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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Educational Java Programs

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

2.75 stars
Content Quality: 3 stars
Effectiveness: 3.5 stars
Ease of Use: 2 stars
Reviewed: Jun 03, 2008 by Teacher Education
Overview: The website is a collection of Java programs designed to help children acquire knowledge and skills in mathematics and science.
Learning Goals: 1) Understanding of basic math concepts and skills 2) Overview of science terminology related to biology 3) Use of visual models for math and science concepts 4) Development of some higher order thinking skills in mathematics
Target Student Population: Elementary school
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Mouse skills
Type of Material: Tutorial
Recommended Uses: Elementary classrooms; may serve as examples in a math methods classroom
Technical Requirements: Java

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: The Java applets work well for quick review, tutoring and independent study. The simplicity of the site would lend itself to special education and students with fewer math skills. While the site has not been updated recently, individual Java applets can certainly support student learning.
Concerns: There is an unevenness in the individual Java entries. Some are unfinished. This is an older site which has not been updated recently.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3.5 stars
Strengths: The materials are still useful as the content is basic. The one entry in science lends itself to mathematical computation.
Concerns: The quizzes are on the knowledge level, rather than at higher level thinking. The unevenness is again an issue.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 2 stars
Strengths: The material works well on PCs. Some of the elements are easy to use.
Concerns: In the year it was published, it was up-to-date, but it is currently less engaging based on some of the materials that are available today. Some of the links are not easy to follow. They use the word "Java," meaning the main site. Some of the wording is awkward and directions are not always clear. Applets do not all work effectively on Macs.

Other Issues and Comments: The site developer is deceased and it is unlikely that there will be any updates.