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Interactive Virtual and Physical Manipulatives for Improving Students' Spatial Skills


Journal of Educational Computing Research Volume 55, Number 8, ISSN 0735-6331


An innovative educational technology called interactive virtual and physical manipulatives (VPM) is developed to improve students' spatial skills. With VPM technology, not only can students touch and play with real-world physical manipulatives in their hands but also they can see how the corresponding virtual manipulatives (i.e., computer graphics) simultaneously change in real time. The assessment results show that VPM technology resulted in a 21.3% normalized learning gain in the posttest as compared with the pretest. Gender difference in spatial scores was reduced from 22.9% in the pretest to only 5.5% in the posttest. The t-test results revealed a statistically significant effect (p = 0.032) of VPM technology on student learning, with Hedges'g effect size of 0.54. The majority of the students surveyed (71.9%) preferred using both VPM, rather than virtual or physical manipulatives alone, because the two types of manipulatives provide two simultaneous channels for learning.


Ha, O. & Fang, N. (2018). Interactive Virtual and Physical Manipulatives for Improving Students' Spatial Skills. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 55(8), 1088-1110. Retrieved October 23, 2019 from .

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