This paper describes an initial exploration of how an interactive cubic user-configurable modular robotic system can be used to support learning about numbers and how they are pronounced. The development is done in collaboration with a class of 7-8 year old children and their mathematics teacher. The tool is called Number Blocks and it combines physical interaction, learning, and immediate feedback. Number Blocks supports the children's understanding of place value in the sense that it allows them to experiment with creating large numbers. We found the blocks contributed to the learning process in several ways. The blocks combined mathematics and play, and they included and supported children at different academic levels. The auditory representation, especially the enhanced rhythmic effects due to using speech synthesis, and the rhythm helped the children to pronounce large numbers. This creates a new context for learning mathematical aspects of number names and the place value system.
Towards Learning and Instruction in Web 3.0: Advances in Cognitive and Educational Psychology, 2012