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Fingu—A Game to Support Children’s Development of Arithmetic Competence: Theory, Design and Empirical Research

Chapter in book
Authors Ingemar Holgersson
Wolmet Barendregt
Jonas Emanuelsson
Torgny Ottosson
Elisabeth Rietz Leppänen
Berner Lindström
Published in International Perspectives on Teaching and Learning Mathematics with Virtual Manipulatives
Pages 123-145
ISBN 978-3-319-32718-1
Publisher Springer
Publication year 2016
Published at The Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction, and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society (LinCS)
Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies
Pages 123-145
Language en
Keywords Number sense; iPad; game
Subject categories Learning


This chapter aims at describing research on Fingu, a virtual manipulative housed in a game environment, which is designed to support young children’s learning and development of number concepts and flexible arithmetic competence. More specifically Fingu targets the understanding and mastering of the basic numbers 1–10 as part-whole relations, which according to the literature on early mathematics learning is critical for this development. In the chapter, we provide an overview of the theoretical grounding of the design, development and research of Fingu as well as the theoretical and practical design rationale and principles. We point out the potential of Fingu as a research platform and present examples of some of the empirical research conducted to demonstrate the learning potential of Fingu. Methodologically, the research adopts a design-based research approach. This approach combines theory-driven design of learning environments with empirical research in educational settings, in a series of iterations. In a first series of iterations, a computer game—the Number Practice Game—was designed and researched, based on phenomenographic theory and empirical studies. In a second series of iterations, Fingu was designed and researched, based on ecological psychology in a socio-cultural framing. The design trajectory of NPG/Fingu thus involves both theoretical development and (re)design and development of specific educational technologies.

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