2. Define your research questions

To define our reserach question we decided to use an affinity diagram, because it stimulates the thinking process visually, more than a content analysis, and is more suitable for factual pieces of information, rather than for subjective pieces of information, for which we would use an empathy diagram.

Both of our group members looked at our literature review, interview and cultural probes,and wrote down those pieces of information that stood out from the rest. After comparing our results, we tried to find out how those various pieces of information are related, and begun organizing them into categories. By trying out several positions for our sticky notes, we modeled our diagram until we were happy with how it was organized.

Much information from our previous tasks was directly related to PCs and educational mobile and PC apps. We chose to focus on developing a tangible tool, and have therefore not included a vast amount of information gathered, that was exclusively about PC- learning and apps.

The end result

Math education in elementary schools

  • Learning
    • The students effort and cognitive capacity carries more weight than the method the knowledge is delivered
    • The teacher should vary between several knowledge delivery methods
    • Digital tools could be used to find the solution to a math problem without having to reflect about the task
    • By using digital tools, the student has the possibility to focus on the problem solving rather than the calculating
    • The traditional way of teaching can not be put up against the digital. They should complement each other.
  • Feelings
    • Students do not generally like mathematics
    • Using screens can cause headaches and tired eyes
  • Available tools and infrastructure
    • There are big differences in schools’ quality of digital infrastructure and internet speed
    • There might be some difficulty for teachers with less experience in the digital field to adapt to using new digital tools
    • There are many math apps available, but most of them are not good enough


After discussing our affinity diagram, we defined our research question:

How could we develop a simple digital tool to supplement mathematical teaching in elementary schools?

We defined it such way by using parts of the information from our diagram:

How could we develop…

a simple (teachers might experience some difficulties with new digital tools, and therefore we want to make it simple and easily understandable)

digital tool (we’d like to implement more digital technology at schools)

to supplement (the digital and traditional media have to supplement each other to create a good learning experience)

mathematical teaching in elementary schools (digital media aren’t used as much at elementary schools like in higher grades of education despite the children’s proficiency in using tablets, mobiles and computers)

Since the knowledge delivery method isn’t as important as the students capacity to perform well in school, we decided that our primary focus will be to develop a tool to make the mathematical lessons more diverse. We would like it to be simple in use, so both the teachers and students could use it without much problem.


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