Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Committee Chair(s)

Patricia Moyer-Packenham


Patricia Moyer-Packenham


James T. Dorward


Brian R. Belland


Beth L. MacDonald


Cathy Maahs-Fladung


This exploratory qualitative study investigated the presence of and relationships among constructs that contribute to children's interactions with educational technology, leading to the development of the modification of attributes, affordances, abilities, and distance (MAAAD) for Learning framework. For this study, each of 10 fifth-grade children participated in one individual video-recorded semistructured interview session, during which they interacted with two mathematics virtual manipulative iPad apps and responded to follow-up questions. Video recordings and observation field notes were analyzed for evidence of attributes, affordance-ability relationships, distance, and relationships among these constructs.

Constant comparative data analysis using memoing and eclectic coding provided evidence of the presence of each focus construct. Further analysis and interpretation, including quantization of qualitative data for visualization using novel rhombus plots, also led to the identification of emergent themes related to each construct and revealed relationships among the constructs. Emergent themes included categorization, alignment, and modification of attributes, variations and interrelationships among affordance-ability relationships, and the identification of and interactions among mathematical and technological distance. Furthermore, each construct related to each other construct. The evidence and interpretations led to the development of the MAAAD for Learning framework.

The results of the study suggest that the MAAAD for Learning framework models relationships among attributes, affordance-ability relationships, and distance in the context of user-app interactions. the framework could serve as a tool for app developers designing apps, educators using apps to support children's learning, and researchers characterizing user-app interactions and the outcomes of those interactions. The constructs, relationships, and framework identified in this study advance the literature on children's interactions with educational technology tools, in particular literature concerning children's interactions with mathematics virtual manipulative iPad apps.



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