ALICE: Supporting Learning of Fractions with digital media

Many students struggle with learning fractions. This is problematic since a basic understanding of fractions is relevant for further learning mathematics, but also for many apprenticeships (e.g. Torbeyns, Schneider, Xin, & Siegler, 2015). Accordingly, it is necessary to develop support approaches for underperforming students. The basic idea of ​​the funding and research project presented here is to offer and continue to test a digital learning environment that is intended to make it easier for students in the 6th grade to learn the concept of fractions. The funding and research project consists of two parts.

The aim of the first part of the project is to introduce secondary school students to the basics of fractional calculation using a digital learning environment. For this we use the digital learning environment ALICE. Mathematics students for teaching posts at grammar schools supervise the pupils in learning the concept of fractions. These students should not only try out a teaching method, but also gain social experience. This project also serves to introduce prospective teachers to the practice of computer-aided education. Not only can they test and refine their teaching methods, but they can also gain valuable didactic, pedagogical and social experience in the support and support of underperforming students.

However, learning effects with digital media depend not only on the quality of the digital medium, but also on the type of use in the classroom. However, the specific way in which digital media are used has hardly been examined from a mathematics didactic perspective. The aim of the second part of the funding and research project is to characterize the actions of the teachers when using the digital learning environment ALICE in mathematics lessons and to relate the specific teaching activities of the teachers to aspects of their professional knowledge. The study aims to contribute to a better understanding of the use of digital media and to answer the question of how teachers can use digital media effectively in mathematics lessons.

The ALICE learning environment was developed as part of the project ALICE: Bruchrechnen, a cooperation between the Chair of Geometry and Visualization at the Faculty of Mathematics and the Heinz-Nixdorf Chair for Mathematics Education. It is designed to help learners understand the basics of fractions. Empirical studies show that particularly slow learners benefit from learning with ALICE (Reinhold et al., 2020).



Reinhold, F., Hoch, S., Werner, B., Richter-Gebert, J., & Reiss, K. (2020). Learning Fractions with and without Educational Technology: What Matters for High-Achieving and Low-Achieving Students? Learning and Instruction, 65.

Torbeyns, J., Schneider, M., Xin, Z., & Siegler, R. S. (2015). Bridging the gap: fraction understanding is central to mathematics achievement in students from three different continents. Learning and Instruction, 37, 5–13.