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National Library of Virtual Manipulatives
Project Information

This is a three-year NSF supported project to develop a library of uniquely
interactive, web-based virtual manipulatives or concept tutorials, mostly in
the form of Java applets, for mathematics instruction (K-8 emphasis). The
project includes dissemination and extensive internal and external evaluation.
National Science Foundation
Award Number 9819107

Learning and understanding mathematics, at every level, requires student
engagement. Mathematics is not, as has been said, a spectator sport. Too much of
current instruction fails to actively involve students. One way to address the
problem is through the use of manipulatives, physical objects that help
students visualize relationships and applications. We can now use computers to
create virtual learning environments to address the same goals.
Prior to this time, there has been very little done to create good
computer-based mathematical manipulatives or learning tools at elementary and middle
school levels with any degree of interactivity. Our Utah State University team is
building Java-based mathematical tools and editors that allow us to create
exciting new approaches to interactive mathematical instruction. The use of Java
as a programming language provides platform independence and web-based
Ultimately we will make all materials available at several sources on the
Internet, creating a national library from which teachers may freely draw to
enrich their mathematics classrooms. The materials will also be of importance for
the mathematical training of both in-service and pre-service elementary

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