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"Fractions" Breaks Down Difficult Concepts for Children

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HILLSBOROUGH — With school back in session, lots of youngsters are working hard to learn fractions. A new educational software called "Fractions" is getting rave reviews for really helping kids.

WRAL OnLine reporterTom Lawrencevisited with the Orange County couple who developed the program.

Diane and Tom Wilcox moved to North Carolina soDianecould get her PhD in Educational Psychology at Carolina. Fractions, their newest creation, tempts children with animation and an exciting cast of "Instructrons" including Boris.

Diane developed fractions because the concepts are hard to teach children.

"They have to learn it visually," Diane said. "They have to learn it in a concrete way, and often in schools they miss that."

Although the program is for children ages four to nine, Diane says the approach is sophisticated.

"Very sophisticated, and we did it," she said. "It's based on a lot of educational research done by many people based at universities across the county."

Kids expect a lot from computers these days, so educational programs have to entertain as well as teach.

"They've played with these things, and they expect it to give them a fun punch at the same time that they're learning something," Tom Wilcox said.

"If they can connect with one of these characters they're going to have a better chance of remembering the information," Diane said.

"Fractions" sells for $33, and consumers canorder it on the Internet.

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Tom Lawrence, Reporter
Ron Pittman, Photographer
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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