Collaborative learning with multi-touch technology: Developing adaptive expertise

Emma M. Mercier, Steven E. Higgins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Developing fluency and flexibility in mathematics is a key goal of upper primary schooling, however, while fluency can be developed with practice, designing activities that support the development of flexibility is more difficult. Drawing on concepts of adaptive expertise, we developed a task for a multi-touch classroom, NumberNet, that aimed to support both fluency and flexibility. Results from a quasi-experimental study of 86 students (44 using NumberNet, 42 using a paper-based comparison activity) indicated that all students increased in fluency after completing these activities, while students who used NumberNet also increased in flexibility. Video analysis of the NumberNet groups indicate that the opportunity to collaborate, and learn from other groups' expressions, may have supported this increase in flexibility. The final phase of the task suggests future possibilities for engaging students in mathematical discourse to further support the development of mathematical adaptive expertise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-23
Number of pages11
JournalLearning and Instruction
StatePublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptive expertise
  • Collaborative learning
  • Computer-supported collaborative learning
  • Group work
  • Mathematics learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education


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