Well-developed 3-D spatial skills have been shown to be important for success in a number of technological fields including engineering, medicine, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, and architecture. Michigan Technological University has been offering a remedial course since 1993 aimed at improving the 3-D spatial skills of first-year engineering students, particularly women. In 1998, through funding from the National Science Foundation, multimedia software and a workbook were developed in support of the spatial skills course. In 2003, additional funding was received to test the materials with middle and high school audiences. The objectives of the current study are to determine the extent to which the materials created for college students are age appropriate for younger students for improving 3-D spatial skills, particularly for girls. The materials were tested in a pilot study of middle school students (age ~13) and subsequently with middle and high school students (age ~16). Pre- and post-tests were administered to determine the impact of the materials on students’ skills. The students also evaluated each module of the software and workbook to assess ease of use, ease of understanding, and general impressions. The paper describes the studies conducted with younger audiences and will present initial findings.
|Keywords:||Gender Differences, K-12 Students, Multimedia Software, Three-dimensional Spatial Skills|
Assistant Professor, Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan, USA
Professor, Engineering Fundamentals, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan, USA
Professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan, USA
Department of Mathematical Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan, USA
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