Kindergarten Children’s Interactions with Touchscreen Mathematics Virtual Manipulatives: An Innovative Mixed Methods Analysis

Stephen I. Tucker, Christina W. Lommatsch, Patricia S. Moyer-Packenham, Katie L. Anderson-Pence, Jürgen Symanzik

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The purpose of this study was to examine patterns of mathematical practices evident during children’s interactions with touchscreen mathematics virtual manipulatives. Researchers analyzed 33 Kindergarten children’s interactions during activities involving apps featuring mathematical content of early number sense or quantity in base ten, recorded during one-to-one task-based interviews. Iterative analysis involved applying learning progression rubrics to video data, using hierarchical clustering to visualize the progressions via heatmaps with dendrograms, and returning to video data to investigate emergent patterns. Results indicated that overall, children’s mathematical practices aligned with research on development of mathematical understandings, but that individual children’s mathematical practices changed little within a given activity. The study extends existing research by shedding light on children’s interactions with touchscreen mathematics virtual manipulatives and supports the use of these analysis and visualization techniques.

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Tucker, S.I., Lommatsch, C.W., Moyer-Packenham, P.S., Anderson-Pence, K.L., & Symanzik, J. (2017). Kindergarten children’s interactions with touchscreen mathematics virtual manipulatives: An innovative mixed methods analysis. International Journal of Research in Education and Science (IJRES), 3(2), 646-665. DOI: 10.21890/ijres.328097


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