To Be Presented in the 11th Asian Technology Conference in Mathematics
December 12-16, 2006, Hong Kong SAR, China

Using of Virtual Manipulatives on the Web-A Case Study of Four Elementary School Teachers

Yuan Yuan
Graduate school of Education
Chung Yuan Christaian University


Virtual manipulatives were proposed to be an innovative medium for use by elementary school children. The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (NLVM) is an NSF supported project that began in 1999 to develop a library of uniquely interactive, web-based virtual manipulatives or concept tutorials, mostly in the form of Java applets, for mathematics instruction (K-12 emphasis). In this study, four elementary school teachers in Taiwan selected applets from NLVM and designed learning activities to enrich their mathematics classrooms. These explorations include using 'Base Block' in grade 2, 'Diffy' in grade 5, 'isometric Geoboard' in grade 5, and 'Algrbra Balance Scales' in grade 6. Research result showed that students like explore mathematics through these virtual learning environments. Using of Virtual Manipulatives can improve students' conceptual understanding, enrich explorations for higher achievers, and remedy weakness for lower learners. Because of the English interface, both teachers and students indicated difficulties in using these applets. It is hoped that these applets can be translated into Chinese. Regular workshops should be held to improve teachers' abilities of these applications.

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