A Collaborative Journey: Virtual Manipulatives for Mathematics [A]

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Frank Marfai • Phoenix College | William Meacham • Scottsdale Community College

Mathematics Virtual Manipulatives, an interactive OER resource to support student learning in developmental mathematics, resulted from a collaborative effort between faculty at two of the Maricopa Community Colleges. This resource transforms the way we can teach mathematics, allowing students to move virtual objects through a touchscreen or iPad, and introducing efficiencies and opportunities not available with physical manipulatives (student responses to these manipulatives can be assessed through WAMAP). The virtual manipulatives give concrete representations to concepts students originally found abstract (which forced them to memorize rules without understanding why they work). Students experience firsthand why the sum of two negative numbers is negative but their product is positive, and why `1/4 + 1/3 = 7/12 ` (not `2/7`). Seeing students overcoming their fear of math through these successful experiences is motivating and inspiring.

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