GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 264-9
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


JOHNSON, Elijah T., Geosciences, Auburn University, 2050 Beard Eaves Coliseum, Auburn, AL 36849 and MCNEAL, Karen S., Geosciences, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849

Spatial reasoning ability is a necessary skill for success in any of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) domains. Students who have lower spatial thinking ability could have a more difficult time learning geological concepts (Ishakawa & Kastens, 2005). However, spatial ability is malleable and can improve with intervention and training (Uttal et al., 2013). The heavy reliance on spatial ability to understand many geological concepts, like cartography and topography (Woods et al., 2016; Giorgis et al., 2017), makes researching innovative methods and technologies to train spatial skills a necessity in the geosciences. One of those technologies is the augmented-reality (AR) sandbox, which has the potential to train spatial reasoning ability due to its interactive topographic and cartographic elements. Before developing spatial training interventions with the AR sandbox, it’s important to understand what sorts of challenges and strategies students are having with certain spatial reasoning skills. This study aimed to gather narrative data on student experiences with and perceptions of their spatial reasoning ability after a pilot spatial intervention. Students responded to questions about what challenges and strategies they associated with mental rotation, spatial orientation, and spatial visualization skills—skills believed to be heavily relied on in the geosciences. This research will inform future studies in the development of AR sandbox activities to train spatial ability.