Creating Handheld Applications to Support the Development of Conceptual Mastery
Pelton, T. & Francis Pelton, L. (2010). Creating Handheld Applications to Support the Development of Conceptual Mastery. In C. Crawford et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2010 (pp. 2029-2034). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.
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Handheld devices like the iPod Touch have great potential to support mathematics learning in unique ways: the form factor allows for anytime-anywhere micro-tutoring; the usability and low cost reduce the threshold and encourage adoption; and the touch-interface provides for authentic quasi-concrete opportunities for students to interact with models, manipulatives, games and activities. However, it seems that most app developers are ignorant of these potentials – choosing instead to employ basic flash-card techniques. To improve the situation, designers and developers need to attend to the educational value of 2D manipulatives (i.e., interactive, on-screen devices) and effective visual models (i.e. representations for understanding) in supporting students as they master concepts and skills and then develop fluency. In support of this goal we reflect on the design and application of a small set of math learning apps that we have created – ClockMaster, Find Sums and Estimate Fractions.