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Integrating concrete and virtual materials in an elementary mathematics classroom : a case study of success with fractions

Proctor, Romina M. J., Baturo, Annette R., & Cooper, Thomas J. (2002) Integrating concrete and virtual materials in an elementary mathematics classroom : a case study of success with fractions. In Linking Learners: Australian Computers in Education Conference (17th), July 2002, Hobart, Tas..

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Abstract

This paper describes an approach to introducing fraction concepts using generic software tools such as Microsoft Office's PowerPoint to create "virtual" materials for mathematics teaching and learning. This approach replicates existing concrete materials and integrates virtual materials with current non-computer methods of teaching primary students about fractions. The paper reports a case study of a 12-year-old student, Frank, who had an extremely limited understanding of fractions. Frank also lacked motivation for learning mathematics in general and interacted with his peers in a negative way during mathematics lessons. In just one classroom session involving the seamless integration of off-computer and on-computer activities, Frank acquired a basic understanding of simple common equivalent fractions. Further, he was observed as the session progressed to be an enthusiastic learner who offered to share his learning with his peers. The study's "virtual replication" approach for fractions involves the manipulation of concrete materials (folding paper regions) alongside the manipulation of their virtual equivalent (shading screen regions). As researchers have pointed out, the emergence of new technologies does not mean old technologies become redundant. Learning technologies have not replaced print and oral language or basic mathematical understanding. Instead, they are modifying, reshaping, and blending the ways in which humankind speaks, reads, writes, and works mathematically. Constructivist theories of learning and teaching argue that mathematics understanding is developed from concrete to pictorial to abstract and that, ultimately, mathematics learning and teaching is about refinement and expression of ideas and concepts. Therefore, by seamlessly integrating the use of concrete materials and virtual materials generated by computer software applications, an opportunity arises to enhance the teaching and learning value of both materials.

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ID Code: 27508
Item Type: Conference Paper
Additional Information: An open access copy of this article can be accessed from the journal's webpage - see Official URL above.
Keywords: Fractions, Computer assisted teaching, Classroom techniques, Constructivism (Learning), Educational technology, Learning strategies, Mathematics teaching, Student motivation, Information and communications technology
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Mathematics and Numeracy Curriculum and Pedagogy (130208)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Primary Education (excl. Maori) (130105)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > Schools > School of Curriculum
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 [please consult the authors].
Deposited On: 23 Sep 2009 14:39
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2013 18:09

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