Tuesday, January 11, 2011
TOS Crew Review ~ Virtual Nerd
Virtual Nerd is an online learning program with video-based tutorial lessons aimed to help students in math and science. Courses covered are Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Physics and they teach using a simple format of WATCH...LEARN...UNDERSTAND! If it sounds simple, that's because it is simple; simple to use with quick results.
At the Virtual Nerd website (www.virtualnerd.com)you can look around and see how the program works. The basic run-down is you choose one of the subjects, pick a topic from the menu of choices for that subject, and then watch the video lessons. Once you have watched the video, you can watch it again in "steps", focusing on any area that you may need to review. The virtual whiteboard feature allows students to follow along step-by-step as the tutor teaches the lesson. This is a unique feature the likes of which I have not seen elsewhere, and it is hands-down my favorite aspect of Virtual Nerd.
You can also search by keyword or topic - every math program is different and finding a specific topic could seem confusing. But Virtual Nerd allows the student to search by keyword and find exactly what is needed with ease.
The video lessons can be paused at any time to allow the student time to ensure they grasp the subject matter or to work a sample problem, or maybe to take notes (each of my children keeps a binder filled with math notes for future reference). The diagrams are drawn in multi-color as the lesson progresses, which eases confusion on the learner's part. And any steps learned previously so the student can build upon what he/she already knows.
For example, to find the volume of a triangular prism, students will learn to use the formula V = B h 2 (or V = 1/2 Bh2). Each step of the formula is taught, and reviewed as put into practice in a problem. The student solves the problem along with the teacher. They grasp the formula and it's purpose, and by the end of the lesson feel comfortable simply "plugging in" the necessary data and then solving the problem. All of the teacher's are engaging and well spoken, by the way. They seem very comfortable in front of the camera and teach their subject matter clearly and thoroughly. After finishing the video lesson, there is an immediate option to leave "feedback" or to start a "new search". No need to go back to previously viewed pages - just use the search option right there in front of you!
If I had to sum up Virtual Nerd in just a few words, I would say "Very Thorough Tutorial Program".
I would like to add a few notes on each level of the program, starting with Pre-Algebra. My 7th and 8th grade daughters have watched lessons on Virtual Nerd prior to doing their regular math assignments and both of them felt they had a much stronger grasp of the subject matter. They retained what they learned from Virtual Nerd and both said it helped their math make more sense to them.
My 10th grade daughter used the Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 levels of Virtual Nerd. Her sophomore year is pretty intense, jam-packed with academics, work and extracurricular activities (primarily ice skating). Her schoolwork includes a fairly rigorous math curriculum that can take up a good sized chunk of her school day. Needless to say, she doesn't have much free time to spend on confusing and hard-to-use online programs. Virtual Nerd is neither. She is able to sit down, watch as much (or as little) as she needs to, and then go on with her assignments or head off to work of the ice rink. And she does it without stress. This program allows my teenage daughter to learn what she needs to know so that she can master what she has already been assigned in her regular curriculum. Short videos that move at a steady pace - each step is grasped without wasting time with what Charlotte Mason deemed "twaddle" (otherwise known as busy work).
My 12th grade son looked over the Physics lessons. He is self-proclaimed math nerd, and enjoys Physics (but not Chemistry). He stated that while this is certainly not a stand-alone Physics program (which it is not intended to be) it is an excellent alternative to hiring a tutor. The student can easily watch multiple lessons at one sitting and not get overwhelmed, which is key when thinking in tutoring terms. An overwhelmed student is not a learning student, and often having subject matter presented in bite-sized, attainable chunks eliminates the stress of math or science.
I would recommend this program to any homeschool family looking for supplemental math and science materials. It is hands-down one of the most user-friendly websites I have encountered, and that's saying something, trust me! Look it over at www.virtualnerd.com and see if it's a good fit for your homeschooling needs. And if you happen to have younger children, mark Virtual Nerd in your favorites to look at when they get a little older. It really is good stuff.
Prices and other information can be found at the company website ~ www.virtualnerd.com
As always, let me say that I received this product free of charge for review purposes.
Thanks for looking at my review & don't forget to check out their website!
Day 67 done :)
Jan L. Burt
And remember, my book "The Homeschooling Mother's Bible Study" is on sale through the end of January 2011 at the discounted price of $7.50 for the e-book OR $10 for the bound version. Leave a comment to any of my posts to order your copy!