Virtual Manipulatives

Decent Essays
Burns & Hamm (2011) conducted a counter research to Olkun (2003) which suggested that both virtual and concrete manipulatives improve significantly over a group that used no manipulatives and the group that used computers, improved slightly more. Burns & Hamm went on to research in an elementary school in West New York that compared virtual manipulatives to concrete manipulatives within the third and fourth grade mathematics courses with the background that concrete manipulatives appear to be widely accepted by math educators for several years based on Clements, (1999); Suydam, (1985); Suydam & Higgins, (1977). 54 fourth grade students were beginning the subject of symmetry. 25 of these students used virtual manipulatives in the study while…show more content…
42 of the third-grade students used virtual manipulatives while 49 students used concrete manipulatives. The virtual manipulative students were ranked according to ability and utilized an educational site linked to NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) to explore the lesson on fractions. The concrete manipulative group had a similar activity based on concrete fraction circles and fraction bars. All groups completed their assignments within the allotted 20-minute time period and were given a post test. In the third grade, post test results showed that both groups showed improvement however concrete groups’ point gains were higher when comparing pretest and posttest of virtual manipulatives group. Fourth grade scores proved that both groups made gains in post-test, yet concrete group earned more points in mean test scores. Although the gains were small yet significant, this study contradicted the Olkun (2003) study that suggested computer based manipulatives provides more gains than concrete manipulatives. Hamm & Burns noted that virtual manipulatives caused a slight delay because planning in advance for equipment set up was an issue and the wireless internet is not readily available in all schools. For this reason, concrete manipulatives such as the number grid can be conveniently used by students to find missing parts to one hundred without the use of a wireless
Get Access