, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 221-241

A framework for designing interactive multimedia to scaffold young children's understanding of historical chronology

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Young children's understanding of thehistorical past is often characterised by alack of temporal differentiation and a sense oftotal discontinuity with the present. Researchhas suggested that this situation may be causedin part by their formation of inappropriaterepresentations when solving problems ofchronology. To help children construct moreappropriate external representations forparticular tasks and reason more effectivelywith them about chronological concepts, weinvestigated the role that interactivemultimedia might play in scaffoldingteacher-led activities in the classroom. Inthis paper we report on our conceptual designand pedagogical approach to developingeffective dynamic, interactive representationsand activities at the computer interface, aimedat bridging the conceptual gap between concreteexperience and abstract concepts. Evaluationsof the software built using this frameworkshowed that the program was well received bychildren and teachers alike, and that it wasable to facilitate children's understanding of,and ability to reason about, chronology.