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Designing the “Spatial Math Tutor”: a non-symbolic, on-line environment for teaching mathematical skills to dyslexic children

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1 Author(s)
Martens, W.L. ; Human Interface Lab., Aizu Univ., Fukushima, Japan

New cognitive tools are needed to aid the human learner in overcoming barriers associated with diagnostically-identified cognitive deficits. This paper proposes the design of cognitive tools to enable more successful performance on specific mathematical tasks. The paper also considers the possible benefits of externalizing or spatializing the mental constructs underlying a cognitive task involving the concept of fractional numbers, exemplified by Noelting's (1975) juice problems. As such tools are developed and tested, they are being incorporated into an online tutoring environment targeting children with reading disabilities: the “Spatial Math Tutor” (SMT). This environment uses currently available online technology to create a computer-generated environment enabling remote access to a tutoring method that has proven successful in many cases involving face-to-face interaction. The application is straightforward: elementary school students who have been diagnosed as dyslexic have particular difficulty acquiring mathematical skills when confronted with commonly-employed symbolic notation. These students benefit from graphical presentations and from spatial manipulation of tangible objects known as “manipulatives”. The SMT makes appropriate use of WWW-based interactive 3D graphics technology for hands-on, interaction tutoring, allowing students to benefit from this type of instruction via a personal computer

Published in:

Cognitive Technology, 1997. Humanizing the Information Age. Proceedings., Second International Conference on

Date of Conference:

25-28 Aug 1997