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Topic: Computer Tools at PreK2

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Subject:   RE: Computer Tools at PreK2
Author: Doug
Date: Aug 26 2004

I would like to respond to the idea that computer tools are not appropriate. I
have been doing and reviewing research on this, and engaging in projects in real
classrooms, and believe that both research and the wisdom of expert practice are
consistent: Computer tools are appropriate if used well, and, moreover, are
*superior* to paper and even physical manipulatives in many cases.

Bad educational practice can be done with any medium. However, good practice is
often better with (high-quality) computer tools.  Why? It depends how much you
really want to read!

Clements, D. H., & McMillen, S. (1996). Rethinking “concrete” manipulatives.
Teaching Children Mathematics, 2(5), 270-279.

Clements, D. H. (1999). ‘Concrete’ manipulatives, concrete ideas. Contemporary
Issues in Early Childhood, 1(1), 45-60.
You can *see* this at
Or, you can just ask me to e-mail you a copy of this one.

A final one is as follows:
Clements, D. H., & Sarama, J. (2003). Strip mining for gold: Research and policy
in educational technology—A response to “Fool’s Gold”. Educational Technology
Review, 11(1).
Retrieve from

Basically, the articles make the case that, although misuse *is* a problem,
computer environments can make real contributions. I'm happy, as I've said, to
list them here, send you the articles, or the like.

Doug Clements

On Aug 26 2004, Bethany wrote:
> I have some concern, and I've heard it voiced by other teachers who
> teach at this level too, that using computer tools to explore
> mathematics is really NOT appropriate.

I'd like to know how
> others feel about this topic.  Are there appropriate uses for
> computers at this level that truly benefit student learning as
> opposed to other methods of teaching?  If so, I would love to know
> what you've found useful.  If not, I'd like to hear about those
> experiences as well.

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