In a classroom study with 132 sixth-grade students in a US middle school, conducted prior to receiving the REESE grant, we investigated the effect of multiple graphical representations (v. a single graphical representation) crossed with support for self-explanation (v. no support) in an intelligent tutoring system for fraction conversion and fraction addition. Students learned more with multiple graphical representations of fractions than with a single representation, but only when prompted to self-explain how the graphics relate to the symbolic fractions representations.
Prior to receiving the current REESE grant, the project produced the following publications:
Rau, M. A. (2008). Flexible knowledge of fractions with multiple graphical representations in intelligent tutoring systems. Unpublished Diploma Thesis. Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.
Rau, M., Aleven, V., & Rummel, N. (2009). Intelligent tutoring systems with multiple representations and self-explanation prompts support learning of fractions. In V. Dimitrova, R. Mizoguchi, B. du Boulay, & A. Graesser (Eds.), Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education, AIED 2009 (pp. 441-448). Amsterdam: IOS Press.
This paper won the Best Student Paper Award AIED 2009 Conference.
We will build intelligent web-based software tutors for fractions learning that support the use of MERs, to a much greater degree than current curricula, in ways guided by the results of the experimental studies. The software tutors will be made available on the web to teachers and students who would like to use them.