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Effect of a Virtual Environment on the Development of Mathematical Skills in Children with Dyscalculia

Marcus Vasconcelos de Castro, Márcia Aparecida Silva Bissaco, Bruno Marques Panccioni, Silvia Cristina Martini Rodrigues, Andreia Miranda Domingues


In this study, we show the effectiveness of a virtual environment comprising 18 computer games that cover mathematics topics in a playful setting and that can be executed on the Internet with the possibility of player interaction through chat. An arithmetic pre-test contained in the Scholastic Performance Test was administered to 300 children between 7 and 10 years old, including 162 males and 138 females, in the second grade of primary school. Twenty-six children whose scores showed a low level of mathematical knowledge were chosen and randomly divided into the control (CG) and experimental (EG) groups. The EG participated to the virtual environment and the CG participated in reinforcement using traditional teaching methods. Both groups took a post-test in which the Scholastic Performance Test (SPT) was given again. A statistical analysis of the results using the Student's t-test showed a significant learning improvement for the EG and no improvement for the CG (p≤0.05). The virtual environment allows the students to integrate thought, feeling and action, thus motivating the children to learn and contributing to their intellectual development.
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