Monday, March 9, 2009

Algebra I on DVD -- $80 on Sale

In case your high school algebra course is not defective enough, you can pay $80 and get this one.

Try this from the Teaching Company


High School Level—Algebra I
Course No. 101 (30 lectures, 30 minutes/lecture)
Taught by Monica Neagoy
National Science Foundation
Ph.D., University of Maryland

The teaching of algebra in most of today’s classrooms is not significantly different from what it was 50 years ago. Certainly, there have been some attempts to change algebra instruction, such as the "new math" reform movement of the 1960s. But the changes that persist in today’s algebra curricula, as a result of that movement, are more superficial than substantial.

On the other hand, mathematics and its applications have changed spectacularly in the past 50 years. The advent of technology, for example, in both applied and pure mathematics, has changed the way mathematicians, scientists, and social scientists do and use mathematics.

User comments:
1.) "This is the only course of the many Teachco. courses I own that I didn't finish. As many reviewers have indicated, it was not a course about Algebra I, but a course about the teacher using a calculator. The course would have been much better without the use of one. It is a clear example of trying to use technology as a substitute for content and quality instruction.
Her tone and style was also much more suited to elementary or earlier, not high school or middle school.
I made it through about 5 lectures and gave up. As the course is well over ten years old, it might be time for the Teachco to introduce a new edition with a different format and teacher."

2.) "I've had and passed Algebra I in High School. But in Monica's presentation, because of one reason only because she uses the graphing calculator consistently, it was like I was in the ozone trying to figure out what was going on. Maybe she'd like to try another DVD course and not use the graphing calculator."

3.) "I am so glad that I purchased this course for my 13 year old son. He is the type of learner who has to understand the whole concept of an idea and relevance before being able to learn the basic steps or else it doesn't stick. He is also a visual learner who learns better with video than print. This course is what finally made algebra understandable, applicable, and interesting to him; which of course enabled him to learn the fundamentals of algebra. The only thing missing to this course is plenty of exercises to make sure that problems can be solved via the substitution & elimination methods, especially ones with complicated fractions. For that, I ended up using a different workbook."

4.) "I have used over 15 Teaching Company courses over the past few years as supplements to the curriculum I use in my homeschool. I was very disappointed in the content of this particular one. It should have been titled Graphing Calculator 1. Almost from the beginning all problems were presented for solution using a graphing calculator (one that is already outdated at that) before the basic principles and how to solve the equations traditionally were ever mentioned. It may be a personal thing, but it seems more logical to present the concepts and solution by traditional equation and then show how those cancepts can be applied to more compicated problems using a calculator.

Having used many courses previously, I must say that this is the first complaint that I have ever had with the content or presentation of materials. I have generally used the lessons for introduction of concepts and periodically throughout a course, but found that my sons were all confused by the course skipping the introduction of basic concepts altogether and jumping straight to solving problems with the calculator, that we just put the course away."


This has a lot of similarities to Discovering Algebra from Key Curriculum Press. One of Seattle's Three H.S. textbook finalists.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I could not find a place to preview the video online. If what I have seen is the same video, I was not impressed. While it should be a stamp of approval and quality, the mention of NSF is a caution sign that this program may be substandard given the track record of many NSF funded math efforts of recent years.

There are a couple of math video series that I highly recommend. They are both straight forward, give explanations, and work some examples. Like most videos, they do not provide practice exercises. For that, any good book should have adequate practice exercises. These videos do not cover all of the topics and skills in a given math course, but they do a great job with what they cover.

The two video series can be found online at

The MathTutorDVD

This is a very good series. Check and see if your local library has some of the DVDs.

The other program is free and available for viewing online as YouTube videos.

The Khan Academy