Linear Kid: A mathematical software designed as a computerbased peer tutoring system
Y. Jun
Department of Computer Education
Sunchon National University, Sunchon, Korea
ycjun@sunchon.sunchon.ac.kr
Abstract
The use of computers is increasing in mathematics education. This trend is supported by the NCTM
standards and computational power applicable in mathematical curricula. As part of CAI software,
Linear Kid was designed, developed and evaluated reflecting upon NCTM standards. Linear Kid is a computerbased peer
tutoring system where students become active learners who are guided to learn by teaching a computer. As an intelligent
peer tutoring system, Linear Kid has three agents: the student, the computer learner and the computer coach. After the students
watch how the computer expert solves a set of linear equations, Linear Kid helps the human student act as a teacher in order to
learn more about the subject matter. At this time, the computer plays a role of a student and a coach.
An ongoing version of Linear Kid was tested at two sites in a formative evaluation involving two schools in U. S. A. The evaluation
methodology includes analysis of interviews and surveys. Findings indicate that there are diverse qualitative differences among students given several
dimensions: (a) types of learning patterns; (b) belief systems and the degree of awareness during problem solving; (c) the use of
computers in problem solving; and (d) reactions to the use of Linear Kid. The attitude changes toward the use of Linear Kid imply that practice
is not the best way to improve problem solving abilities and that students are not serious about using the property associated with each step in
solving linear equations. As a formative process of enhancing educational software, those findings suggests how Linear Kid can be tailored to the
students' mathematical learning processes.
Keywords
Problem solving; computeraided instruction; formative evaluation; peer tutoring.
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