it is a do-able program. Ideally you want the kids to go on 3 times a week (each session is abou 10 min). I was having a difficult time finding time to get 23 kids on my 2 computers 3 times a week without missing out on some instruction/activity and keeping the kids focused and not looking at the "game" their friend is playing (probably management on my part as well). Those teachers who were able to do this did say they saw improvement in their students basic computation. I didn't like that my 5th graders had to start at addition and w/not getting on 3 times a week it's hard to master each operation program to go to the next. I really just wanted them to practice multiplication but was told they had to go through +/-.
We got an extra computer lab to administer FastMath (Thanks to Title 1) And we can sign up for however many days we want during the week so we can get all the kids on it. I also had a rotation in my room and everyday 4 kids did FastMath instead of morning work but that meant they didn't go often in the mornings. The kids love it because of all the graphics and games. I think it's great for mastering the facts if you have time for kids to go on it often.
Our P bought FastMath too. Last year was the 1st year we implemented it. It worked ok.. I used it in my room as well, trying to get kids on 3 times a week. That was a hard task until I put up the sign in sheet - Each students name was on this. They had to record the date they went on for FASTMATH. If they already have 3 for the week, they must wait until all other students have too. My students did this when they finished early and during morning work time. I like other math programs out there better, but this is what we have.
I think there are definitely better programs out there. We have our kiddos go every day (not during class time - before/after school, etc.) and I do not see much benefit. We have this program available to our 3rd - 5th graders and it seems like the same kids "qualify" every year.
My kids loved it, but it was difficult scheduling the time to get all of the students at our school into the computer lab, between district computer-based assessments, Imagination Station, etc. I think if you have a few working computers in your room, you should be able to develop a schedule the time easily enough. We also had trouble with it not working a lot. Hopefully, they've worked some of the bugs out of the system, and it'll work better next year.
It is a program for math fact practice only (x,+, -, /), not problem solving or other skills practice.
I have definitely seen improvement in my students' fact skills. There is a bit of management to it, though. I check their progress regularly, seeing who is not mastering and who is not practicing enough.
I made a schedule that the students follow. I have 2 computers that they can use in the morning. We have arrival time spanning about 40 minutes before the bell rings, so that is their FM time. This year we will also have 2 loads of buses, so some students will be scheduled after school.
If it's made a priority and managed, it can be very helpful! If the students already know their facts, you might want to focus more on the students who really need the practice.
(If you want to see an example of my schedule, just let me know and I'll attach it.)