Using teacher-made games to support young children's learning of number concepts: Combining hands-on manipulatives and computer software
Park, Yong Joon
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This is an action research study involving a preschool teacher producing and testing a design called "Combined Activity," which uses a combination of hands-on manipulatives and computer software. The purpose of the action research was to determine to relative effectiveness of the combined activity (using both computer software and hands-on manipulatives that the author created) and a traditional math activity (using not computer software but commercial hands-on manipulatives) in promoting preschool children's learning of seriation, logical classification, counting, and addition. The participants were a volunteering preschool teacher and 41 three to five year old preschoolers at two preschools in Florida southern urban area, U.S.A. The children who participated in the combined activity worked with the author for three weeks. For the research design, I used a quasi experimental (pretest-post-test) control group design which is commonly used in educational experimentation (Campbell & Stanley, 1963; Cohen & Manion, 1994; Creswell, 2003). Results of this study show that Combined Activity had a more positive effect on the participants' understanding of number concepts, especially seriation and addition than did the traditional activities. The participants in the combined activity experienced intellectually and socially how to communicate with the teacher and peers in a much more various mathematical learning environments rather than in the traditional activity. The study had the following outcomes: (1) providing early child educators with a description of the various effects of combined activity in a preschool; (2) providing educators and computer designers with some guidelines for the creation of developmentally appropriate, combined activity using hands-on manipulatives and computer software for young children; and (3) providing an example for educators to teach young children number concepts (seriation, classification, counting, and early addition) using the combined activity and activity plans.