Master's Thesis

Making the Little Things Count – Teaching Children Basic Mathematical Constructs in VR

Author:

Marius Grießhammer

Processing Period:

21.05.2023 - 31.10.2023

Abstract

The mathematics skills of primary school students in Germany have been deteriorating continuously for years (Stanat et al., 2022), so new teaching concepts seem to be increasingly necessary. Embodied learning, a theory according to which learning not only takes place via cognitive processes in the brain, but can be influenced by the whole body via gestures and movements (Johnson-Glenberg & Megowan-Romanowicz, 2017; Link et al., 2014), is still a comparatively young field of research in relation to mathematics, but promises potential for improvements in students' knowledge acquisition in initial studies (Fugate et al., 2019). VR applications not only allow users to move freely through space and use their bodies as they wish, but due to a high degree of immersion (Cummings & Beilenson, 2016) they also offer the possibility to increase learners' enjoyment and motivation (Belter & Lukosch, 2022; Cao et al., 2021). Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to take a closer exploratory look at the potential of embodied learning in VR in relation to key mathematical competencies at primary school level. For this purpose, interviews with experts in the fields of mathematics didactics and game design as well as a comprehensive literature review will be conducted. Based on these interviews, at least three concepts for VR applications supporting the embodied learning approach will be developed, implemented, and qualitatively evaluated by means of focus group tests.