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Making the body tangible: Elementary geometry learning through VR

Price, S; Yiannoutsou, N; Vezzoli, Y; (2020) Making the body tangible: Elementary geometry learning through VR. Digital Experiences in Mathematics Education , 6 pp. 213-232. 10.1007/s40751-020-00071-7. Green open access

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Abstract

Given increasing evidence of the importance of sensorimotor experience and meaningful movement in geometry learning and spatial thinking, the potential of digital designs to foster specific movements in mathematical learning is promising. This article reports a study with elementary children engaging with a learning environment designed to support meaningful mathematical movement through the use of two shared, but alternative, representations around Cartesian co-ordinates: a 3D immersive virtual environment, where one child collects flowers from target co-ordinates selected by another child using a 2D visual representation of the virtual garden and person location in space. In this design, the body becomes a ‘tangible’ resource for thinking, learning and joint activity, through bodily experience, and where body movement, position and orientation are made visible to collaborators. A qualitative, multimodal analysis examining collaborative interaction among twenty-one children 8–9 years old shows ways in which the ‘body’ became an instrument for children’s thinking through, and reasoning about, finding positions in space and movement in relation to Cartesian co-ordinates. In particular, it shows how the use of different representations (tangible and visual 2D screen-based) situated the meaning-making process in a space where children, using their bodies, crafted connections between the different representations and used transcending objects to facilitate an integration of the different perspectives.

Type: Article
Title: Making the body tangible: Elementary geometry learning through VR
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s40751-020-00071-7
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40751-020-00071-7
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10094691
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