E. Kurvinen, R. Lindén, E. Lokkila, M.J. Laakso

University of Turku (FINLAND)
Mathematics is one of the basics skills taught in primary school. It has the second most hours per week in Finnish curriculum. The class sizes are growing and the teachers’ resources are being split among larger amount of students than earlier. Also, the growing number of students with learning difficulties being integrated into regular classrooms demand a lot of teachers’ time. To help teachers to share their attention and resources better, we have developed an educational tool called ViLLE. ViLLE has various different exercise types designed for primary school mathematics supporting automatic assessment and immediate feedback. There are also various game-like exercise types especially suitable for primary school mathematics. ViLLE also automatically collects learning data from students’ answers and allows teachers to utilize this data in student assessment.

In this paper, we present the results of a research where learning performance is compared between normal pen-and-paper teaching methods and computer-assisted learning (CAL) using ViLLE. Two Finnish primary schools were selected for this research. Two first grade classes from each school took part in the research. Each school had one control group and one treatment group, where one mathematics lesson per week was converted into a computer-assisted ViLLE lesson. Both groups had the same amount of lessons per week. There were total of 37 students in treatment group (N=37) and total of 42 students in control group (N=42). Learning results were evaluated with pre- and post-test. There were 19 weeks of treatment between the pre- and post-test.

In addition to comparing treatment and control groups, both groups in each school were also compared individually using two-sample T-test. In the pre-test, school A’s classes did not have statistically significant (p=0.135, p>0.05) difference, although control group’s average score was higher. In the post-test the treatment group managed to pass the control group and the difference was statistically significant (p=0.012, p<0.05) in favor to the treatment group. In school B, there were practically no differences between the groups (p=0.981). However, in the post-test the treatment group managed to increase the difference between the groups, although the difference was not significant (p=0.562). When combining both control and treatment groups the difference at pre-test is leveled (p=0.373). Again, the learning performance in the post-test improved clearly in favor of the treatment group (p=0.039). Thus we can conclude that using ViLLE in first grade mathematics is highly beneficial.