Preschool Children Learning Mathematical Thinking on Interactive Tables

  • Dorota LembrérEmail author
  • Tamsin Meaney


In many countries around the world, young children use different kinds of information and communication technologies (ICT) on a daily basis. In this chapter, the use of games or apps on these technologies is explored in relationship to children’s learning of mathematical thinking. The work of Biesta on education and socialisation is combined with that of Radford on subjectification and objectification to theorise young children’s learning of mathematical thinking. Two Swedish preschool children’s interactions with a balance game on an interactive table are analysed to consider the value of this theory and what it says about the affordances of the game.


Preschool Child Mathematical Thinking Balance Game Precise Explanation Interactive Table 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Bernstein, B. B. (1971). On the classification and framing of educational knowledge. In M. F. D. Young (Ed.), Knowledge and control (pp. 47–69). London: Collier-Macmillan.Google Scholar
  2. Biesta, G. (2007). The education-socialisation conundrum or ‘Who is afraid of education?’. Utbildning & Demokrati, 16(3), 25–36.Google Scholar
  3. Bishop, A. J. (1988). Mathematics education in its cultural context. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 19, 179–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bower, M. (2008). Affordance analysis—Matching learning tasks with learning technologies. Educational Media International, 45(1), 3–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Clements, D. (2002). Computers in early childhood mathematics. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 3(2), 160–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Clements, D. H., Sarama, J. (2007). Early childhood mathematics learning. In F. K. Lester (Ed.), Second handbook of research in mathematics teaching and learning (pp. 461–555). Charlotte, NC: Information Age.Google Scholar
  7. Commission of the European Communities. (2000). eEurope 2002: An information society for all. Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
  8. Davidsen, J., & Georgsen, M. (2010). ICT as a tool for collaboration in the classroom—Challenges and lessons learned. Designs for learning, 3(1-2), 54–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dijk, E. F., van Oers, B., & Terwel, J. (2004). Schematising in early childhood mathematics education: Why, when and how? European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 12(1), 71–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dockett, S., & Perry, B. (2010). Playing with mathematics: Play in early childhood as a context for mathematical learning. In L. Sparrow, B. Kissane, & C. Hurst (Eds.), Shaping the future of mathematics education. Proceedings of the 33th annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australia (pp. 715–718). Freemantle, Australia: MERGA.Google Scholar
  11. Ebrahim, H. (2011). Children as agents in early childhood education. Education as Change, 15(1), 121–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Edo, M., Planas, N., & Badillo, E. (2009). Mathematical learning in a context of play. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 17(3), 325–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gifford, S. (2004). A new mathematics pedagogy for the early years: In search of principles for practice. International Journal of Early Years Education, 12(2), 99–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ginsburg, H. P. (2006). Mathematical play and playful mathematics: A guide for early education. In D. Singer, R. M. Golinkoff, & K. Hirsh-Pasek (Eds.), Play = Learning: How play motivates and enhances children’s cognitive and social-emotional growth (pp. 145–165). New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Greenes, C., Ginsburg, H. P., & Balfanz, R. (2004). Big math for little people. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 19, 159–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Harris, A., Rick, J., Bonnett, V., Yuill, N., Fleck, R., Marshall, P., et al. (2009, June). Around the table: Are multiple-touch surfaces better than single-touch for children’s collaborative interactions? In Proceedings of the 9th international conference on computer supported collaborative learning—volume 1 (pp. 335–344). International Society of the Learning Sciences.Google Scholar
  17. Henningsen, M., & Stein, M. K. (1997). Mathematical tasks and student cognition: Classroom-based factors that support and inhibit high-level mathematical thinking and reasoning. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 28(5), 524–549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Highfield, K., & Mulligan, J. (2007). The role of dynamic interactive technological tools in preschoolers’ mathematical patterning. In J. M. Watson & K. Beswick (Eds.), Mathematics: Essential research, essential practice: Mathematics: Essential research, essential practice. Proceedings of 30th Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia, Hobart (pp. 372–381). Adelaide: MERGA. Retrieved from
  19. Hunting, R., & Mousley, J. (2009). How early childhood practitioners view young children’s mathematical thinking. In M. Tzekaki, M. Kaldrimidou, & C. Sakonidis (Eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Vol. 3, pp. 201–208). Thessaloniki: PME.Google Scholar
  20. Johansson, M. L., Lange, T., Meaney, T., Riesbeck, E., & Wernberg, A. (2014). Young children’s multimodal mathematical explanations. ZDM, 46(6), 895–909.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ladel, S., & Kortenkamp, U. (2012). Early maths with multi-touch—An activity theoretic approach. In M. Pytlak, T. Rowland, & E. Swoboda (Eds.), Proceedings of the seventh congress of the European society for research in mathematics education (pp. 1792–1801). Rzeszów: University of Rzeszów.Google Scholar
  22. Ladel, S., & Kortenkamp, U. (2013). An activity-theoretic approach to multi-touch tools in early mathematics learning. International Journal of Technology in Mathematics Education, 20(1), 1–6.Google Scholar
  23. Lamberty, K. K. (2007). Getting and keeping children engaged with constructionist design tool for craft and mathematics. PhD dissertation, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA. Available from
  24. Lange, T., & Meaney, T. (2013). iPads and mathematical play: A new kind of sandpit for young children. In B. Ubuz, Ç. Haser, & M. A. Mariotti (Eds.), Proceedings of the eighth congress of European research in mathematics education (CERME 8) (pp. 2138–2147). Ankara: Middle East Technical University.Google Scholar
  25. Lee, N. (2001). Childhood and society: Growing up in an age of uncertainty. Maidenhead: Open University.Google Scholar
  26. Lee, J. S., & Ginsburg, H. P. (2009). Early childhood teachers’ misconceptions about mathematics education for young children in the United States. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 34(4), 37–45. Available from
  27. Lembrér, D., Johansson, M. L., Meaney, T., Wernberg, A., & Lange, T. (2014, August 18–20). Assessing the design of collaborative mathematical activities for preschool children using interactive tables. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the EARLI Special Interest Group 20 Computer-Supported Inquiry Learning, Malmö University, Malmö.Google Scholar
  28. Palmér, H., & Ebbelind, A. (2013). What is possible to learn? Using iPads in teaching maths in preschool. In A. M. Lindmeier & A. Heinze (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME37) (pp. 425–432). Keil: PME.Google Scholar
  29. Pareto, L., Haake, M., Lindström, P., Sjöjén, B., & Gulz, A. (2012). A teachable-agent-based game affording collaboration and competition: Evaluating math comprehension and motivation. Educational Technology Research and Development, 60, 723–751.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Perry, B., & Dockett, S. (1998). Play, argumentation and social constructivism. Early Child Development and Care, 140(1), 5–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Perry, B., & Dockett, S. (2007). Play and mathematics. Adelaide: Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers. Retrieved November 3, 2012, from
  32. Pimm, D. (1995). Symbols and meanings in school mathematics. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Radford, L. (2008). The ethics of being and knowing: Towards a cultural theory of learning. In L. Radford, G. Schubring, & F. Seeger (Eds.), Semiotics in mathematics education: Epistemology, history, classroom and culture (pp. 215–234). Rotterdam: Sense.Google Scholar
  34. Riesbeck, E. (2013). The use of ICT to support children’s reflective language. In B. Ubuz, Ç. Haser, & M. A. Mariotti (Eds.), Proceedings of the eighth congress of European research in mathematics education (CERME 8) (pp. 1566–1575). Ankara: Middle East Technical University. Available from Scholar
  35. Sarama, J., & Clements, D. H. (2009). “Concrete” computer manipulatives in mathematics education. Child Development Perspectives, 3(3), 145–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Skolverket. (2011). Curriculum for the preschool lpfö 98: Revised 2010. Stockholm: Fritzes.Google Scholar
  37. Starkey, P., Klein, A., & Wakely, A. (2004). Enhancing young children’s mathematical knowledge through a pre-kindergarten mathematics intervention. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 19(1), 99–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tudge, J. R. H., & Doucet, F. (2004). Early mathematical experiences: Observing young Black and White children’s everyday activities. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 19(1), 21–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Utbildningsdepartementet. (2010). Förskola i utveckling: Bakgrund till ändringar i förskolans läroplan [Preschools in development: Background to revisions of preschool curriculum]. Stockholm: Åtta 45.Google Scholar
  40. van Oers, B. (2010). Emergent mathematical thinking in the context of play. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 74(1), 23–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Malmö UniversityMalmöSweden
  2. 2.Bergen University CollegeBergenNorway

Personalised recommendations