VP Arithmetic is computer software that is used to interactively solve math problems. It is designed for those who are pencil impaired: unable to operate a pencil effectively. This is not a tutorial, although tutorial mode is part of the package. Think of it as a virtual pencil, a tool that can be used to solve a math problem. It moves to the right spot on the "paper", guided by the user, and inputs the answers that the user selects. When used with a screen reader the numbers and actions are read outloud, or displayed in Braille.
The math problem is displayed on the screen, one number above the other with digits lined up in vertical columns. The Tutor tells the student where he is in the problem, what steps need to be done to solve it, and will even do the navigating and provide the answer. In test mode the student does not have the help provided by the tutor, extended tutor or next step features. He or she must know how to navigate around the problem, where to read the digits in the intermediate steps, and where to put the answers. Just like using a pencil.
Teachers can create an assignment , password protect it, and then send it to the student via email, save it to a diskette, save it to the hard drive, or print it or emboss it. When emailing it or saving it, the password will stay with the assignment file wherever it goes. This is designed to prevent students from switching from test mode to tutor mode, so the test results will be valid. When an assignment or test is created in Virtual Pencil, the same file can be printed-out for the able-bodied students in the class, saving the teacher a lot of time.
There are many options to change the look and behavior of Virtual Pencil, like the font size and color, the amount of information displayed or spoken, sound effects, hot keys, and message strings. The keyboard commands can be reconfigured to suit the user, including a single-key command mode. It is compatible with alternative input devices such as on-screen keyboards, Intelli Keys, switches, and voice input. For blind users it works with Jaws, Connect Outloud, or Window Eyes.
The current product handles addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, with decimals and fractions. It runs only in Windows, from Windows 95 and newer. You can download a demo or purchase it on-line From the Downloads Page.