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2. ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY
While spatial aptitude is acknowledged as a key cognitive ability that accompanies success in STEM education, less is reported about the qualitative differences between weak and strong visualisers in how they approach and engage with assessments in STEM education. In this paper, we study one particular aspect of the STEM curriculum - solving convergent ‘word’ problems in mathematics - in an attempt to discern quantitative and qualitative differences between the approaches weak and strong visualisers adopt when solving these problems. The paper is a work-in-progress that started with a search for suitable convergent mathematics problems which were then presented to a small sample of engineering students using a think aloud protocol. Participants were asked to think aloud while they solved the problems and to write their answers using a LiveScribe pen to concurrently record spoken and written responses. They also completed a spatial skills test. The magnitude and significance of the correlation between the spatial and mathematics tests scores were measured to be r = .79, p < .01.
Duffy, Gavin & Sorby, Sheryl & Nozaki, Steven & Bowe, Brian. (2016). Exploring the role of spatial cognition in problem solving. 1-4. 10.1109/FIE.2016.7757593.
National Science Foundation