“Toys to Teach – Mathematics as a Collaborative Climbing Exercise” by Dai, Wu, Cohen, Wu and Klawe

  • ©James Dai, Michael Wu, Jonathan Cohen, Troy Wu, and Maria Klawe




    Toys to Teach – Mathematics as a Collaborative Climbing Exercise



    Whereas traditional research on collaborative educational systems has primarily focused on how to define better modes of digital interaction, this approach is found lacking when applied to developing collaborative systems for elementary school aged children. It is creatively and collaboratively restrictive to filter the enthusiastic interactions of these excited 12-year-old children through progressively more complicated GUIs. Current E-GEMS research examines design factors of educational systems that recognize and facilitate the social context of the classroom and hopes to encourage, rather than restrict, peer-to-peer social discussion and interaction. By correlating observed interactions in the digital domain with those in the social domain, we hope to shed light on design factors of collaborative systems that can be an integral and exciting part of a child’s mathematical education. The vessel of our current research is the two-player collaborative mathematical exercise PrimeClimb, developed at E-GEMS. This paper describes the study conducted with PrimeClimb and documents the methodology of data capture and analysis used in the study – methods borrowed from ethnography, education research and sociology.

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