Exploring Links between STEM Success and Spatial Skills: Project overview and initial findings

Authors: Nora Newcombe*, Temple University
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: spatial cognition, spatial skills
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 1:45 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Tower Court B, Sheraton, IM Pei Tower, Second Floor Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This project addressed several specific research questions concerning learning Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at the college level. (1) Do spatial skills predict success in GIS courses? If so, which skills? Specifically, does prior navigational competence, above and beyond small-scale spatial skills, predict success? (2) Does taking a GIS course lead to improvement in spatial skills, including navigation as well as small-scale spatial skills? (3) If there are linkages, why? A key mechanism may be the adoption of a survey perspective on the world, as well as the strengthening of mental rotation, visual perspective-taking and working memory skills that have been linked to navigation.

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