Using Virtual Math Manipulatives To Support Math Learning For Secondary Students With Significant Math Difficulties: A Professional Development Resource Guide

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Teves, Emily Laura
Virtual math manipulatives are digital educational tools that have been demonstrated to support the learning of all students, especially those with learning disabilities and/or other significant difficulties in math (Bouck et al., 2017; Bouck, Shurr, et al., 2020; Moyer-Packenham, & Westenskow, 2013). However, these tools are used far less frequently in secondary math classrooms than in elementary-level classes (Reiten, 2021; Swan & Marshal, 2010). This may be due to the lack of professional training that secondary math teachers receive on these tools (O’Meara et al., 2020). Therefore, the purpose of this project is to provide secondary math educators with an accessible professional development resource guide on the topic of virtual math manipulatives and how they can be integrated into secondary-level math courses. This guidebook contains information on virtual manipulatives and how they can benefit students with significant math difficulties, while also describing how they can be incorporated into lessons through the virtual representational abstract instructional sequence. This guide also includes two analytic frameworks that encourage educators to evaluate virtual manipulatives and related learning tasks. An annotated list of virtual math manipulatives is also provided. Finally, this guidebook also provides educators with several virtual manipulative tasks to use and/or critique within an example unit plan for Ontario’s new ninth grade math course. By support educators in incorporating virtual math manipulatives into their lessons, this guide seeks to improve math learning for all students- particularly those with significant math difficulties.
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