Tabtor is an expensive iPad math-teaching app for kindergartners through sixth graders. Although free to download and try for two weeks, thereafter it costs $50 a month per child.
At first glance, Tabtor — the name is “tablet tutor” mashed together — does not look particularly different from the hundreds of other math offerings in Apple’s app store and the gazillion math-drill software programs on personal computers.
For each problem, there is space on the touch screen to scribble calculations with a finger or a stylus before punching in the answer on an on-screen keypad. A green check mark and a pleasing clanging sword sound greet a correct answer; a wrong one gets a red “X” and a less pleasing clang. There is a second chance to get the problem right.
So what does the $50 a month buy? Unlike any other math teaching app I’ve encountered, it comes with a human being.
An instructor assigned to your child reviews the completed worksheets. The app captures all of the calculating scribbles and how much time was spent on each problem, so the instructor can see not only the wrong answers, but also how the mistakes were made. The instructor offers notes and encouraging voice memos and assigns new worksheets. The instructor also checks in via weekly video conference calls. The company says the program follows the Common Core math standards that have been adopted by most states.
In a sense, then, Tabtor, based in Kendall Park, N.J., is a tutoring service delivered via iPad. An Android version is planned for this summer.
An incentive to the children are the points they earn through correct answers and how quickly they finish the worksheets. Those points can be redeemed for retail gift cards.
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