Southeastern Section - 68th Annual Meeting - 2019

Paper No. 21-7
Presentation Time: 4:00 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 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) domains. Research suggests that a person’s spatial thinking ability and exposure to opportunities aimed at developing their spatial reasoning skills through educational training could impact their decision to select a STEM or non-STEM course of study or impact their decision to remain in STEM (Wai et al., 2009, Kell & Lubinski, 2013). Many students may have natural spatial thinking ability, while others may lack this skill, which could make learning geological concepts more difficult (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 perform many geological concepts makes researching innovative methods and technologies, like the augmented-reality (AR) sandbox, to train spatial skills a necessity in the geosciences. Despite, several recent publications that have utilized the AR sandbox in the undergraduate classroom (Woods et al., 2017; Giorgis et al., 2017), there has not been evidence for the usefulness of the AR sandbox on improving spatial reasoning ability. Since the interactive AR sandbox also has cartographic and topographic elements (Woods et al., 2016; Giorgis et al., 2017), it may prove useful in training spatial ability. This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of the AR sandbox for improving the spatial thinking performance of low scoring students by teaching topographic concepts. We also explore how students’ experiences with the spatial training activities in the AR sandbox impact their self-reflections of their overall spatial thinking skills? Furthermore, we aim to understand which activities they perceived to best support their spatial skill development in an effort to create a student-informed and evidence-based pedagogical tool.