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Home Study Companion: Algebra 2 / Trigonometry USB Flash Drive Review by Tere Scott

David Chandler
Math Without Borders
14805 SE Arista Drive
Milwaukie, OR 97267
http://www.MathWithoutBorders.com

With the idea that higher level math courses need to be taught to a student rather than merely presented, David Chandler and Math Without Borders created a teaching tool in the form of a flash drive. The Home Study Companion: Algebra 2/Trigonometry USB Flash Drive is intended to be used with Paul A. Foerster's Algebra and Trigonometry: Functions and Applications textbook from Prentice Hall's Classics series to illustrate and teach concepts by presenting them on a whiteboard style lecture through screen capture, which means that you get full instructor presentation but without feeling as if you are in a classroom watching a teacher. Everything you see on your computer screen is related to the lessons and how to solve the problems. The lessons presented from the flash drive follow the text but are not a mere repeating word for word. It is actual teaching demonstrations. It then contains demonstrations of working through the exercises/problems at the end of each chapter and covers most but not all of the exercises that are presented in the text.

The flash drive includes 15 chapters that contain:

  1. Preliminary information
  2. Functions and Relations
  3. Linear Functions
  4. Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities
  5. Quadratic Functions and Complex Numbers
  6. Exponential and Logarithmic Functions
  7. Rational Algebraic Functions
  8. Irrational Algebraic Functions
  9. Quadratic Relations and Systems
  10. Higher-Degree Functions and Complex Numbers
  11. Sequential and Series
  12. Probability, Data Analysis and functions of a Random Variable
  13. Trigonometric and Circular Functions
  14. Properties of Trigonometric and Circular Functions
  15. Triangle Problems

Also included are computer programming problems that require the student to work problems on a spreadsheet through Excel or Libre Office.

The Algebra 2/Trigonometry course was previously distributed on a DVD ROM but has changed to a flash drive format to make it more efficient to update when necessary. The flash drive comes loaded with 8 GB of instructional materials for a PC, Mac or Linux and is intended to be used alongside the Foerster Algebra 2/Trigonometry text book.

The 8 GB flash drive course sells for $79. The text must be purchased separately.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Insert the flash drive into your computer, and download the full 8 GB of course materials, or if your computer doesn't have enough space, run each individual lesson off of the flash drive as you work your way through the text. As soon as I received the flash drive, I read the short instructions and plugged the flash drive into my laptop, which by the way does not have the capabilities of a disc drive built in. So, my only option is a flash drive. As the lessons progress, the instructor recommends that you get a scientific calculator.

MY OPINION:

Pros: With newer computers and laptops being sold without disc drives, the flash drive makes sense for keeping up with technological needs of the user. If your computer has enough space, you can download the entire course straight to your laptop and always have it at your fingertips. Otherwise, the flash drive is tiny enough to tuck into your pocket and plug in to use as needed. The main pro is that you receive actual teaching packed into a flash drive in a format you are able to review or skip forward as needed. While the flash drive presentations correspond to the text, you do not need to purchase the text to receive the full credit of learning. Everything you need is on the flash drive, and the text really just enhances the course.

Cons: While many of the actual exercises/problems are covered and worked through on the flash drive presentation, it does not cover every single question that is in the text. If you do not have access to a computer with a flash drive, then the product will be of no use. If your computer does not have 8 GB of free space, you will not be able to download the course in its entirety, though you will still be able to view the courses by keeping the flash drive inserted as you work and running the lessons off of the drive. The corresponding text does not come with the product and is not sold on the site, so you will need to obtain this separately if you choose to use the text.

The Algebra 2/Trigonometry 8 GB flash drive packed with instruction presented by David Chandler is easy to use, easy to transport for the homeschool on the go, and convenient. Packed inside a flash drive you can hold in your hand is an entire year's worth of high school level math course instruction.

-Product review by Tere Scott, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2016

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