Multimodal Communication and Peer Interaction during Equation-Solving Sessions with and without Tangible Technologies

Daranee Lehtonen, Jorma Joutsenlahti, Päivi Perkkilä

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Despite the increasing use of technologies in the classroom, there are concerns that technology-enhanced learning environments may hinder students’ communication and interaction. In this study, we investigated how tangible technologies can enhance students’ multimodal communication and interaction during equation-solving pair work compared to working without such technologies. A tangible app for learning equation solving was developed and tested in fourth and fifth-grade classrooms with two class teachers and 24 students. Video data of the interventions were analysed using deductive and inductive content analysis. Coded data were also quantified for quantitative analysis. Additionally, teacher interview data were used to compare and contrast the findings. The findings showed that the tangible app better promoted students’ multimodal communication and peer interaction than working only with paper and pencil. When working in pairs, tangible-app students interacted with one another much more often and in more ways than their paper-and-pencil peers. The implications of this study are discussed in terms of its contributions to research on tangible technologies for learning, educational technology development, and the use of tangibles in classrooms to support students’ multimodal communication and peer interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Number of pages17
JournalMultimodal Technologies and Interaction
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • mathematics classroom
  • tangible user interface
  • multimodal communication
  • peer interaction
  • computer-supported collaborative learning
  • equation solving
  • primary school

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1


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