(D) Slow the speed of the Online Tutor?
You can change the Tutor speed on the green Individual Action Button.
When you want to change something for an individual student, go to the green button at the end of that student’s row that says “Individual Action.” Pull down for a short menu, shown in this picture. “Change Tutor speed” is near the bottom. The speed options are Normal, Slow, Slowest, and Fast.
Yes, you can change Tutor Speed, but should you?
You can change how fast the student has to answer, but you probably should not. The main goal of Rocket Math is for students to commit facts to memory, to be able to answer them instantly, from recall.
Recall is instantaneous, but “figuring out” is not.
The fast pace means they don’t have time to “figure out” a fact–they just have to remember it. If they don’t remember, then the game gives them a LOT of practice on a very small number of facts, until they do remember them. That is exactly the point of the game. We want them to stop having to “figure out” facts and just remember the answer. If the students are not used to “recalling” facts they will think that the game is just “too fast” for them. If they keep playing and learning, more and more facts are committed to memory and can be answered instantaneously. Almost everyone can do it–if you insist on it.
Some children under 8 can’t type in answers quickly enough.
Older children can use two hands on a keyboard to go really fast. However, children under 8 may not be able to type in answers quickly enough for the normal speed of 3 seconds. At the younger ages students should have touch screen devices on which to answer. That will make a huge difference. If they do not, and they must find the number on the keyboard and then find the enter button with the same hand–they won’t be fast enough. They will need to have a “slow” speed or they may become upset or begin crying. That is a definite clue that you need to change the speed for them
The danger in slowing the game down for most students.
If you let older students play at the slower speeds they may never use “recall” and instead may figure out the facts over and over. Until I realized the difference, I allowed my students to take their time to figure out facts. Many of my students never committed facts to memory all year long! If, as we do in Rocket Math, you only ask them to remember two facts and their reverses at a time, everyone can remember two facts. It takes just a few minutes to realize that they can, in fact, remember that answer instantaneously. Once they use recall, they remember the answer in less than a second, and then three seconds to input it, is quite doable. If you slow down the game speed, they may NEVER realize they can remember the fact, instead of figuring it out each time.
Did a Learning Track at “slow?” Re-do it at the normal speed.
Students need to be able to answer facts from recall and not have to figure them out. Unless there are motor problems, or you have children under 8 without a touch screen, students should do each Learning Track at the normal speed. You want them to be able to reliably answer these facts instantly. If possible have them go back through the Learning Tracks they did and re-do them at the normal speed. It will be a challenge for them, so you should prepare them. “This will be tough, but I think you can do it.” Maybe consider the Toughness Certificate, to help them persevere.
If their difficulty score is over 3.0 — they need an adjustment made.
Students are not used to memorizing, which invariably involves repeating things over and over. All students should expect to “Start Over” often, but some are upset by even starting over once. Some are shocked the first time they cannot answer a problem in the 3 seconds allotted. They don’t realize that persisting in playing will help them learn the fact fast enough to answer in 3 seconds. Their difficulty score, from the Review Progress screen tells you whether or not the game is too fast for them.
You can sort your class based on their difficulty scores–as the teacher did in the picture above. A difficulty score under 3.0 means the student has to start over on average fewer than 3 times for each part passed. That is not too difficult. However, if you have younger students who begin crying or avoiding Rocket Math, they may need adjustments as well.
Some students have difficulty scores under 1.0 and Rocket Math is very easy for them. Students with difficulty scores over 3.0 should be considered to have their speed changed–and then only if you know they require accommodations. On the other hand, students with difficulty scores under 0.1 should be challenged to take on the “Fast” speed!
Changing the Tutor Speed
The options for speed are:
- Normal, 3 seconds to answer (with an extra second for each additional digit)
- Slow, at 4.5 seconds to answer per digit (plus the extra second)
- Slowest, at 6 seconds to answer per digit (plus the extra second)
- Fast, at 2.25 seconds to answer per digit (plus extra time for additional digits)