Some kids are computer kids, and some aren’t. I hear about the latter and I find it hard to believe. Our own 8-year-old has been begging to get on the computer first thing in the morning as soon as his feet hit the floor. And believe it or not, his usually computer-wary parents are all for it. Even before breakfast he sets himself up to enthusiastically participate in a multiplication computer game called “Timez Attack” at www.bigbrainz.com.
Some kids are computer kids, and some aren’t. I hear about the latter and I find it hard to believe. In this house, the concept is extraordinarily foreign.
Our own 8-year-old is regulated by a timer that sets limits on what would be, if left to his own appetite, marathon computer use. If dear old mom and dad would allow it, Zach would wile away the hours here at this screen up to infinity, usurping most other extracurricular activities.
To my husband and me it seems nearly addictive, so we offer computer time only in moderation. Some of what Zach does on the computer appears to us as mindless recreation. Other software and games provide much, much more. In those instances, we’re a bit more lenient.
Lately, he’s been begging to get on the computer first thing in the morning as soon as his feet hit the floor. And believe it or not, his usually computer-wary parents are all for it. Even before breakfast he sets himself up to enthusiastically participate in a multiplication computer game called “Timez Attack” at www.bigbrainz.com.
This free online math program has solidified his multiplication facts in record time. In the process, he’s having a great time. His goal is to escape imprisonment in the Dungeon of Ignoruntz. Zach works tirelessly at moving a little green critter through stone hallways and across bridges inside what can be described as a sometimes shadowy and dimly lit dungeon. Mastering multiplication facts is his only way out.
Once he’s mastered the fact presented, he moves his critter forward through the dungeon, retrieving keys, passing a multiplication hungry ogre, and winning escape and ultimately an excellence award. The base Dungeon of Ignoruntz version is free and teaches everything that the full paid version does, minus two additional background environments.
The video game was created by one of the former developers of PlayStation games. According to creator Ben Harrison, “Two thirds of the kids in the U.S. today are failing to achieve the prescribed math standards; however, where these high-tech cures are in place, that simply doesn’t happen.”
“Timez Attack” is used not only by home-schoolers, but also in several public schools throughout the U.S. Harrison says his future goals include creating games that will tackle a variety of other subjects and be as rigorous and compelling as the best curriculum available.
I can offer up a first-hand testimonial that Harrison is right on track. As a parent who has in the past been skeptical of the efficiency and capability of most computer-based learning, I’ve wholeheartedly bought into “Timez Attack.” For Zach, I excitedly look forward to other similar high-tech, superbly entertaining, educationally effective learning initiatives.
Deb Adamson, who lives in Connecticut, is a home-school mom who writes about the joys, trials and adventures of days teaching and learning with her 8-year-old son. She can be reached at email@example.com.