Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Spatial Thinking and Cognition I: Exploring Links between STEM Success and Spatial Skills

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Geographic Information Science and Systems Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 1:45 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Tower Court B, Sheraton, IM Pei Tower, Second Floor Level
Organizers: Jeffrey Hamerlinck, Paddington Hodza
Chairs: Jeffrey Hamerlinck


There are many determinants of interest and success in STEM disciplines, including exposure, motivation and ability. Among the cognitive predictors, one important set of skills involves spatial thinking. Increasing spatial skills during educational training may be one route towards increasing the STEM workforce overall, and towards augmenting the representation of women in STEM. This session presents research addressing two gaps in current knowledge: (1) the role of large-scale spatial skills like navigation, which could be particularly useful in disciplines like the geosciences; and (2) the need for a long-term spatial training plan that can be integrated into classrooms with minimum disruption in existing school and university curricula. Research questions centered on the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at the college level, including (1) Do spatial skills predict enrollment and success in GIS courses? If so, which skills? (2) Does taking a GIS course lead to improvement in spatial skills, including navigation as well as small-scale spatial skills? On a more fine-grained level, what are the individual differences in interaction with GIS that have an impact on spatial skill improvement? (3) If there are linkages, why? (4) How can the effectiveness and usability of GIS software for different individuals be maximized?


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Nora Newcombe*, Temple University, Exploring Links between STEM Success and Spatial Skills: Project overview and initial findings 15 1:45 PM
Presenter Paddington Hodza*, Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center, Jeffrey Hamerlinck, Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center, Margo Berendsen, Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center, Assessing GIS learning using a timed end-of-course GIS software-based exam 15 2:00 PM
Presenter Margo Berendsen*, Margo Berendsen, Paddington Hodza, University of Wyoming, Jeffrey D Hamerlinck, University of Wyoming, Exploring individual differences in student interaction with GIS software in an introductory geospatial course 15 2:15 PM
Presenter Meredith Minear*, University of Wyoming, Veronica Carey-Roderiguez, University of Wyoming, Courtney Derby, University of Wyoming, Testing the Effects of Immersion in 3D Geovisualizations Under Cognitive Load 15 2:30 PM
Presenter Tesalee Sensibaugh*, University of Wyoming, Alexa Massiquet, California State University San Bernardino, Meredith Minear, University of Wyoming, Relationship between travel- and navigation-related experiences across the lifespan on perceptions of spatial navigation in older adults 15 2:45 PM

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