Differences in the Requirements of Digital and Printed Mathematics Textbooks: Focus on Geometry Chapters

  • Dubravka Glasnović Gracin Faculty of Teacher Education, University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • Ana Krišto Primary School Petar Preradović Zagreb, Croatia
Keywords: textbook tasks, requirements, printed textbook, digital textbook, geometry


Textbooks have always played an important role in mathematics education. Textbook tasks are widely used by students, so it is important to examine their requirements in order to identify the opportunities students have to learn mathematics. Publishers now produce both printed and digital versions of textbooks. While the requirements of the tasks in printed textbooks have been well examined all over the world, the tasks in digital textbooks are yet to be analysed and systematically developed. The research presented in this paper encompasses the analysis and comparison of the tasks in the printed and digital versions of the same mathematics textbook set. The examined set covers Grades 1 to 4 of primary education in Croatia. The aim was to find what task requirements are predominant in the printed and the digital textbooks, and to determine whether these textbook versions provide a wide variety of task features. In addition, the features and capacities typical of digital tasks, such as interactivity and dynamics, are examined. These task features are particularly important in geometry education for comprehending visual and dynamic geometrical objects and relations. The results show that both the printed and the digital textbook tasks have traditional requirements, with an emphasis on closed answer forms. Moreover, the new opportunities afforded by digital tasks are not realised. These findings reveal the potential of digital tasks as a new area to be explored and developed.


Download data is not yet available.


Choppin, J., Carson, C., Borys, Z., Cerosaletti, C., & Gillis, R. (2014). A typology for analyzing digital curricula in mathematics education. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology, 2(1), 11–25.

Cohen, V. B. (1985). A reexamination of feedback in computer-based instruction: Implications for instructional design. Educational Technology, 25(1), 33–37.

Glasnović Gracin, D. (2018). Requirements in mathematics textbooks: A five-dimensional analysis of textbook exercises and examples. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 49(7), 1003–1024.

Glasnović Gracin, D., & Kuzle, A. (2018). Drawings as external representations of children’s mathematical ideas and emotions in geometry lessons. CEPS – Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal, 8(2), 31–53. https://doi.org/10.26529/cepsj.299

Glasnović Gracin, D., & Kuzle, A. (2019). Fundamentalne ideje za nastavu geometrije [Fundamental ideas for teaching geometry]. Matematika i škola, 99, 147–151.

Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81–112. https://doi.org/10.3102/003465430298487

Henningsen M., & Stein M. (1997). Mathematical tasks and student’s cognition: Classroom-based factors that support and inhibit high-level mathematical thinking and reasoning. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 28(5), 524–549.

Institut für Didaktik der Mathematik. (2007). Standards für die mathematischen Fähigkeiten österreichischer Schülerinnen und Schüler am Ende der 8. Schulstufe [Standards for the mathematical competencies of Austrian students at the end of the 8th grade]. Alpen-Adria- Universität Klagnefurt.

Johansson, M. (2006). Teaching mathematics with textbooks. A classroom and curricular perspective. [Doctoral dissertation, Luleå University of Technology]. Luleå University of Technology. http://ltu.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2%3A998959&dswid=-133

Kurnik, Z. (2000). Matematički zadatak [Mathematical task]. Matematika i škola, 7, 51–58. https://mis.element.hr/fajli/545/07-02.pdf

Kuzle, A., & Glasnović Gracin, D. (2020). Making sense of geometry education through the lens of fundamental ideas: An analysis of children’s drawing. The Mathematics Educator, 29(1), 7–52.

Leung, A., & Baccaligni-Franck, A. (Eds). (2017). Digital technologies in designing mathematics education tasks. Potential and pitfalls. Springer.

Love, E., & Pimm, D. (1996). “This is so”: A text on texts. In A. J. Bishop, K. Clements, C. Keitel, J. Kilpatrick, & C. Laborde (Eds.), International handbook of mathematics education (Vol. 1., pp. 371–409). Kluwer International Handbooks of Education, Springer.

Mammana, C., & Villani, V. (Eds.). (1998). Perspectives on the teaching of geometry for the 21st century: An ICMI study. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Markovac, J. (2001). Metodika početne nastave matematike [Methodology of initial mathematics teaching]. Školska knjiga.

Miklec, D., Jakovljević Rogić, S., & Prtajin, G. (2021a). Moj sretni broj 1 [My lucky number 1]. Školska knjiga.

Miklec, D., Jakovljević Rogić, S., & Prtajin, G. (2021b). Moj sretni broj 2 [My lucky number 2]. Školska knjiga.

Miklec, D., Jakovljević Rogić, S., & Prtajin, G. (2021c). Moj sretni broj 3 [My lucky number 3]. Školska knjiga.

Miklec, D., Jakovljević Rogić, S., & Prtajin, G. (2021d). Moj sretni broj 4 [My lucky number 4]. Školska knjiga.

Ministry of Science and Education. (2019). Kurikulum predmeta Matematika [Curriculum of the school subject Mathematics]. https://narodne-novine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/2019_01_7_146.html

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2003). The PISA 2003 assessment framework – Mathematics, reading, science and problem solving knowledge and skills. OECD.


Pepin, B., & Haggarty, L. (2001). Mathematics textbooks and their use in English, French and German classrooms: A way to understand teaching and learning cultures. ZDM – Mathematics Education, 33(5), 158–175.

Pepin, B., Gueudet, G., Yerushalmy, M., Trouche, L., & Chazan, D. (2016). E-textbooks in/for teaching and learning mathematics: A potentially transformative educational technology. In L. English & D. Kirshner (Eds.), Handbook of international research in mathematics education (pp. 636–661). Taylor & Francis.

Pepin, B., Choppin, J., Ruthven, K., & Sinclair, N. (2017). Digital curriculum resources in mathematics education: Foundations for change. ZDM – Mathematics Education, 49, 645–661.

Rezat, S. (2021). How automated feedback from a digital mathematics textbook affects primary students’ conceptual development: Two case studies. ZDM – Mathematics Education, 53(6), 1433–1445. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11858-021-01263-0

Ruthven, K. (2018). Instructional activity and student interaction with digital resources. In L. Fan, L. Trouche, Ch. Qui, S. Rezat, & J. Visnovska (Eds.), Research on mathematics textbooks and teachers’ resources. ICME-13 monographs. (pp. 261–275). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-73253-4_12

Shute, V. J. (2008). Focus on formative feedback. Review of Educational Research, 78(1), 153–189. https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654307313795

Sullivan, P., Clarke, D. M., & Clarke, B. A. (2013). Teaching with tasks for effective mathematics learning. Springer.

Usiskin, Z. (2018). Electronic vs paper textbook presentations of the various aspects of mathematics. ZDM – Mathematics Education, 50(5), 849–861.

Wittmann, E. Ch. (1999). Konstruktion eines Geometriecurriculums ausgehend von Grund- ideen der Elementargeometrie [Construction of a geometry curriculum based on the basic ideas of elementary geometry]. In H. Henning (Ed.), Mathematik lernen durch Handeln und Erfahrung. Festschrift zum 75. Geburtstag von Heinrich Besuden (pp. 205–223). Bueltmann und Gerriets.

Zhu, Y., & Fan, L. (2006). Focus on the representation of problem types in intended curriculum: a comparison of selected mathematics textbooks from Mainland China and the United States. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 4(4), 609–626.