Lee, C. Y., & Chen, M. (2014). The impacts of virtual manipulatives and prior knowledge on geometry learning performance in junior high school . Journal of Educational Computing Research , 50 (2), 179–201. https://doi.org/10.2190/EC.50.2.b
Lee, C. Y., & Chen, M. (2014). The impacts of virtual manipulatives and prior knowledge on geometry learning performance in junior high school. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 50(2), 179–201. https://doi.org/10.2190/EC.50.2.b
The effects of using virtual manipulatives—that is, visual representations, as presented on a computerized test, that can be interacted with by students—were compared with the effects of using physical/tactile manipulatives as supports while completing geometry performance tasks.
Participants were four grade 8 classes in one school in Taiwan, totaling 145 students, randomized by class to receive either physical or virtual manipulatives. No information was available about whether these general classrooms had students with disabilities.
The performance of students on 15 geometry assessment items developed by the researchers was collected for the two classes using the physical manipulatives and the two classes using the virtual manipulatives. Participants also completed an attitude survey about math and an intelligence test on math and language for checking students' prior knowledge.
Students with high prior geometry knowledge scored significantly higher on the geometry test when using virtual manipulatives than when using physical manipulatives. Students with low prior knowledge did not score significantly differently between the manipulative types. Students using virtual manipulatives who had high prior knowledge scored significantly higher than those with low prior knowledge. Students using physical manipulatives did not score significantly differently whether they had high prior knowledge or low prior knowledge. Finally, students with high prior knowledge who used virtual manipulatives also had more positive attitudes toward math than did students with low prior knowledge. Future research directions were suggested.