Digital manipulatives

TitleDigital manipulatives
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsManches A
Abstract

Children's learning is shaped by the materials we provide to explore certain ideas. This paper argues that digital manipulatives (digitally augmented physical objects) present opportunities to transform young children's learning by bridging their pre-school concrete experiences with more formal, abstract, concepts. The potential of digital manipulatives is articulated through a descriptive framework that considers the perceptual and manipulative properties of learning materials. The framework provides a simple lens with which to compare the properties of physical, virtual and digital manipulatives and draws upon the author's research into children's interactions using physical materials to support numerical development, as well as more recent work looking at the design of digital materials using devices such as tablet computers (iPad).Children's learning is shaped by the materials we provide to explore certain ideas. This paper argues that digital manipulatives (digitally augmented physical objects) present opportunities to transform young children's learning by bridging their pre-school concrete experiences with more formal, abstract, concepts. The potential of digital manipulatives is articulated through a descriptive framework that considers the perceptual and manipulative properties of learning materials. The framework provides a simple lens with which to compare the properties of physical, virtual and digital manipulatives and draws upon the author's research into children's interactions using physical materials to support numerical development, as well as more recent work looking at the design of digital materials using devices such as tablet computers (iPad).