questions are very accurately gauged to state exams.

Is it useful at all just for something as simple as question generation and practice even?
Yes. This is its strength - a variety of topics, well-designed drill questions, and infinite questions per topic. And, although you only get 20 questions for free a day, you could extend the 20 questions by refreshing the page rather than clicking submit. :-) Of course, in doing so then you don't get the feedback and the satisfaction of the "Good Job (check mark)" popping up on your screen.

If you were planning on doing drill-and-kill worksheets, or going to hand your kids a math workbook to do leisurely over the summer, IXL is a better option because of its interactive features. It doesn't do any primary instruction however, so it's essentially an interactive online practice workbook. In general, I personally don't think that's worth $35 except perhaps as a summer "computer game" or as a way of outsourcing math remediation in a family that just wants to "get-'er-done" with a checklist of skills to practice.

That being said, I think IXL is an amazing resource in the public school setting, and for them it's $7 dollars a student a year. If you have a student in Algebra or Geometry, look at Linear Equations - Graphing an Equation in Point Slope form. That tool is one of the coolest/most interactive ways of teaching line graphing that I've seen.
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#5 Alessandra

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 06:50 PM

:lurk5:

We have it on month by month basis, haven't used it much so far.

#6 mathwonk

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 08:04 AM

To me, a professional mathematician who just loves math, it is an example of why kids dislike math - all test questions and no learning, no insights, and no fun. My brain's pleasure centers light up when I am reading a beautiful explanation of why something is true, as in Euler's algebra book; it turns almost completely off when I look at that IXL stuff - I certainly feel no excitement or joy, which I do feel when I read something clever in Harold Jacobs' Elementary Algebra, and the accompanying problems.

Of course everyone is different - there may be children who enjoy finding the answers to these questions and getting the reinforcement of being told they are correct. And I do wish my entering calculus students in college knew those basic 7th grade facts about linear functions. It may surprise you to learn that the vast majority of my 1st semester college calculus students could not find the equation of a line from two points.

Oh yes, maybe not everyone minds this, but in the section on word problems using Pythagoras' theorem, they seem to assume the earth is flat. I.e. the Euclidean geometry theorems do not apply to the earth, which is roughly spherical. They are probably not a terrible approximation, but it is anti intellectual to pretend the earth is flat in math class, and teach it is round in geography class.

I.e. my proposal for a good question would be something like: notice we are assuming here that the earth is flat. But are there any theorems of Euclidean geometry that are no longer true on the earth? What are they? Are they almost true? [Why] are we justified in this problem in assuming we can apply Euclidean geometry? When would this get us in trouble?
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#7 mathwonk

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 12:53 PM

Whenever I am tempted to regale a child with math questions, I try to remember the character of Uncle Pumblechook in Dickens' Great Expectations and his impression on young Pip, which I repeat here in case you may have forgot it, or may merely be entertained.

Of course I hasten to remark it is only myself that I recognize in this character and no one else.


"Mr. Pumblechook and I breakfasted at eight o'clock in the parlor behind
the shop, while the shopman took his mug of tea and hunch of bread
and butter on a sack of peas in the front premises. I considered Mr.
Pumblechook wretched company. Besides being possessed by my sister's
idea that a mortifying and penitential character ought to be imparted
to my diet,--besides giving me as much crumb as possible in combination
with as little butter, and putting such a quantity of warm water into
my milk that it would have been more candid to have left the milk out
altogether,--his conversation consisted of nothing but arithmetic. On
my politely bidding him Good morning, he said, pompously, "Seven times
nine, boy?" And how should I be able to answer, dodged in that way, in
a strange place, on an empty stomach! I was hungry, but before I had
swallowed a morsel, he began a running sum that lasted all through the
breakfast. "Seven?" "And four?" "And eight?" "And six?" "And two?" "And
ten?" And so on. And after each figure was disposed of, it was as much
as I could do to get a bite or a sup, before the next came; while he sat
at his ease guessing nothing, and eating bacon and hot roll, in (if I
may be allowed the expression) a gorging and gormandizing manner.

For such reasons, I was very glad when ten o'clock came and we started
for Miss Havisham's; though I was not at all at my ease regarding the
manner in which I should acquit myself under that lady's roof. Within
a quarter of an hour we came to Miss Havisham's house, which was of old
brick, and dismal, and had a great many iron bars to it. Some of the
windows had been walled up; of those that remained, all the lower were
rustily barred. There was a courtyard in front, and that was barred; so
we had to wait, after ringing the bell, until some one should come
to open it. While we waited at the gate, I peeped in (even then Mr.
Pumblechook said, "And fourteen?" but I pretended not to hear him),....."
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#8 DyslexicParent

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 08:15 PM

In general, I personally don't think that's worth $35 except perhaps as a summer "computer game" or as a way of outsourcing math remediation in a family that just wants to "get-'er-done" with a checklist of skills to practice.

Where do you get the prices of $35 and $7? I only see a price of $79/year.

Is Khan Academy or other interactive program better at remediation than IXL? My school district is using Pearson's SuccessMaker, but it has so many bugs that I shake my head during every lesson.

#9 OSUBuckeye

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 10:03 PM

Homeschool Buyers Co-op has it now for $49 a year. I was guesstimating when I said $35.

Schools pay $7 a student per year for an IXL license. Between the reduced cost, the program's attention to state standards and test-prep skills, and the many generated reports on a teacher's thirty kids in a classroom, it's easy to see why it has become popular in schools. It's cheaper than a workbook, and yet students can perform 10,000 problems on it, across hundreds of math skills, over the course of the year while getting instant feedback.

As to your question about Khan Academy, Khan Academy has instructional videos, while IXL has none. IXL only has practice problems without lessons, although they give detailed answers when you get a question wrong. I've watched plenty of Khan videos, but hadn't tried Khan's practice questions until just now. From testing out a couple of skills, I feel that Khan's question software is decent, but it is not as good as IXL. IXL is more kid-friendly in its interface, while Khan Academy's practice questions were a bit too math-major/collegiate in appearance for me. It was also marginally easier to click through Khan's questions and get the right answer without understanding why. That can be cleared up by having students watch Khan's videos first (increasing the likelihood that they'll know how to do the problem in the first place). On the other hand, If you don't know how to do an IXL problem, the website explains the procedure very thoroughly so you'll know how to do the next one correctly, and you'll see that your score is going up/down so you feel motivated to get the questions right the first time, rather than click different answer choices until you achieve a Khan smiley face.

Another issue: The celestial "math web" of skills on Khan Academy looks cool, but it makes it extremely hard to figure out what skills are grade-appropriate. While Khan's developed a thorough library of videos, I'm not certain if anyone's held him to a checklist of state or common core standards to see if he's got enough of everything, if you know what I mean. Khan Academy is used as the primary learning method in some California elementary schools, so he might have had to demonstrate to the schools' liking that he covers ALL the material the students need to learn.

So to answer your question, Khan Academy is what I suggest to people who want to learn a concept whether that's a fifth grader struggling with division or a forty-year-old wanting to catch up on Algebra (or Introductory Econ, or Physics, or any random STEM subject).

If you mean remediate as in "do math practice problems" or "practice important math skills", then in a classroom setting I highly recommend IXL, especially for the upper grades (there's a million multiplication practice websites, but IXL is awesome for remediating / practicing Algebra and there aren't really any sites that come close). If cost is a concern, Khan Academy should get the job done too although not as well.

If it for a 1st -6th grade student, I would also suggest Math Mammoth as a remediation program. I do a lot of math tutoring, and if someone couldn't afford a tutor but wanted similar results, my suggestions would be Khan for the teaching, and Math Mammoth or IXL for the drill. For the cool problem-solving "brain stretching" parts, they'd need my resourceful lessons and my magic bag of math manipulatives.

I would also like to say that both of the programs (Khan and IXL) miss out on teaching the "why", the "so what", and the beauty of problem-solving in math. For that, Miquon, MEP, Math Mammoth, Singapore, Beast Academy, Zaccaro's books, Life of Fred, Art of Problem Solving, and Math Contest books are what I would suggest to get students loving math, savoring math, exploring math. For some people, math is not going to be savored, it just needs to get done. For a struggling student, or for a family that isn't entirely comfortable with math and needs to rely on outside resources to get it done, Khan Academy for instruction and IXL for practice would be a excellent pair of resources.
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#10 EmilyK

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 12:05 PM

We're using IXL now through my son's tutor who has added him to her tutoring school license -- I'm assuming she paid the $7 referenced above. (She's not working with him on the IXL site but has made it available for him and me. He's actually homeschooling right now with some help from the tutor on writing.)

I actually kind of like it, since it is so comprehensive. We are able to go to the earlier grades if the 5th grade problems are too hard, and work our way up to the harder problems. I like that it is online and I'm not locating a workbook. We can do it remotely on the ipad. If my son gets tired of keying in the answers, some of the topics we can do as mental math with me calling out the questions.

On the other hand, I think there are too many problems to complete the topic. That makes it a struggle to get my son to do it. He is so resistant that it makes me like the program less.
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#11 EmilyK

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 12:10 PM

I meant to also say that I like Khan as well. My older son used it through school starting in 7th grade. The school ultimately dropped it after it got so much pushback from parents, but I was one of the parents who got into it. I made him keep up with it over the summer, but this school year we've let it slide. (He has watched some of the current events economic explanations, and they're pretty well done.)

My younger son likes Khan even less than IXL though. I think it is geared toward older kids and adults.

Even my older son doesn't really like the videos on math topics (though he likes them on other topics). I think Sal is too slow for him. He feels I can explain what he's doing wrong quicker. On the other hand, as he moves out of math that I remember how to do, it could be helpful.
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#12 OSUBuckeye

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 04:05 PM

That is definitely a common complaint about IXL, that it can be frustrating to get a 100. You could be tantalizingly close, then miss a question carelessly, and then have to solve another six problems to get back up to a 100. Make one additional mistake, and well then you're in a vicious loop that can be frustrating for a kid who is doing 6 out of every 7 problems correctly. The good news is that a 100 isn't the end-all-be-all, and IXL representatives encourage setting the bar at 80 or 90 for this reason (they view a 'Smartscore' of 80 as mastery). Now if only they'd adjust that Smartscore a little .... :-(

That reminds me, one of the benefits is the reports you can generate (with Khan Academy too). It'll send you a weekly update by email if you'd like, and on the website you can monitor how long your kid practiced for, and whether they were on-task or not!

Many parents go a week or so before discovering that their kid spent their thirty minutes maxing out kindergarten skills rather than shooting for an 80 on their sixth grade skills...

#13 JDoe

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 07:00 PM

We use it, and I am quite happy with it. Kids are doing very well in math and I believe that is mainly due to IXL drill and kill.

The complaints about the difficulty of reaching 100% is somewhat justified, however on the other side it is set up so as to ensure that you pretty much need complete mastery to get 100%. There is however nothing to prevent you to settle for a lower score as the goal.

The main drawback as I see it is that the kids are not overly happy about it, then again, surprisingly they would much rather play than do IXL. If there was any alternative out there that somehow could make the maths something they wanted to do, as opposed to something they HAVE to do I would switch in a heartbeat.

#14 NotSoObvious

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:25 AM

We used to use IXL where I taught and I didn't like it at all, for a variety of reasons.

My girls love Dreambox because there is actual teaching and a whole game attached to it. It allows the child to work right a his/her level.
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#15 azucena

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 10:09 AM

We used to use IXL where I taught and I didn't like it at all, for a variety of reasons.

My girls love Dreambox because there is actual teaching and a whole game attached to it. It allows the child to work right a his/her level.


We also much prefer Dreambox. I found with IXL, my dcs would get very frustrated that they would have to do really easy problem sets in order to get the full set of "tokens" for a grade. Dreambox doesn't calibrate perfectly, but it is much better at giving them "just right" problems to do. In addition, they learn different problem-solving strategies; not enough for it to be a full curriculum, but much more than simple drill.
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#16 Chrysalis Academy

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 02:52 PM

We have a Dreambox home subscription, and then a couple of months ago my dd's class at school started using IXL. The have the choice, now, of doing their Houghton-Mifflin workbook as homework or doing IXL as homework instead. She would rather not do either . . . but she does prefer IXL to the paper and pencil homework.

She really vastly prefers Dreambox, and will choose to do this on her own time, on weekends, etc. which she never has with IXL. She is learning all kinds of mental math strategies and developing a much deeper understanding of things like place value. If you are thinking of getting something for home, I'd choose Dreambox over IXL in a hot second. You can do a 2-week trial free to check it out.

#17 DyslexicParent

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:15 PM

Does Dreambox and IXL start off with an assessment like SuccessMaker to put the child in the proper level? Are any of the Dreambox users from Canada? Does it only use American measurements, coins, temperatures, etc? Pearson distributes both Dreambox Learning and SuccessMaker in Canada and claims to use Canadian curriculum, but it is frustrating to use SuccessMaker when it only uses unrecognizable US coins instead of Canadian coins, Fahrenheit instead of Celsius, and no metric system. :confused1: I know IXL is not restricted to US-only math.

My school district is using Pearson's SuccessMaker, but it has so many bugs that I shake my head during every lesson.



#18 TeacherB

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 11:12 PM

Another site to check out is DigitWhiz (www.digitwhiz.com).  it's actually free and is fun for kids to learn math skills.  There's a short placement and then kids play games specific to what they need to learn.  A cool site!


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#19 Ariston

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 09:02 PM

My daughter had IXL assigned as homework each night for first grade last year.  After a few months I stopped making her do it.  It was b-o-r-i-n-g, as in 20 of the exact same problem in a row.  "Which object is on the right?"  "Which object is on the right?"  "Which object is on the left?"

 

On top of being boring, it was also very frustrating for her because if she started getting problems wrong, it would take points away and she would start getting farther and farther from being able to complete a level.

 

She did like getting a token at the end, but I just didn't see the point in making her do it every night so we stopped.  The teacher never mentioned it. :)

 

Every now and then it was useful for drilling a specific topic, but I would never have paid for it.


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#20 Chrysalis Academy

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 09:36 AM

Yep, by the end of 1st grade, my dd was hating IXL after having it as assigned homework.  She is so turned off she won't do Dreambox any more, which is sad because she was learning a lot more from it.



#21 lisayvonne

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 01:04 AM

Have no experience with IXL. I heard from friends that it provides online practice by grade. DD likes beestar for math. It also offers online worksheets, which can also be downloaded. DD said the 10 quick question worksheets are challenging. She loves to compete on this site with other kids from a lot of other states.

Lisa



#22 beishan

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 08:51 AM

I kind of like it actually. We also have Dreambox but it does not cover all units for the grade level. In addition, you need practice/drills to make math concept permanent. IXL is good for my son as it only shows one question at the time so he won't get frustrated with whole page of questions. We do the 20 free questions for now. He can easily finish 20 questions in 5-10 minutes and is suprised that he is done for the day. It's boring, but some kids just need that repetition. I think the daily 2-page math homework is not enough for mastery. We use kumon workbooks for extra drills this year. I may consider to subcribe IXL for 3rd grade as he will start to prepare for PARCC. I hope they can let kids use it in aftercare.



#23 heartlikealion

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 06:37 PM

I signed up for Khan Academy and don't even know how to use it. I couldn't ever find the early addition type problems that supposedly exist on the site. We use Xtramath.org sometimes for math fact drills.



#24 heartlikealion

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 06:44 PM

Another site to check out is DigitWhiz (www.digitwhiz.com).  it's actually free and is fun for kids to learn math skills.  There's a short placement and then kids play games specific to what they need to learn.  A cool site!

 

I think this is for multiplication and division. I just signed up and the first step was to take a multiplication quiz. Which is great if your child is ready for times tables. We are still doing add/sub. work.
 



#25 Tsuga

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Posted 21 November 2014 - 08:20 PM

It was great for math drills when my daughter would doodle too much on paper.

 

It's good for practicing for state exams or drilling math facts, and an excellent alternative to RazKids or whatever the heck it is that has all the bells and whistles.

 

It's not a teaching tool, but a testing/practice tool.

 

I'm going to check out Beestar!

 



#26 madteaparty

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Posted 24 November 2014 - 08:51 AM

I don't know about the younger grades, but DS likes the game aspect of it and actually prefers it to Khan. I let him loose on it, so he picks topics from 6th, 7th or 8th grade.