Company: Tabula Digita, Inc., 1500 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York, NY, 10036. Phone: (877) 682-2852; Internet: www.tabuladigita.com.
Price: The Educator version of Evolver Singleplayer Pre-Algebra missions 1–5 is priced at a minimum of $149.50 (the minimum purchase is 10 licenses at $14.95 per user). The complete Evolver Singleplayer Pre-Algebra missions 1–20 are $49.95 per user. Evolver Multiplayer site licenses are priced at $2,000 per year for all of the students at a school site.
Audience: Grades 6–12.
Format: CD-ROM: text, graphics, animation, audio. Internet-based components include competitive play and assessment features.
Minimum System Requirements: Windows systems: Pentium-compatible 1.5 GHz processor, 128 MB RAM, 200 MB hard drive space for each program (1 GB required for Evolver Singleplayer), Windows 2000/XP and Direct
X8.1, Open GL- or Direct X-compatible 3D graphics accelerator with 64 MB video memory and updated drivers, Direct X-compatible sound card with speakers or headphones, standard mouse, 10/100 network adapter with internet access for online play using Internet Explorer 6.0 or Firefox 2.0 Version 7.0.
Macintosh systems: Power PC G4 with 1 GHz (Power PC G5 with 1.5 GHz for Evolver Singleplayer), 256 MB RAM (512 MB RAM for Evolver Singleplayer), 200 MB hard drive space required for each game (1 GB required for Evolver Singleplayer), Mac OS X 10.4.6, 3D graphics accelerator with 64 MB video memory and updated video card and driver (128 MB memory for Evolver Singleplayer), sound card with speakers or headphones, standard mouse, 10/100 network adapter with internet access for online play using Safari 2.0.3 (417.9.2) or Firefox 2.0 Version 7.0. As of Nov. 26, 2007, the products were not configured to work with the Leopard OS.
Overall Rating: *****
Ease of Use A
Product Support A
Description: The Evolver programs for Pre-Algebra and Algebra are interactive 3D standards-based educational video games that can be played by a single player or by multiple players in a competitive setting. Evolver Singleplayer for Pre-Algebra presents 20 missions designed to teach math concepts through self-competition. Evolver Multiplayer for Pre-Algebra and Algebra offers a fast-paced multiplayer environment and three game formats.
Installation: An Install Wizard guides the user through the installation process. As the games are updated, patches are made available for each machine running the games. Installation Rating: A
Content/Features: Evolver Pre-Algebra provides 20 missions divided into five-module sections related to the exploration of a biotech program on an abandoned island. The high-tech story line includes biotech experiments gone awry, synthetic creature invasions, dangerous nanobots, jet packs used as transportation, and a power core activation.
To survive and escape the island, students must complete tasks using math concepts to investigate energy readings, cut off transmission links, explore a research facility, and activate a power core.
Missions 1–5: Virus Origin focus on efforts to break into an abandoned research and development facility. The use of prime numbers, perfect squares, and order of operations help students investigate energy readings and more. In Missions 6–10: Power Source, students work to shut down a power supply and stop the spread of nanobots. Proportions, number lines, and the addition and subtraction of integers are used.
In Missions 11–15: Nano Campus, students uncover the secrets of an old testing ground through the use of parameters, the evaluation of mathematical expressions, and the translation of mathematical phrases into expressions. Working with Missions 16–20: Trail Ends, students explore a research facility and remote observation station while using function tables, finding and plotting coordinates, and solving equations.
Once students complete the Singleplayer missions, they are prepared to demonstrate their mastery of learning objectives in Evolver Multiplayer missions. The students can work on these missions individually or as team members; they can compete and collaborate in timed tournament-style online experiences with others in their classes, schools, districts, or students in other states.
The Evolver Multiplayer games include Meltdown, Swarm, and Obstacle Course. Meltdown is a game of strategy, calculation, and speed focused on the acquisition of points while preventing opponents from doing the same. An online demo is available.
Swarm is a team-based game in which opposing teams battle each other using strategy, speed, and math skills. Obstacle Course engages users in a five-stage test of speed and diverse skills with the goal of completing the course the fastest.
Schools can control access to the games students can play. Teachers can align the games to content studied in the classroom. Access to the online program content is available at school and at home.
An online Educator Portal provides automatic progress tracking for each student. Web-based monitoring technology tracks student performance. Several class and student reports are available covering time on task, missions completed, topics covered, and the educational score. The assessment data can be converted into other formats.
Classroom Applications: The Evolver programs can be used as a resource in small or large groups to introduce or support math instruction in the classroom.
Students who excel in math can work with the Evolver Multiplayer software to improve their speed in solving math problems. The challenging nature of the software makes it a motivational tool for able learners.
Teams can be formed to participate in class, school, district, and national competitions using Evolver Multiplayer features offered online. The collaborative nature of Evolver Multiplayer provides experiences in problem solving and cooperative learning.
The Evolver missions provide numerous ways to strategize and interact with others. The difficulty level adjusts to increase the challenge and to keep the students engaged. Content/Features Rating: A
Ease of Use: Product demos are available online. The program is easy to navigate using on-screen menus. Ease of Use Rating: A
Product Support: Product support is provided through an online Frequently Asked Questions document (FAQ) and troubleshooting tips. Tech support is also available by email. Product Support Rating: A
Recommendation: Evolver Pre-Algebra provides a powerful way to engage students in math learning. The program has a definite appeal for today’s youth. The interactive 3D environment and video game format will resonate with all students, including math-reluctant learners.
I love the collaborative feature of the programs. Middle and high school students learn more when they are able to work together and motivate each other.
Evolver for Pre-Algebra would make a great addition to any middle or high school math class as a supplemental resource to classroom textbooks. The content is directly aligned to state and national curriculum standards. I highly recommend downloading a demo and taking the program for a test drive.
Reviewer: Sally Finley , Teacher of the Gifted, Country Hills Elementary School, Florida.