Mathematics Education Research Journal

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 313–327 | Cite as

Improving preschoolers’ mathematics achievement with tablets: a randomized controlled trial

Original Article


With a randomized field experiment of 433 preschoolers, we tested a tablet mathematics program designed to increase young children’s mathematics learning. Intervention students played Math Shelf, a comprehensive iPad preschool and year 1 mathematics app, while comparison children received research-based hands-on mathematics instruction delivered by their classroom teachers. After 22 weeks, there was a large and statistically significant effect on mathematics achievement for Math Shelf students (Cohen’s d = .94). Moderator analyses demonstrated an even larger effect for low achieving children (Cohen’s d = 1.27). These results suggest that early education teachers can improve their students’ mathematics outcomes by integrating experimentally proven tablet software into their daily routines.


Early childhood education Preschool Mathematics Curriculum iPads Tablets Computer-assisted instruction Child development Number sense Kindergarten 



The authors thank Mary McCoy, Peggy Elston, and the principals and teachers in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis for their work implementing Math Shelf and making this research possible.


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Copyright information

© Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Teaching DoctorsStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences ResearchStanford UniversityPalo AltoUSA

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