University of Limerick
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Case study: the effectiveness of virtual manipulatives in the teaching of primary mathematics

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posted on 2022-10-12, 07:34 authored by Catriona Lane
This case study aimed to examine how effective virtual manipulatives are in the teaching of primary mathematics. Concrete manipulatives are an expensive investment for primary schools and as a result there is often not enough manipulatives for all pupils to use. Virtual manipulatives can be obtained free of charge once a pupil has access to a computer that has an internet connection. This case study involved dividing a third class group into three groups; each group used a different form or combination of mathematical manipulative. One group used virtual manipulatives, one group used concrete manipulatives and one group used a combination of concrete and virtual manipulatives. Qualitative and quantitative data collection tools where used to elicit the effectiveness of each tool. Areas such as mathematical dialogue, motivation and the learning benefits for low achievers where also examined. The case study found that pupils using both virtual manipulatives and concrete manipulative had the greatest increase in test results. Due to the lack of funding in primary schools, combining the use of virtual manipulatives and concrete manipulatives could solve teachers’ problems surrounding the lack of concrete manipulatives, as well as benefiting learners.



  • Master (Research)

First supervisor

Hancock, Gerry





Also affiliated with

  • DMARC - Digital Media and Arts Research Centre

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