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ERIC Number: EJ874399
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 20
ISSN: ISSN-1053-4512
Virtual Manipulatives: What They Are and How Teachers Can Use Them
Bouck, Emily C.; Flanagan, Sara M.
Intervention in School and Clinic, v45 n3 p186-191 2010
Research on the positive impact of using concrete manipulatives in mathematics for students with high-incidence disabilities is clear. Maccini and Gagnon (2000) considered manipulatives to be a best practice in terms of educating students with high-incidence disabilities in mathematics. It would follow, then, that research on virtual manipulatives may also produce positive results for students with high-incidence disabilities. Virtual manipulatives are defined as computer-based simulations of physical manipulatives that are accessed via the Internet or computer software. Although virtual manipulatives present some challenges, special educators need to consider manipulatives as a means of helping their students learn mathematics and should be open to the use of virtual manipulatives. Teachers can begin by taking lessons on specific concepts, such as area and perimeter, and using virtual manipulatives in place of concrete manipulatives. Teachers can also seek out the knowledge and advice of highly qualified general education mathematics teachers who can work with teachers to connect mathematical ideas and assess the strengths and limitations of a particular manipulative. As teachers become more confident with virtual manipulatives, they can construct new lessons that expand student experiences through use of the multiple opportunities that the sites afford, as well as the multiple types of manipulatives. Students' interest in computers and the accompanying motivation can be captured with virtual manipulatives, and teachers can take advantage of their students' increasing ability to use this technology. To better understand these new educational tools, teachers should try virtual manipulatives in their classrooms, researchers should study the use of virtual manipulatives in educating students with disabilities, and teacher educators should prepare preservice and in-service teachers to implement this technology with their students. (Contains 1 table and 4 figures.)
SAGE Publications and Hammill Institute on Disabilities. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: Teachers; Researchers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A