Using the ACAT Framework to Evaluate the Design of Two Geometry Apps: an Exploratory Study

Kevin Larkin, Ulrich Kortenkamp, Silke Ladel, Heiko Etzold
2018 Digital Experiences in Mathematics Education  
It is an increasingly common phenomenon that elementary school students are using mobile applications (apps) in their mathematics classrooms. Classroom teachers using apps might benefit from a tool, or a set of tools, to help them determine whether or not a given app is appropriate and how enhanced educational outcomes can be achieved via its use. In this article we investigate whether Artifact Centric Activity Theory (ACAT) can be used to create a useful tool for evaluating apps, present a
more » ... ew guide based on the theory and test it using a randomly selected geometry app [Pattern Shapes] based on unknown design principles that may or may not conform to design principles suggested in the research as best practice. In doing so we broaden the scope of ACAT by investigating [Pattern Shapes], an app that has additional requirements in terms of accuracy of external representations, and depictions of mathematical properties (e.g. rotations, symmetry), than is the case for place value concepts in [Place Value Chart] which was created using ACAT principles and has been the primary app evaluated using ACAT. We further expand the use of ACAT via an independent assessment of a second app [Click the Cube] by a novice, using the ACAT review guide. Based on our latest research, we argue that ACAT is highly useful for evaluating any mathematics learning app and this is a critical contribution if the evaluation of apps is to move beyond academic circles and start to impact student learning and teacher choice in mathematics classrooms.
doi:10.1007/s40751-018-0045-4 fatcat:6acxrwktajfwla4pcatzlmk4je