The Brain’s Response to Digital Math Apps: A Pilot Study Examining Children’s Cortical Responses During Touch-Screen Interactions
Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science
Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education
Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is an easy to use neuroimaging technique that is portable and maintains a liberal tolerance to movement. As such, fNIRS represents an ideal tool to observe children’s neural activity as they engage in real-world classroom activities, such as the interaction with digital math apps on an iPad. Here, we provide the results of an initial hypothesis-generating pilot study designed to assess patterns of cortical activity that occur when children interact with digital math apps, that contained virtual manipulatives, on a touch-screen device. Our results highlight cortical activity within the bilateral intraparietal sulci and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices as children interacted with three different digital math apps, but not during rest. Our results provide valuable proof-of-concept that fNIRS may be used to assess math-related cortical activity during children’s naturalistic use of digital math apps on a touch-screen device.
1. Baker, J. M., Moyer-Packenham, P. S., Tucker, S. I., Shumway, J. F., Jordan, K. E., & Gillam, R. (2018). The brain’s response to digital math apps: A pilot study examining children’s cortical responses during touch-screen interactions. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 37(1), 73-90.