A Multiplatform E-learning System for Collaborative Learning: The Potential of Interactions for Learning Fraction Equivalence

A Multiplatform E-learning System for Collaborative Learning: The Potential of Interactions for Learning Fraction Equivalence

Siu Cheung Kong (The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-703-4.ch015
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Abstract

A multiplatform e-learning system called the “Graphical Partitioning Model (GPM)”, with the separate versions for desktop computers and mobile devices, was developed for learning knowledge of fraction equivalence. This chapter presents a case study on the use of the mobile version GPM for the learning of the targeted topic in a mobile technology supported environment. The interactions between a dyad of Primary 5 students and the GPM were analyzed in order to understand the feasibility of the design of the mobile version e-learning system. The results show that the interactions between the students and the GPM have the potential to enhance the learning effectiveness of the targeted topic. The mobile version GPM demonstrated a possibility to integrate with collaborative learning strategies such as reciprocal tutoring and peer discussion. The case study also reveals that there is a potential for the flexible use of the dual-version GPM to foster deep learning.
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The Multiplatform E-Learning System

Researchers have suggested that visualization plays an important role in learning mathematics. Visualization is a “cognitive technology” using visual means, such as visual representations in terms of diagrams or graphs, to “see” abstract concepts and ideas (Arcavi, 2003; Borba & Villarreal, 2005). Visualization encompasses four elements, namely mental images, external representations, visualization processes and visualization abilities. In mathematics, visualization is a process requires the ability to interpret and understand figural information and the ability to conceptualize and translate abstract relationships and nonfigural information into visual terms.

Visualization is considered as a helpful tool for mathematical comprehension because many concepts and processes in school mathematics can be tied to visual representations. By virtue of the concreteness of visual representations, visualization becomes an essential factor for learners to create a sense of self-evidence and immediacy (Arcavi, 2003; Borba & Villarreal, 2005). The integration of visualization with e-learning, which refers to the use of computer technology to access digital resources on the Internet for learning purposes (Holmes & Gardner, 2006), plays a relevant role in this educational context because computer is a rich source of visual and computational images that makes the exploration of mathematical concepts possible. It is suggested that e-learning systems in the nature of computer-based graphical tools are able to support the dialectic reasoning of learners in the mathematics classroom by providing opportunities for exploring hypothetical queries and making mental manipulation of concepts easier (Sedig & Liang, 2006).

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