This little item was difficult to review, because as soon as it
came in the mail my nineyearold son grabbed it, and he has
continued to use it over many weeks! In fact, he loves it even
more than his occasional Gameboy, and it's much more
educational. He wanted me to tell everyone online that the best
thing about it is that it's portable, that he can "bring it
anywhere" including field trips.
Dubbed as "The Affordable 11Ounce Computer That Replaces
Flashcards" on its web site, Flashmaster does just that.
As a homeschooling mom who, first of all, is a Liberal Arts
major, and second of all, can't keep all of her
math facts
organized, I found this little tool to be excitingly simple and
convenient. It is a great supplement to any math curriculum, and
a great guide to remind parents where their child has mastered
facts and still needs assistance.
Poor spellers have software programs to keep their spelling in
line, and now those of us who may be numerically impaired can
have a tool that teaches and reviews addition, subtraction,
multiplication, and division. There are times I can't remember
if I've covered all the math facts from 1 through 20, fact
families, the four functions, or any number of minor details in
mathematics. Instead of calling my sister, the math major, I now
get out Flashmaster, set up one of its functions, and
test my son (without his knowledge, of course  he thinks it is
a game) through a series of logical steps in mathematics. I can
then ascertain where I've forgotten (or neglected) to teach him
pertinent information.
Flashmastercomes with a guide for teachers and parents
(which is also available for download on their web site), but I
find it is extremely easy to use. It also has a quickstart
guide printed on the back for people like me who don't take the
time to read instructions. Even easier, it comes with three
simple steps printed on the front, right next to buttons for
choices, and you can set your child up for learning even before
you learn the intricate details of the program.
First, you choose a learning activity by pressing one of six
yellow buttons. Choices include the following buttons:
Timed Practice (missed problems are repeated)
Timed Test (missed problems are not repeated)
Timed Flashcards (time limit for each problem)
Table In Order (no time limit but all problems are presented in
logical order)
Table No Order (no time limit but all problems are presented in
random order)
Special Problems (presenting stored problems that have been
previously missed)
Second, you choose one of three buttons to select:
Time Limit (allows you to choose a time limit of 30 to 180
seconds for the entire activity or per activity, depending upon
which learning activity you choose)
Math Operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication or
division)
Level or Table Number (Levels are included on the back of
Flashmaster; tables include 09 for addition/subtraction, 012
for multiplication, or 112 for division)
Third, you push start and the flashcards begin.
Other buttons include:
Power
Sound  to mute or allow sound (in case you are driving)
Pause  to stop the game in case your child is interrupted
Enter Problems  to enter special problems that are missed
See results  to review the last nine activities performed
There are also indented function buttons which allow a parent to
hide or show the countdown of time limit, change the problem
format, erase results, and erase missed and entered problems.
The screen itself takes up about 1/5 of the component, and
offers a simple LCD image, with rather large numbers, in a
horizontal format. As problems appear and the student attempts
to answer them, Flashmasterlets them know if they
answered the problem correctly or not by making different
sounds. In the timed tests, once a problem is answered
incorrectly, students are not given a second chance to answer,
and are not shown the correct answer. In untimed tests, however,
they are given another chance, and if they still give an
incorrect answer, the correct answer displays.
After a session is completed, Flashmastershows the number
of correct problems, the number of attempted problems, and the
percentage correct. As a visual person, the only thing that
bothered me about this product was the fact the numbers were
presented horizontally instead of vertically, and the number
buttons (for answers) are lined up at the bottom of the
horizontal component from 1 to 0, which make it difficult to
answer correctly in some timed tests (my mind works 0 to 9).
Flashmaster, which is about the size of a large PDA or a
Gameboy Color, can fit inside a mom's purse, inside a jacket
pocket, or even inside a glove compartment so that your child
always has an exciting, interesting ... and most importantly, an
educational activity handy. 
