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Cognitive guidelines for the design and evaluation of early mathematics software: the example of MathemAntics. (English)
English, Lyn D (ed.) et al., Reconceptualizing early mathematics learning. Dordrecht: Springer (ISBN 978-94-007-6439-2/hbk; 978-94-007-6440-8/ebook). Advances in Mathematics Education, 83-120 (2013).
Summary: Thousands of educational applications are available for the latest touch screen devices. Unfortunately, quantity does not guarantee quality: most applications are limited in focus and do not promote conceptual knowledge. This chapter explores how cognitive psychology can inform the design and evaluation of software for early mathematics education so as to promote conceptual understanding, problem solving, and the excitement of learning. We propose six cognitive design principles that can exploit the new technological affordances available on the latest devices, particularly touch screen tablets. For each design principle, we outline important issues that software developers need to consider, and then we discuss examples of how cognitive principles can inform design. We also discuss two added benefits of mathematics software running on the new technology: the software can provide innovative approaches to the evaluation of learning and to basic cognitive research. We argue that when cognitive psychology shapes the development of software the results can be improved achievement, teaching, and testing. And a non-trivial added benefit can be that children will enjoy learning meaningful mathematics.
Classification: C31 C32 R21 R22 U51 U52
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