Speaker Series

Dane DeSutter, PhD. Candidate, Learning Sciences Research Institute, UIC

Spatial thinking and STEM: A critical look at embodied learning environments and how they impact student understanding of spatial concepts
Friday, March 9, 2018 1:00PM to 2:30PM
LSRI 1535, 1240 W Harrison Street

Spatial thinking is a significant hurdle for students to excel in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Efforts to reform how students are taught to reason about space and spatial concepts vary in their design principles, but prior research suggests that learning environments that have students produce gesture and embodied actions while learning disciplinary content may be especially effective at promoting spatial thinking in STEM. I will present data from ongoing studies of two different learning environments that aim to improve students’ understanding of the spatial concepts geometry, symmetry, and transformation in the context of organic chemistry. These studies explore (1) the extent that embodied actions support student understanding of spatial concepts and (2) how novel software designs that encourage embodied activity affect these outcomes.