Fingers, blocks, pebbles and a myriad of other physical manipulatives are all tools helping students problem solve. But does that usefulness carry over when physical manipulatives give way to digital ones? The answer is a resounding yes!
In her dissertation paper “Do Gestural Interfaces Promote Thinking?” published in 2011, Ayelet Segal, confirms that interactions with touch screens are effective in helping students learn. The dissertation discusses three main types of interactions that go hand in hand with digital manipulatives: tapping, sliding, and rotating.
Several companies are coming out with 2-in-1 Chromebooks for schools that have touchscreen and will be able to support Android apps. This should help math teachers in Google districts that might not be able to get iPads but could get Chromebooks,