Designing computer-based cognitive tools to assist learners to interpret graphs and tables

Brian Ferry, John Hedberg, Barry Harper


This paper reports on the development and evaluation of cognitive tools used to interpret graphs and tables. The development of these tools was informed by research about how learners interpreted graphs and tables. A prototype of the cognitive tools was trialed with a small sample of preservice teachers. This prototype was then improved and used again with a larger sample. Data from individual audit trails of software use, journal entries and interviews with a small sample of preservice teachers were used to evaluate the cognitive tools. The findings showed that the simple, context-specific cognitive tools developed helped to reduce the cognitive load associated with the interpretation of graphs and tables.

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