Title

The Brain’s Response to Digital Math Apps: A Pilot Study Examining Children’s Cortical Responses During Touch-Screen Interactions

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science

Issue

1

Publisher

Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education

Publication Date

2-27-2018

First Page

73

Last Page

90

Abstract

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.

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