Eye-tracking the emergence of attentional anchors in a mathematics learning tablet activity.

Shayan, S., Abrahamson, D., Bakker, A., Duijzer, A. C. G., & Van der Schaaf, M. F.
In C. A. Was, F. J. Sansosti, & B. J. Morris (Eds.), Eye-tracking technology applications in educational research (pp. 166-194). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.


Little is known about micro-processes by which sensorimotor interaction gives rise to conceptual development. Per embodiment theory, these micro-processes are mediated by dynamical attentional structures. Accordingly this study investigated eye-gaze behaviors during engagement in solving tablet-based bimanual manipulation tasks designed to foster proportional reasoning. Seventy-six elementary- and vocational-school students (9-15 yo) participated in individual task-based clinical interviews. Data gathered included action-logging, eye-tracking, and videography. Analyses revealed the emergence of stable eye-path gaze patterns contemporaneous with first enactments of effective manipulation and prior to verbal articulations of manipulation strategies. Characteristic gaze patterns included consistent or recurring attention to screen locations that bore non-salient stimuli or no stimuli at all yet bore invariant geometric relations to dynamical salient features. Arguably, this research validates empirically hypothetical constructs from constructivism, particularly reflective abstraction.