ALGEBRA 1 Version 2009
Revised and highly enlarged.
ALGEBRA 2
ALGEBRA 3
ALGEBRA 4
GEOMETRY 1
ELECTRICITY 1
ELECTRICITY 2
ELECTRICITY 1&2
OPTICS 1
OPTICS 2
MECHANICS 3


 
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1. The assets which allowed the achievement of this project.
  • J
    Mr. Charles Chahine, you are the founder of Evalutel Enterprise and also the Author, Director and Editor of Evalutel titles. If I am not mistaken, this is the 15th anniversary of this wonderful project. What’s new since my last interview 5 years ago ?

    Charles Chahine
    Evalutel, as a company, has been absorbed by Asyntel Company which I own and head. Evalutel Education is now a department of Asyntel. The pursuit of the update of the old titles and production of new titles continues, as before .

    J
    What were your original objectives and have you achieved them ?

    CC
    My objective was the development of a collection of titles which cover all programs of middle and high school classes in Mathematics and Physics. My goal is to prevent a pupil's / student’s academic failure, without hindering the progress of the most brilliant and/or motivated students

    J
    This is an enormous project that only a government or large organization can undertake in order to efficiently cover “all middle and high school programs”

    CC
    In fact, most of this project has already been developed, say between 80 and 90%.
    What made the development of this program possible is the experience I gained throughout the 22 years of my career as Physicist in High Energy Physics, and as a University Professor.
    Heading a successful software Company, I personally made the necessary investments to have the freedom to develop without external constraints. Of course, I rely on a team of programmers, computer graphics artists and secretaries.

2. Presentation of the titles produced by Evalutel Education.
  • J
    How are your titles organized ?

    CC
    Five titles Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry 1 for pupils between the ages of 12 and 16. These titles are available both in English and French. Algebra 3 and Algebra 4 intended for students between the ages of 17 and 18.
    The title Algebra 4 has yet to be translated into English.

    J
    And in Physics ?
    Six titles are also available in Physics: Electricity 1, Electricity 2, Optics 1, Optics 2, Mechanics 1&2, Mechanics 3. Among these titles only Optics 1 and Mechanics 3 are available in English.

    J
    Did you re-issue your titles after updates ?

    CC
    Of course. The new editions of the first edited titles, like Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 have benefited from recently developed tools like the “Geometry window”, and the “Grapher”. Progress made in the software used to verify student work permits us to almost double the number of proposed exercises.
    In the new versions of the above titles, one finds practically all classical exercises found in textbooks.

    J
    On what subjects are you working now ?

    CC
    In French, to complete the missing subjects: probabilities, vectors and symmetries for advanced courses, elementary Mechanics, etc All titles in French are currently undergoing translation into English are being updated.

    J
    And in Chemistry ?

    CC
    My knowledge in Chemistry is too poor to allow me to be an Author in this discipline. I am waiting for Authors’ propositions to produce title(s) in this field. The same is true for Electronics.

3. A short analysis of the causes and effects of academic failure.
  • J
    In your opinion, what are the main causes of academic failure ?

    CC
    My answer will be limited to scientific disciplines. Let us review the problems encountered by teachers and students in their work in class and at home in the scientific disciplines, such as Mathematics and Physics.
    The teacher adapts his courses and the exercises which he proposes to the level of the students in his class.
    Generally, only a fraction of the students succeed in following the subject under study, some brilliant students (or students who studied the subject in advance) master it and the remaining students catalog themselves or are catalogued as “hopeless” in Math and Physics. The latter are bored and disturb the class.
    At home, those students who succeeded in following the course revise their notes (if they are legible) and use the textbook of their class to work out the applied exercises more or less successfully. If they don’t know how to solve an exercise/problem or if their solution is wrong, they must wait until they get the correction of their work from the teacher or off the blackboard.

    The students who fail to keep up with the current level, sometimes for many years, waste their time at school, suffer from their failure, and feel excluded from the general education.
    This tragic situation arises from lost time that the majority of these pupils can make up if the teaching System would give them the means. Unfortunately, the programs available and the current way the education system functions don’t permit the teachers to help those students who have difficulties to make up their deficiencies in class.

    J
    Is your vision of the academic system too pessimistic ?

    CC
    At least in France, the academic system, which may be qualified as elitist, was suitable 40 to 50 years ago: selection of the most brilliant (and/or the more assisted) students for the jobs of Engineers, Researchers, highly qualified technicians, etc. and orientation of the student who fails towards jobs not demanding qualifications available in profusion.
    Today, most of the jobs with no requirements disappear and the pupils oriented too soon may stay unemployed. One cannot continue to teach this way.

4. Is it possible to remedy academic failure?
  • J
    Your description of academic failure is it not a political subject ?

    CC
    Yes if I limit my analysis to an acknowledgment of academic failure or if I propose a “plan” to remedy this situation.
    What I propose is available already!
    It is sufficient to make it available at a large scale, but that is politics.

    J
    I am curious to see how Evalutel titles can remedy the dire situation !

    CC
    The reader of these lines may download two extracts of courses and exercises for each class in Mathematics and Physics be see that it is not a matter of just talk but concrete applications.
    You have noticed that Evalutel titles don’t present the “official programs” to study each year but merely the subjects to study for a successive 3 or 4 years or even more for secondary and high schools. In this manner each pupil can undertake the study of Mathematics and Physics at the level he masters, which can be far from the level of his class. In this way, the differentiated teaching may be implemented effectively.
    The objective of the teacher should not be to complete the official program but merely to advance with all his pupils as far as possible in mastering the studied subjects
    In this way, the differentiation between the students will not be implemented by the orientation (often premature) of those pupils who are slow to understand or have temporary difficulties. The gifted students will not be handicapped since they have the possibility to learn subjects beyond the required program.

    J
    Does this mean that the students study individually or in small groups, each one on a computer ?

    CC
    Exactly, and this idea is revolutionary! In a multimedia class, all students are engaged in working and completing the exercises they are doing. The teacher will lecture much less in order to provide individual help to those students who need it.

5. Why Evalutel provides a better training with less failure
  • J
    The solution you advocate to fight academic failure is logical and attractive. Why then hasn’t it been implemented ?

    CC
    Through the lack of sufficient means and political willingness.

    J
    You mean that the individual technical equipment of a class is expensive ?

    CC
    Yes, but this cost is negligible compared to the cost of the academic failure and the wasted lives. The true means that are missing are the Educational Software which can take charge of each student and help him progress. This is the only way to relieve the teacher of his academic courses in order to take charge, individually, of the students who have difficulties.

    J
    You suppose that the majority of the students are able to follow the courses and do the exercises by themselves ?

    CC
    This is true for Evalutel titles and here’s why.
    Follow a course of one of Evalutel’s titles; this way, you’ll have at your disposal free extracts to download for each class.
    You will note first that the courses are not scanned pages of a book displayed on the computer screen, but genuine courses written to exploit the whole potential of multimedia . Just follow on your computer to be convinced of the impact of a course displayed and read progressively, accompanied by synchronized images and figures.

    J
    Will Evalutel courses substitute the teacher headed courses ?

    CC
    Each teacher should organize his courses as he feels, in function of his class and the levels of his students. It is essential, however, that no student remain a spectator wasting his time.

    J
    But how to make all students in the class participate simultaneously ?

    CC
    This is the great challenge which must face any interactive software which must take charge of each student individually. We have taken up this challenge and produced educational titles that meet these needs completely.

6. Evalutel software doesn’t leave any student idle.
  • J
    The exercises/problems represent a large part of the content of your titles. What differentiates Evalutel from the titles of other Editors ?

    CC
    The elaborate techniques which permit the control and step by step corrections of the pupil’s work. It is not a matter of MCQ (multiple choice questions) or corrected exercises, onto which navigation and some illustrations have been stuck.

    J
    You said that it is a matter of MCQ. However, it’s unbelievable that a student can answer questions on a keyboard as he would an exam/sheet of paper. How is it possible ?


    CC
    First of all, we have developed all of the tools necessary to write any kind of solution on the keyboard , without having to resort to complicated handling.
    • For example, it is necessary that all mathematical symbols such as indices, exponents, fractions with horizontal bars, square roots, vectors, etc. can be typed easily.
    • In geometry, it is necessary that the student have at his disposal all the drawing tools: pencil, ruler, compasses, square, protractor, point, etc.
    • In electricity, the student must be able to draw electrical circuits, to use instruments such as a rheostat, voltmeter, oscilloscope, etc
    • When solving an analysis problem, he must have a tool to graph the function he studies.

    J
    Do these tools make the student autonomous ?

    CC
    Aside from the interactive tools put at his disposal, the typed solution of each exercise or problem is corrected step by step, without exception.
    The software will accept each intermediary answer, considered as valid by the teacher. In case of an error, not rectified by the student, the software will give him the correction for the current step, and let him proceed until the end of the exercise

    J
    If I understood you correctly, the exercise is corrected progressively, as one advances. The teacher doesn’t have any copy to correct ?

    CC
    Effectively, and this change is revolutionary !

7. How are the solutions for the exercises typed on the keyboard corrected?
  • J
    It seems unlikely! I can hardly imagine how software programs can correct the exercises/problems solved as on paper sheet.

    CC
    Don’t forget that the Evalutel titles are the result of 15 years work. Each exercise or problem possesses its own software, the development of which was supported by my years of teaching experience.

    J
    When you write a solution on a sheet of paper, you arrive at the final result more or less rapidly, depending on whether you skip more or less the intermediary steps. Moreover, there is a large number of ways to write a given formula. Is Evalutel software in a position to handle all possible answers, and to sort the correct from the wrong ones ?

    CC
    This is the main difficulty in the interactive corrections, and we overcome it by analysing the possible answers for an exercise. The maximum number of steps allowed in an exercise is enough for the weakest student.

    J
    But how can you correct a reasoning, a demonstration ?


    CC
    To write a demonstration, it is true that the student will not face an empty screen, in analogy with a blank sheet of paper. The basic structure is prepared by the software to decompose the demonstration into small steps which may be analysed confidently. The basic words of the demonstration are to be typed by the student.
    For more on this point, let the teachers appreciate to what extent the student is being helped in writing a demonstration.

    J
    To solve an exercise/problem, there are also figures to draw as in Geometry, for example. To what extent is the student helped in his drawing?

    CC
    The student has at his disposal all tools to draw the asked figure. What is revolutionary is that Evalutel software is able to correct step by step the figure to draw in case of a double mistake. The student works with confidence, and never writes the solution with an incorrect drawing.


    J
    I see that we are quite far from traditional teaching methods.

8. In what respect is the role of the teacher modified?
  • J
    What are your recommendations for the use of Evalutel titles in class ?

    CC
    The teacher, who knows the levels of his students, is in a position to make them start with exercises they can do easily, and to follow the corresponding Evalutel course if they have gaps in their understanding. Whenever possible, he must apply the following “Golden Rule”:
    All students must be occupied to work and to succeed in solving exercises that they are able to master. Experiments done in many classes show that the majority of students work by themselves successfully when they are doing well.

    J
    I can hardly imagine how the teacher is going to follow the work of his students who are working each one on his own, on different subjects.

    CC
    The teacher will be devoted mainly to the students who have many difficulties or those who need encouragement.

    J
    But how will the teacher follow the work of the students in his class without correcting their work ?

    CC
    The work result of each student is registered in the class Journal. For each work session, the time spent on each course and each exercise is saved. For the exercises, the number of correct and incorrect answers is also registered.
    Current developments. Very soon, the marks obtained for each exercise will be displayed and compared to the part of the exercise undertaken and to the whole exercise.
    A new application program, called E_Value, will allow the teacher to analyse, in great detail, the results obtained by each student. This will allow the teacher to set, for the next session, the work objectives for each student.

    J
    According to you, what are the new missions of the teacher ?

    CC
    Motivate their students to learn and progress at the best of their abilities.

9. Evalutel titles and Internet. Available titles in English.
  • J
    How do Evalutel Titles compare with other Editor’s software one can find on the Internet ?

    CC
    The role of every teacher is to take in, at best, the available knowledge of his discipline and to release to his students, as clearly as possible, the bases which will allows them to study later, more soundly, the subjects needed in their profession or for their personal interest. In the same way as in previous centuries, when most students couldn’t learn by themselves directly in books or articles found in libraries, students today cannot acquire the bases of the scientific disciplines directly on the Internet, although they have an easy access to a large material.
    The Internet is an extraordinary tool of communication, of exchange, for the deepening of subjects which are familiar, documentary research, etc.

    J
    If I understand you, Internet and Educational Software are two complementary modern tools for learning.

    CC
    Exactly. While the communication between teachers and classes via the Internet is very useful for the students training, it doesn’t replace the courses and structured exercises that are at the root of any training.

    J
    You have sketched the difficulties in education encountered in France. Are the Education systems in other countries similar ?

    CC
    The encountered problems are often the same. However, the teachers develop fewer academic courses. They let their students participate more than in France. In emerging countries, the teachers use educational software more frequently.

    J
    Does there exist, in other countries, Educational software similar to that which is produced by Evalutel ?

    CC
    Not to my knowledge. I am not aware of any editor who developed software analysing and correcting the student’s answers, which represents a considerable amount of time and money.

    J
    You have therefore the opportunity to sell Evalutel CD outside France.

    CC
    Yes. Indeed, six titles are already translated into English. The oldest titles are currently being updated, in accordance with the french titles.
    There remains the translation of Algebra 4, Electricity and Optics 2.

10. Evalutel titles used for individual work at home.
  • J
    Are Evalutel titles used by students for homework ?

    CC
    Often, the student didn’t understand all or part of the course given by his teacher in class; the notes taken are incomplete or illegible and must be deciphered, which represents an important loss of time.
    The self-sufficient student will frequently study the Evalutel course, which presents him with the same subject in live, and often in a complementary or different angle of view from the course followed in class. In general, listening attentively to an Evalutel course once is enough to understand the subject. The student can verify that he has assimilated the course by doing the application exercises which accompany every subject.
    The student knows at any moment the result of his work since every exercise or problem is corrected step by step by Evalutel programs. As a result, the student acquires a great confidence in himself, since he achieved all the credit he obtained without any outside help.
    In reality, most students need encouraging to work and congratulations when they succeed in solving the tackled exercises/problems with few or no errors.
    The parents, even without advanced scientific knowledge, can take on this role by consulting the Journal which details the results of every work session.
    When the student has many problem areas or has difficulties working by himself on Evalutel titles, a qualified person, a teacher or a parent must guide him in the choice of which courses to study and which exercises to do or redo.
    Indeed, only a good teacher understands the difficulties encountered by the student from the log of the correct and incorrect answers (or the marks) obtained at each question and will organize the program of study of the student accordingly.

    The student must always work by himself on the subjects set by the teacher who, in turn, will adjust the objectives in function of the result obtained.

11. Evalutel titles used by teachers for individual lessons or by subscription.
  • J
    What should parents do if they are unable to supervise their child’s work ?

    CC
    When they have the means, parents can turn to individual courses. This solution is expensive and offers no guaranty of success. In effect, in a classic individual course, the teacher proposes to his student an exercise to do, which applies to the course studied in class or ” helps him to do his homework”.
    While the student works, the teacher observes the student thinking or writing; he intervenes more or less to correct the mistakes, if any, and to explain the subject again when the student is stuck.
    Consequently, the student relies on his teacher for his work; at the end of the individual course, it is difficult to know what work the student did by himself and whether he progressed.

    J
    What is the contribution of Evalutel software in individual courses ?

    CC
    During the individual course, the teacher selects for the student an exercise or problem to solve on the keyboard rather than in a notebook. The teacher doesn’t intervene while the student is solving the exercise. The student is self-sufficient and is aware immediately of each mistake he makes. Our experience shows that the student begins to react more responsively and tends to make fewer mistakes thanks to his heightened concentration.
    If, however, the student makes many mistakes in the proposed exercise, the teacher will ask him to follow the Evalutel course corresponding to the student’s level, to solve a simpler exercise or an exercise that covers the detected problems areas.

    J
    Are individual courses sufficient for a student to achieve academic success ?

    CC
    No, because one or two hours of individual courses a week is not sufficient if the student doesn’t work by himself outside the courses.
    For this reason, we have started subscription formulas where the student works by himself on the Evalutel title(s) of his level while he is supervised at a distance by a referent teacher, reducing the costs of individual courses at home while ensuring better results.

12. Conclusion and perspectives.
  • J
    In conclusion, after 15 years of work and with the benefit of hindsight, did you reach your objectives ?

    CC
    The teaching qualities of the courses, the interactivity and reliability of the step by step corrections of the exercises and problems exceed any expectations I could have had when I began this project. The developed tools are becoming standards; they allow for the production of titles in scientific disciplines at University levels, helping to democratize higher level teaching.

    J
    What are the next steps ?

    CC
    Popularize Evalutel titles: Parents look desperately for teaching methods that can prepare their children for today’s world, unaware that these methods exist and are within their means !

    J
    By what means are you going to popularize the Evalutel titles ?

    CC
    Classical Marketing means are not adapted to explain in few words the contribution of the Evalutel titles to a student’s success. For this reason, we concentrate our efforts on the free download of courses and application exercises for each class (age) in order to popularize our titles.

    J
    What is usually the reaction/response of your titles' users ?

    CC
    The majority of the parents who buy an Evalutel title, then choose to order other title(s) for their child or other children.

    J
    Do you wish to receive opinions and remarks from teachers and the Public ?

    CC
    With great pleasure, and I commit myself to take into account the remarks and constructive suggestions.

    January 2009
    Charles Chahine.
    My remarks