Giving learning a helping hand: Finger tracing of temperature graphs on an iPad

Shirley Agostinho*, Sharon Tindall-Ford, Paul Ginns, Steven J. Howard, Wayne Leahy, Fred Paas

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    38 Citations (Scopus)


    Gesturally controlled information and communication technologies, such as tablet devices, are becoming increasingly popular tools for teaching and learning. Based on the theoretical frameworks of cognitive load and embodied cognition, this study investigated the impact of explicit instructions to trace out elements of tablet-based worked examples on mathematical problem-solving. Participants were 61 primary school children (8-11 years), who studied worked examples on an iPad either by tracing temperature graphs with their index finger or without such tracing. Results confirmed the main hypothesis that finger tracing as a form of biologically primary knowledge would support the construction of biologically secondary knowledge needed to understand temperature graphs. Children in the tracing condition achieved higher performance on transfer test questions. The theoretical and practical implications of the results are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberA004
    Pages (from-to)427-443
    Number of pages17
    JournalEducational Psychology Review
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015


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