Harnessing Early Spatial Learning Using Technological and Traditional Tools at Home

  • Joanne LeeEmail author
  • Ariel Ho
  • Eileen Wood
Part of the Mathematics Education in the Digital Era book series (MEDE, volume 10)


Parents and early childhood educators share a unique role in scaffolding the acquisition of foundational mathematical concepts in young children. Targeting early skill development is critical as differences in children’s early mathematical competence emerge as young as four years old, and these differences persist into formal schooling (e.g., Duncan et al. in Dev Psychol, 43(6):1428–1446, 2007). Skills in geometry and spatial sense represent one of the mathematical strands recommended by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) in the United States that can be acquired by young children prior to formal schooling. This chapter introduces important differences in spatial talk and activities elicited during play by parents and early childhood educators both in the context of traditional 3-dimensional play (e.g., blocks and puzzles) environments and virtual 2-dimensional digital formats (e.g., iPads® and computers). Substantial literature reveals the important array of creative and educational experiences afforded through play and particularly manipulatives. This chapter reviews previous research and extends findings to digital contexts involving our youngest learners and discusses ways to capitalize on the affordances offered by both digital applications and traditional manipulatives to harness children’s spatial learning. We also examine the benefits and concerns about educational software programs (e.g., what makes educational software programs more or less effective) in general and in the context of mathematics education.


Early learning software Parents and math development Children’s spatial knowledge Spatial play Scaffolding children’s learning 


  1. Abdul Jabbar, A. I., & Felicia, P. (2015). Gameplay engagement and game-based learning: A systematic review. Review of Educational Research, 85(4), 740–779.
  2. Alfieri, L., Brooks, P. J., Aldrich, N. J., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2011). Does discovery-based instruction enhance learning? Journal of Educational Psychology, 103, 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Apple. (2015). iPad in education [website]. Retrieved from
  4. Archer, K., Savage, R., Sanghera-Sidhu, S., Wood, E., Gottardo, A., & Chen, V. (2014). Examining the effectiveness of technology use in classrooms: A tertiary meta-analysis. Computers & Education, 78, 140–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Aslan, D., & Aktas-Arnas, Y. (2007). Three-to six-year-old children’s recognition of geometric shapes. International Journal of Early Years Education, 15(1), 83–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berkowitz, T., Schaeffer, M. W., Maloney, E., Peterson, L., Gregor, C., Levine, S. C., et al. (2015). Math at home adds up to achievement in school. Science, 350(6257), 196–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bers, M. U. (2010). The Tangible Robotics program: Applied computational thinking for young children. Early Childhood Research and Practice, 12(2), 1–20.Google Scholar
  8. Beschorner, B., & Hutchison, A. (2013). iPads as a literacy teaching tool in early childhood. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology, 1(1), 16–24.Google Scholar
  9. Brosnan, M. J. (1998). Spatial ability in children’s play with Lego blocks. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 87, 19–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Caldera, Y. M., Culp, A. M., O’Brien, M., Truglio, R. T., Alvarez, M., & Huston, A. C. (1999). Children’s play preferences, construction play with blocks and visual-spatial skills. Are they related? International Journal of Behavioral Development, 23, 855–872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cannon, J., & Ginsburg, H. P. (2008). “Doing the math”: Maternal beliefs about early mathematics versus language learning. Early Education & Development, 19, 238–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Casasola, M., & Bhagwat, J. (2007). Does a novel word facilitate 18-month-olds’ categorization of a spatial relation? Child Development, 78, 1818–1829.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Casasola, M., Bhagwat, J., & Burke, A. S. (2009). Learning to form a spatial category of tight-fit relations: How experience with a label can give a boost. Developmental Psychology, 45, 711–723.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Casey, B. M., Andrews, N., Schindler, H., Kersh, J. E., Samper, A., & Copley, J. (2008a). The development of spatial skills through interventions involving block building activities. Cognition and Instruction, 26, 269–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Casey, B. M., & Bobb, B. (2003). The power of block building. Teaching Children Mathematics, 10, 98–102.Google Scholar
  16. Casey, B. M., Erkut, S., Ceder, I., & Mercer Young, J. (2008b). Use of a storytelling context to improve girls’ and boy’s geometry skills in kindergarten. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 29, 29–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Casey, B. M., Nuttall, R., Pezaris, E., & Benbow, C. P. (1995). The influence of spatial ability on gender differences in mathematics college entrance test scores across diverse samples. Developmental Psychology, 31(4), 697–705.
  18. Cheng, Y., & Mix, K. S. (2014). Spatial training improves children’s mathematics ability. Journal of Cognition and Development, 15(1), 2–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Chiong, C., & Shuler, C. (2010). Learning: Is there an app for that? Investigations of young children’s usage and learning with mobile devices and apps. New York, NY: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.Google Scholar
  20. Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2008). Learning by viewing versus learning by doing: Evidence-based guidelines for principled learning environments. Performance Improvement, 47(9), 5–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Clarke, B. A. (2004). A shape is not defined by its shape: Developing young children’s geometric understanding. Journal of Australian Research in Early Childhood Education, 11(2), 110–127.Google Scholar
  22. Clements, D. H. (1999). ‘Concrete’ manipulates, concrete ideas. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 1(1), 45–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Clements, D. H., & Meredith, J. S. (1993). Research on logo: Effects and efficacy. Journal of Computing in Childhood Education, 4, 263–290.Google Scholar
  24. Clements, D. H., & Sarama, J. (2007). Effects of a preschool mathematics curriculum: Summative research on the building blocks project. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 38, 136–163.Google Scholar
  25. Clements, D. H., Swaminathan, S., Hannibal, M. A., & Sarama, J. (1999). Young children’s concepts of shape. Journal of Research in Mathematics Education, 30, 192–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Common Sense Media. (2013). Zero to eight: Children’s media use in America: A common sense research study. Retrieved from
  27. Cooper, L. Z. (2005). Developmentally appropriate digital environments for young children. Library Trends, 54, 286–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Cross, C. T., Woods, T. A., & Schweingruber, H. (Eds.). (2009). Mathematics learning in early childhood. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  29. Delgado, A. R., & Prieto, G. (2004). Cognitive mediators and sex related differences in mathematics. Intelligence, 32(1), 25–32.
  30. Dessalegn, B., & Landau, B. (2008). The role of language in binding and maintaining feature conjunctions. Psychological Science, 19(2), 189–195.
  31. Duncan, G. J., Dowsett, C., Claessens, A., Magnuson. K., Huston, A., Klebanov, P., … Japel, C. (2007). School readiness and later achievement. Developmental Psychology, 43(6), 1428–1446.Google Scholar
  32. Eagle, S. (2012). Learning in the early years: Social interactions around picturebooks and digital technologies. Computers & Education, 59, 38–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Falloon, G. (2013). Young children using iPads: App design and content influences on their learning pathways. Computers & Education, 68, 505–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ferrara, K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Newcombe, N. S., Golinkoff, R. M., & Lam, W. S. (2011). Blocktalk: Spatial language during block play. Mind, Brain, and Education, 5(3), 143–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Flanagan, R. (2013). Effects of learning from interaction with physical or mediated devices. Cognitive Processes, 14, 213–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Flynn, R. M., & Richert, R. A. (2015). Parents support preschoolers’ use of a novel interactive device. Infant and Child Development.
  37. Foster, E. K., & Hund, A. M. (2012). The impact of scaffolding and overhearing on young children’s use of the spatial terms between and middle. Journal of Child Language, 39(2), 338–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Gee, J. (2008). Good videogames, the human mind, and good learning. In E. Wood, & T. Willoughby (Eds.), Children learning in a digital world (pp. 40–63). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
  39. Geist, E. (2014). Using tablet computers with toddlers and young preschoolers. Young Children, 69, 58–63.Google Scholar
  40. Gentner, D. (2003). Why we’re so smart. In D. Gentner & S. Goldin-Meadow (Eds.), Language in mind: Advances in the study of language and cognition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  41. Gentner, D., & Lowenstein, J. (2002). Relational language and relational thought. In E. Amsel & P. Brynes (Eds.), Language, literacy, and cognitive development: The development and consequences of symbolic communication (pp. 87–120). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  42. Ginsburg, H. P. (2006). Mathematical play and playful mathematics: A guide for early education. In D. G. Singer, R. M. Golinkoff, & K. Hirsh-Pasek (Eds.), Play = Learning: How play motivates and enhances children’s cognitive and social-emotional growth. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Gogel, W. C., & Tietz, J. D. (1980). Relative cues and absolute distance perception. Perception and Psychophysics, 28, 321–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Goldwin, K., & Highfield, K. (2013). A framework for examining technologies and early mathematics learning. In L. D. English & J. T. Mulligan (Eds.), Reconceptualizing early mathematics learning (pp. 205–226). New York, NY: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Grant, A., Wood, E., Gottardo, A., Evans, M., Phillips, L., & Savage, R. (2012). Assessing the content and quality of commercially available reading software programs: Do they have the fundamental structures to promote the development of early reading skills in children? NHSA: Dialogue: A Research to Practice Journal for the Early Intervention Field, 15(4), 319–342.Google Scholar
  46. Guernsey, L., & Levine, M. H. (2015). Tap, click, read: Growing readers in a world of screens. San Francisco, CA: Wiley/Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  47. Guildford, J. P. (1967). The nature of human intelligence. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  48. Gunderson, E. A., Ramirez, G., Beilock, S. L., & Levine, S. C. (2012). The relation between spatial skill and early number knowledge: The role of the linear number line. Developmental Psychology, 48(5), 1229–1241.
  49. Hermelin, B., & O’Connor, N. (1986). Spatial representations in mathematically and in artistically gifted children. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 56, 150–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Hermer-Vazquez, L., Moffet, A., & Munkholm. (2001). Language, space, and the development of cognitive flexibility in humans: The case of two spatial memory tasks. Cognition, 79, 263–299.Google Scholar
  51. Highfield, K. (2015). Stepping into STEM with young children: Simple robotics and programming as catalysts for early learning. In C. Donohue (Ed.), Technology and digital media in the early years (pp. 150–161). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  52. Hirsh-Pasek, K., Berk, L. E., Singer, D. G., & Golinkoff, R. M. (2008). A mandate for playful learning in preschool: Presenting the evidence. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Hirsh-Pasek, K., Zosh, J. M., Golinkoff, R. M., Gray, J. H., Robb, M. B., & Kaufman, J. (2015). Putting education in “Educational” apps: Lessons from science of learning. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 16(1).Google Scholar
  54. Ho, A., Lee, J., Wood, E., Kassies, S., & Heinbuck, C. (2017). Tap, swipe & build: Parental spatial input during iPad® and toy play. Infant and Child Development.
  55. Jirout, J., & Newcombe, N. (2014). Mazes and maps: Can young children find their way? Mind, Brain, and Education, 8, 89–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Jirout, J., & Newcombe, N. (2015). Building blocks for developing spatial skills: Evidence from a large, representative U.S. sample. Psychological Science, 26(3), 302–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Kabali, H. K., Irigoyen, M. M., Nunez-Davis, R., Budacki, J. G., Mohanty, S. H., Leister, K. P. … Bonner, R. L. (2015). Exposure and use of mobile media devices by young children. Pediatrics.
  58. Kamii, C., Miyakawa, Y., & Kato, Y. (2004). The development of logico-mathematical knowledge in a block-building activity at ages 1–4. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 19, 13–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Karemaker, A., Pitchford, N. J., & O’Malley, C. (2010). Enhanced recognition of written words and enjoyment of reading in struggling beginner readers through whole-word multimedia software. Computers & Education, 54(1), 199–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Katz, L. G. (2010). STEM in early years. Early childhood research and practice. Collected Papers from the SEED (STEM in Early Education and Development) Conference. Retrieved from
  61. Kell, H. J., Lubinski, D., Benbow, C. P., & Steiger, J. H. (2013). Creativity and technical innovation: Spatial ability’s unique role. Psychological Science, 24, 1831–1836.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Klatzky, R. L. (1998). Allocentric and egocentric spatial representations: Definitions, distinctions, and interconnections. In C. Freksa, C. Habel, & W. F. Heidelberg (Eds.), Spatial cognition. LNCS (LNAI), (Vol. 1404, pp. 1–17). Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.Google Scholar
  63. Kuhn, D. (2000). Metacognitive development. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 9(5), 178–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Kurcirkora, N. (2014). iPads in early education: Separating assumptions and evidence. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(715).
  65. Larkin, K. (2016). Geometry and iPads in primary schools: Does their usefulness extend beyond tracing an oblong? In P. S. Moyer-Packenham (Ed.), Mathematics Education in the Digital Era: International Perspectives on Teaching and Learning Mathematics with Virtual Manipulatives (pp. 247–274). Basel, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.Google Scholar
  66. Lauer, J. E., & Lourenco, S. F. (2016). Spatial processing in infancy predicts both spatial and mathematical aptitude in childhood. Psychological Science, 27(10), 1291–1298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Lee, J., Douglas, E., Wood, E., & Andrade, S. (2017). How educational are math apps for preschoolers? Poster presented at the 2017 Society for the Research of Child Development Biennial Meeting, Austin, TX.Google Scholar
  68. Lee, J., Kotsopoulos, D., & Zambrzycka, J. (2012). Does block play support children’s numeracy development? In L. R. Van Zoest, J. J. Lo, & J. K. Kraty (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (pp. 1028–1031). Kalamazoo, MI: Western Michigan University.Google Scholar
  69. Levine, S. C., Ratliff, K. R., Huttenlocher, J., & Cannon, J. (2012). Early puzzle play: A predictor of preschoolers’ spatial transformation skill. Developmental Psychology, 48(2), 530–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Levinson, A. J., Weaver, B., Garside, S., McGinn, H., & Norman, G. R. (2007). Virtual reality and brain anatomy: A randomized trial of e-learning instructional designs. Medical Education, 41, 495–501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Loewenstein, J., & Gentner, D. (2005). Relational language and the development of relational mapping. Cognitive Psychology, 50, 315–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Lucas, K., & Sherry, J. L. (2004). Sex differences in video game play: A communication based explanation. Communication Research, 31, 499–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Lysenko, L., Rosenfield, S., Dedic, H., Savard, A., Idan, E., Abrami, P. C., et al. (2016). Using interactive software to teach foundational mathematical skills. Journal of Information Technology Education: Innovations in Practice, 15, 19–34.Google Scholar
  74. MacDonald, S. (2001). Blockplay: The complete guide to learning and playing with blocks. Beltsville, MD: Gryphon House.Google Scholar
  75. Martin, T. (2009). A theory of physically distributed learning: How external environments and internal states interact in mathematics learning. Child Development Perspectives, 3(3), 140–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Martin, T., Lukong, A., & Reaves, R. (2007). The role of manipulatives in arithmetic and geometry tasks. Journal of Education and Human Development, 1(1) (Electronic version).Google Scholar
  77. Mayer, R. (2005). The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. McKenney, S., & Voogt, J. (2010). Technology and young children: How 4–7 year olds perceive their own use of computers. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(4), 656–664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. McQuiggan, S., Kosturko, L., McQuiggan, J., & Sabourin, J. (2015). Mobile learning: A handbook for developers, educators, and learners. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Moyer-Packenham, P. S., & Bolyard, J. J. (2016). Revisiting the definition of a virtual manipulative. In P. S. Moyer-Packenham (Ed.), Mathematics Education in the Digital Era: International Perspectives on Teaching and Learning Mathematics with Virtual Manipulatives (pp. 3–23). Basel, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.Google Scholar
  81. Moyer-Packenham, P. S., Shumwa, J. F., Bullock, E., Tucker, S. I., Anderson-Pence, K., Westernskow, A., et al. (2015). Young children’s learning performance and efficiency when using virtual manipulative mathematics iPad apps. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 34(1), 41–69.Google Scholar
  82. Moyer-Packenham, P. S., & Westenskow, A. (2013). Effects of virtual manipulatives on student achievement and mathematics learning. International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments, 4(3), 35–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Mueller, J., Wood, E., De Pasquale, D., & Archer, K. (2011). Students learning with mobile technologies in and out of the classroom. In A. Mendez-Vilas (Ed.), Education in a technological world: Communicating current and emerging research and technological efforts. Badajoz, Spain: Formatex Research Centre.Google Scholar
  84. Musawi, A. (2011). Redefining technology role in education. Creative Education, 2, 130–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College. (2012). Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8. Joint Position Statement. Washington, D.C: NAEYC.Google Scholar
  86. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2007). Second handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning. Washington, D.C: Council of Teachers of Mathematics.Google Scholar
  87. Needham, A. (2009). Learning in infants’ object perception, object-directed action, and tool use. In A. Woodward & A. Needham (Eds.), Learning and the infant mind (pp. 208–226). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  88. Neumann, M. M. (2016). Young children’s use of touch screen tablets for writing and reading at home: Relationships with emergent literacy. Computers & Education, 97, 61–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Newcombe, N. S. (2010). Picture this: Increasing math and science learning by improving spatial thinking. American Educator, Summer, 29–43.Google Scholar
  90. Newcombe, N. S., & Frick, A. (2010). Early education for spatial intelligence: Why, what, and how. Mind, Brain, & Education, 4(3), 102–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Pan, Z., Cheok, A. D., Yang, H., Zhu, J., & Shi, J. (2006). Virtual reality and mixed reality for virtual learning environments. Computers and Graphics, 30, 20–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Parish-Morris, J., Mahajan, N., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Golinkoff, R. M., & Collins, M. F. (2013). Once upon a time: Parent–child dialogue and storybook reading in the electronic era. Mind, Brain, and Education, 7(3), 200–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Park, B., Chae, J.-L., & Boyd, B. F. (2008). Young children’s block play and mathematical learning. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 23(2), 157–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Patchan, M. M., & Puranik, C. S. (2016). Using tablet computers to teach preschool children to write letters: Exploring the impact of extrinsic and intrinsic feedback. Computers & Education, 102, 128–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Petersen, L., & Levine, S. (2014, September). Early block play predicts conceptual understanding of geometry and mathematical equivalence in elementary school. SILC Showcase.
  96. Piaget, J., & Inhelder, B. (1969). The psychology of the child. New York, NY: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  97. Pitchford, N. J. (2015). Development of early mathematical skills with a tablet intervention: a randomized control trial in Malawi. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 485.
  98. Pollman, M. J. (2010). Blocks and beyond: Strengthening early math and science skills through spatial learning. Baltimore, MD: Paul Brookes Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  99. Price, S., Jewitt, C., & Crescenzi, L. (2015). The role of iPads in pre-school children’s mark making development. Computers & Education, 87, 131–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Pruden, S. M., Levine, S. C., & Huttenlocher, J. (2011). Children’s spatial thinking: Does talk about the spatial world matter? Developmental Science, 14(6), 1417–1430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Plowman, L., & Stephen, C. (2003). ‘A benign addition’? Research on ICT and pre-school children. Journal of Computer Assisted learning, 19, 149–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Plumert, J. M., & Nichols-Whitehead, P. (1996). Parental scaffolding of young children’s spatial communication. Developmental Psychology, 32(3), 523–532.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Reifel, S. (1984). Block construction: Children’s developmental landmarks in representation of space. Young Children, 40, 61–67.Google Scholar
  104. Rideout, V. J. (2014). Learning at home: Families’ educational media use in America. A report of the families and media project. New York, NY: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.Google Scholar
  105. Rosen, D., & Hoffman, J. (2009). Integrating concrete and virtual manipulatives in early childhood mathematics. Young Children, 64(3), 26–29, 31–33.Google Scholar
  106. Sarama, J., & Clements, D. H. (2016). Physical and virtual manipulatives: What is “Concrete”? In P. S. Moyer-Packenham (Ed.), Mathematics education in the digital era: International perspectives on teaching and learning mathematics with virtual manipulatives (pp. 71–93). Basel, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.Google Scholar
  107. Satlow, E., & Newcombe, N. S. (1998). When is a triangle not a triangle? Young children’s developing concepts of geometric shape. Cognitive Development, 13(4), 547–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  108. Savage, R., Abrami, P. C., Piquette, N., Wood, E., Deleveaux, G., Sanghera-Sidhu, S., et al. (2013). A (pan-Canadian) cluster randomized control effectiveness trial of the ABRACADABRA web-based literacy program. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(2), 310–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  109. Shea, D. L., Lubinski, D., & Benbow, C. (2001). Importance of assessing spatial ability in intellectually talented young adolescents: A 20-year longitudinal study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93(3), 604–614.
  110. Shelton, A., & Mcnamara, T. (2001). Systems of spatial reference in human memory. Cognitive Psychology, 43, 274–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  111. Sigel, A., & Schadler, M. (1977). The development of young children’s spatial representations of their classrooms. Child Development, 48, 388–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  112. Song, H. S., Pusic, M., Nick, M. W., Sarpel, U., Plass, J. L., & Kalet, A. L. (2014). The cognitive impact of interactive design features for learning complex materials in medical education. Computers & Education, 71, 198–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  113. Stieff, M. (2007). Mental rotation and diagrammatic reasoning in science. Learning and Instruction, 17(2), 219–234.
  114. Stiles, J., & Stern, C. (2009). Developmental change in spatial cognitive processing: Complexity effects and block construction performance in preschool children. Journal of Cognition and Development, 2, 157–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  115. Stiles-Davis, J. (1988). Developmental change in young children’s spatial grouping activity. Developmental Psychology, 24, 522–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  116. Stull, A. T., & Mayer, R. E. (2007). Learning by doing versus learning by viewing: Three experimental comparisons of learner-generated versus author-provided graphic organizers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99, 808–820.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  117. Swing, E. L., & Anderson, C. A. (2008). How and what do video games teach? In T. Willoughby & E. Wood (Eds.), Children’s learning in a digital world (pp. 64–84). Oxford, UK: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  118. Takacs, Z., Swart, E., & Bus, A. (2015). Benefits and pitfalls of multimedia and interactive features in technology-enhanced story books: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 85(4), 698–739.
  119. Thorell, L. B., Lindqvist, S., Bergman Nutley, S., Bohlin, G., & Klingberg, T. (2009). Training and transfer effects of executive functions in preschool children. Developmental Science, 12(1), 106–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  120. Travers, J. C., & More, C. M. (2013). TECH IT: Obtaining, evaluating, and using instructional technology innovations in early childhood. In H. P. Parette., & C. H. Blum (Eds.), Instructional technology in early childhood: Teaching in the digital age. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  121. Uribe-Florez, L. J., & Wilkins, J. L. M. (2010). Elementary school teachers’ manipulative use. School Science & Mathematics, 110(7), 363–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  122. Uttal, D. H. (2000). Seeing the big picture: Map use and the development of spatial cognition. Developmental Science, 3(3), 247–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  123. Uttal, D. H., Meadow, N. G., Tipton, E., Hand, L. L., Alden, A. R., Warren, C., et al. (2013). The malleability of spatial skills: A meta-analysis of training studies. Psychological Bulletin, 139, 352–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  124. Van der Kleij, F. M., Feskens, R. C., & Eggen, T. J. (2015). Effects of feedback in a computer-based learning environment on students’ learning outcomes: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 85(4), 475–511.
  125. Verdine, B. N., Golinkoff, R. M., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Newcombe, N. S. (2014a). Deconstructing building blocks: Preschoolers’ spatial assembly performance relates to early mathematical skills. Child Development, 85(3), 1062–1076.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  126. Verdine, B. N., Golinkoff, R. M., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Newcombe, N. S. (2014b). Finding the missing piece: Blocks, puzzles, and shapes fuel school readiness. Trends in Neuroscience and Education, 3, 7–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  127. Verdine, B. N., Irwin, C., Golinkoff, R. M., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2014c). Contributions of executive function and spatial skills to preschool mathematics achievement. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 126, 37–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  128. Vygotaksy, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher mental processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  129. Vogel, J. J., Vogel, D. S., Cannon-Bowers, J., Bowers, C. A., Muse, K., & Wright, M. (2006). Computer gaming and interactive simulations for learning: A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 34(3), 229–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  130. Wai, J., Lubinski, D., & Benbow, C. P. (2009). Spatial ability for STEM domains: Aligning over 50 years of cumulative psychological knowledge solidifies its importance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(4), 817–835.
  131. Willoughby, T., & Wood, E. (Eds.). (2008). Children learning in a digital world: Opportunities and challenges. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  132. Willoughby, T., Wood, E., Desjarlais, M., Williams, L., Leacy, K., & Sedore, L. (2009). Social interaction during computer-based activities: Comparisons by number of sessions, gender, school-level, gender composition of the group, and computer-child ratio. Sex Roles, 61(11–12), 864–878.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  133. Wolfgang, C. H., Stannard, L. L., & Jones, I. (2001). Block play performance among preschoolers as a predictor of later school achievement in mathematics. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 15, 173–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  134. Wood, E., Hui, B., & Willoughby, T. (2008). Introduction to formal learning with technologies: Exploring the role of digital technologies. In T. Willoughby & E. Wood (Eds.), Children Learning in a Digital World. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  135. Wood, E., Grant, A., Gottardo, A., Savage, R., & Evans, M. A. (2017). Software to promote young children’s growth in literacy: A comparison of online and offline formats. Early Childhood Education Journal, 45(2), 207–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  136. Wood, E., Petkovski, M., De Pasquale, D., Gottardo, A., Evans M. A., & Savage, R. (2016). Parent scaffolding of young children when engaged with mobile technology. Frontiers in Psychology, 7.
  137. Yang, J. C., & Chen, S. Y. (2010). Effects of gender differences and spatial abilities within a digital pentominoes game. Computers & Education, 55, 1220–1233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  138. Yelland, N. J. (1994). The strategies and interactions of young children in LOGO tasks. Journal of Computer Assisted learning, 10, 33–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  139. Yelland, N. J. (2002). Playing with ideas and games in early mathematics. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 3, 197–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  140. Yin, S. H. (2003). Young children’s concept of shape: Van Hiele visualization level of geometric thinking. The Mathematics Educator, 7(2), 71–85.Google Scholar
  141. Zbeik, R. M., Heid, M. K., Blume, G. W., & Dick, T. P. (2007). Research on technology in mathematics education: A perspective of constructs. In F. K. Lester (Ed.), Second handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning (Vol. 2, pp. 1169–1207). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing Incorporated.Google Scholar
  142. Zosh, J. M., Verdine, B. N., Filipowicz, A., Golinkoff, R. M., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Newcombe, N. S. (2015). Talking shape: Parental language with electronic versus traditional shape sorters. Mind, Brain, and Education, 9(3), 136–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterloo, OntarioCanada

Personalised recommendations