Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Language Counts when Learning Mathematics with Interactive Apps

Outhwaite, Laura; Gulliford, Anthea; Pitchford, Nicola

Language Counts when Learning Mathematics with Interactive Apps Thumbnail


Laura Outhwaite

Anthea Gulliford

Professor of Developmental Psychology


When available in multiple languages, educational apps can deliver the same mathematics instruction in the child’s first language or different language of instruction. This pilot study examined the feasibility of efficacy of a maths app intervention compared to standard mathematical practice with 61 children aged 5-6 years attending a bilingual immersion school in Brazil. The apps were delivered in either the child’s first (L1, Brazilian Portuguese) or second (L2, English) language, while app content, time on task, and school setting were consistent across the two treatment groups. Time on task in the comparison group was less. After 10 weeks, results showed children made significant mathematical learning gains with the apps, for both languages of instruction, compared to standard practice: the finding is discussed in relation to the threat of time spent on task. Children using the apps in Brazilian Portuguese (L1) completed more app topics than children using the apps in English (L2) and proficiency in language of instruction correlated positively with app progress through the apps. As children’s L1 was significantly stronger than their L2 proficiency, this suggests the apps were most effectively implemented in their L1. This study advances the conjoining of bilingual educational theories to educational apps in a controlled, real-world, bilingual immersion setting and highlights important directions for improving app-based mathematics instruction for bilingual children.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 29, 2020
Online Publication Date Feb 11, 2020
Publication Date 2020-11
Deposit Date Feb 7, 2020
Publicly Available Date Feb 12, 2020
Journal British Journal of Educational Technology
Print ISSN 0007-1013
Electronic ISSN 1467-8535
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 51
Issue 6
Pages 2326-2339
Keywords Mathematics ; iPad ; Educational Psychology ; Evaluation ; Quasi- experimental ; Second Language
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations