Parents are buying the Time Tracker to prepare their children for standardized tests, the New York Times says. But is that the motivation?
Shaped like a colorful peppermill, with a digital readout panel, lights that suggest a traffic intersection and an electronic male voice that booms “Begin” and “Time’s up,” the Time Tracker, which sells for a list price of $34.95, has turned into a surprise hit of the holiday season, according to some toy sellers. By using the tracker during playtime, homework or any other activity, children are supposed to develop a sense of passing time – 20 minutes, half an hour, an hour – that translates into better management during tests. Siren sounds indicate when a certain period has gone by, and the lights switch from green to yellow to red to demonstrate how close the child is to the end of the allotted time.
Contrary to what the story implies, children don’t take “make or break” tests in elementary school, except for a few states that test for basic reading and math skills before promoting children to the next grade. Students who fail lack more than time management techniques. They lack basic reading and math skills.
The Time Tracker has become the top-selling toy for Learning Resources, which bills it as a way to keep kids on track, not necessarily as an SAT prep tool.
Perfect for: Study sessions, Projects, Tests, Experiments, Practice sessions, Classroom Assignments, Cooking, Hearing impaired and hundreds more uses.
I suspect most parents who buy Time Tracker want their kids to limit video game playing time or practice piano for a full 30 minutes. I can’t believe they’re worried about time management for test taking; it’s just too bizarre.