Description of Virtual Manipulative
A virtual manipulative refers to an interactive representation of a dynamic object using websites. It helps by presenting opportunities to construct mathematical knowledge. A virtual manipulative has close characteristics and a visual/pictorial replica of the physical manipulative (Gecu-Parmaksiz & Delialioglu, 2019). In this research paper, numbers and operations will be analyzed, particularly the Geoboard-Isometric manipulative. Geoboard – Isometric is used by students to explore very difficult questions of area, shape, optimization, and counting. Isometrics are essential for students in grade 2.
The Florida Mathematics Standards present the following standards for geometry:
- Distinguish simple planar geometric shapes and be able to depict them.
- Divide a rectangle into squares of equal size and thus count the area of the figure
- Divide other simple flat shapes into equal fractions and know the concepts of half and third.
There is another set of standards governing mathematics tuition, which was provided by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). According to NCTM Standards, the geometry measuring standards call for students to analyze traits of geometric shapes and relationships and use spatial reasoning, visualization, and geometric modeling in solving problems (Naja, 2018). These standards are essential in guiding students to easily handle any geometrical problems. Teachers also apply Florida Mathematics and NCTM standards to teach and explain mathematical concepts to the students, enabling them to easily tackle the problems.
Summary of Potentialities with Respect to Student Learning
Important mathematics that students can learn while using virtual manipulatives is as follows: geometrical concepts can sometimes be challenging to tackle. Therefore, teachers usually apply tangible materials, known as manipulatives, to explain various mathematical concepts and enhance students’ knowledge (Naja, 2018). Applying the use of manipulatives in mathematics is essential in addressing mathematics standards, specifically those standards related to reasoning and making sense of a problem.
The virtual manipulative tool can be integrated with other classroom instructions in various ways. Creating a technology-rich mathematical environment enables teachers to address worthwhile mathematics while incorporating various mathematics topics to enhance students’ understanding (Naja, 2018). Linked representations lead to a connection and visualization between numeric and visual representations. Learners have an opportunity to learn mathematical concepts in nontraditional ways, making learning easier and more interesting. Virtual manipulatives can provide a variety of experiments and experiences that physical manipulatives cannot. When physical resources are limited in the classroom, VM can be used for learning purposes (Serianni, 2020). The increase in mobile devices in the classroom setup has led to an increase in the applications of virtual manipulatives in various learning activities because of their flexibility and convenience. Therefore, students prefer virtual manipulatives because they can access websites from anywhere.
These tools can be utilized to evaluate progress and monitor student learning. Teachers use virtual manipulatives to demonstrate a model and let students follow the same concepts to make a physical model (Naja, 2018). Students can also use the interactive whiteboard to explain and practice what they have physically made through a clear visual representation, and this portrays their levels of understanding. Virtual manipulatives help English Language Learners (ELLs) in a series of ways. For example, students are able to get instant feedback online, and this enables them to practice what they have learned without the help of their teachers (Serianni, 2020). Therefore, those students with difficulty explaining what they have learned in math or language can use virtual manipulatives to clarify what they think and know to others.
Virtual Manipulative Evaluation
The benefits of virtual manipulatives include the ability for students to conduct research and receive immediate feedback, as well as easily maneuver and conduct personal research. Students have the freedom to access the tool anytime through the websites of their phones, laptops, and tablets (Serianni, 2020). Students are able to get hints if their answers are wrong or correct and also make a comparison between the virtual and physical representation.
The following are some of the disadvantages of virtual manipulatives: First, students have no physical contact with the concepts being taught compared to physical manipulatives (Gecu-Parmaksiz & Delialioglu, 2019). It may also reduce the ability of teachers to assess the progress and understanding of the students. This is because every math problem can be easily solved online, and students get instant answers through websites and the Internet.
Using virtual manipulatives in classrooms comes with various challenges. First, it is costly to install Internet gadgets like computers, and some students lack knowledge of how to use the Internet, preventing them from learning virtually (Gecu-Parmaksiz & Delialioglu, 2019). The Internet is very destructive in terms of numerous advertisements and unsafe sites for students. To address these problems, there should be enough financial resources, safe sites for students, and teaching resources on how to use Internet websites.
The functionality of virtual manipulation is excellent since everyone is adopting online learning. There is no need to adjust the level of difficulty depending on the grade of the student. A grade 1 student, for example, cannot be taught in the same way as a grade 6 student. Virtual manipulators provide instant feedback, which accelerates the learning process. The instructions are very clear, and students can follow a concept step-by-step.
Gecu‐Parmaksiz, Z., & Delialioglu, O. (2019). Augmented reality‐based virtual manipulatives versus physical manipulatives for teaching geometric shapes to preschool children. British Journal of Educational Technology, 50(6), 3376-3390.
Naja, A. R. (2018). Analysis of students’ creative thinking level in problem-solving based on the national council of teachers of mathematics. Journal of Physics, 1008(1), 1-8.
Serianni, A. (2020). An investigation of the relationship between middle school student performance on the Florida standards assessment English language arts and mathematics and the algebra: End-of-course assessment. University of Central Florida, Orlando. Web.