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EDUCATIONAL SOFTWARE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF EARLY MATHS SKILLS

The computer applications presented in this paper are aimed at learning maths concepts. Stressing the importance of significant maths learning for all students, Bryant and Nunes (2002) have suggested that the basis of the development of maths skill in children is logical thinking, the learning of conventional number systems and the contextualisation of maths. The software, “Playing with Numbers 1 & 2”, includes activities aimed at learning the concepts related to number acquisition and counting ability, the development of concepts of comparison, discrimination, seriation and problem-solving.
The software is aimed at children in the first cycle of Primary education, although the flexibility of difficulty levels built into the application means that it can be used with younger children or those with special educational needs.
One of the most significant characteristics of this software is its internal ease of movement. Thanks to a simple navigation system, the child can access different exercises and levels of difficulty or save the results obtained. The child can move intuitively from one program to another very easily.
The order of presentation of the activities is random. The software starts with a menu which allows the child to access the different programs and levels.
The activities are designed in within the theoretical framework of Gelman and Gallistel (1978) and Piaget. These theorists focus on the acquisition of number naming skills, counting stability, the establishment of the cardinal value of numbers, the irrelevance of object counting order to their cardinal value, the comparison, classification and seriation of objects and combination and distribution as problem-solving strategies. Lastly, the software presents “The Recta Numérica” which consolidates counting skills.