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Improving Spatial Visualization Skills of High School Students Through Sketch Training on a Touchscreen (Evaluation)

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Pre-College Engineering Education Division Technical Session 14

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


J. Jill Rogers The University of Arizona

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J. Jill Rogers is the assistant director for ENGR 102 HS at the University of Arizona. ENGR 102 HS is an AP-type, dual credit college level, introductory engineering course offered to high school students. In 2014, the ENGR 102 HS program won the ASEE best practices in K-12 and University partnerships award. Over the years Rogers has developed K-12 science summer camps, conducted K-12 educational research, developed engineering curricula for formal and informal education venues, and developed robotics outreach programs for children’s museums and K-12 schools. Rogers is a certified teacher and holds a Master’s of Science in Education. Her Master’s thesis topic examined middle school student attitudes towards robotics and focused on gender differences. She is a member of the National Science Teachers Association, Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O) and American Society for Engineering Education. Her interest lies in the K-12 pathways to engineering and ways to bring young people, particularly under represented populations, into STEM careers.

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Lelli Van Den Einde University of California, San Diego

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Van Den Einde is a Teaching Professor in Structural Engineering at UC San Diego and the President of eGrove Education, Inc. She incorporates education innovations into courses (Peer Instruction, Project-based learning), prepares next generation faculty, advises student organizations, and is committed to fostering a supportive environment for diverse students. Her research focuses on engagement strategies for large classrooms and developing K-16 curriculum in earthquake engineering and spatial visualization.

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Melissa Wendell Tempe Union High School District - Mountain Pointe High School (ENGR102HS - UofA)

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Melissa Wendell is a dedicated mentor and teacher at Mountain Pointe High School. In the past 16 years, she has taught all levels of physical science, biology, and engineering. For the past three years, Melissa has been a content specialist for CTE where her role is to support and advocate for all CTE teachers across the Tempe Union High School District and teaching engineering part-time. Melissa’s undying passion and love of science, technology, and mathematics are what drives her in her teaching career. Melissa has a bachelor’s of science education from New Mexico State University and a Master’s in Education from the Teachers in Industry program at the University of Arizona. During her Master’s degree program she discovered her passion in education by becoming apart of Career and Technical Education. She started the engineering program at Mountain Pointe High School and built it from the ground up starting with one section of engineering; to now ten sections and three engineering teachers. One of her philosophies on education is to provide all students with hands-on learning and providing skills for tomorrow’s workforce. She has done many professional development workshops for the state and the ENGR102HS University of Arizona program. As an Arizona Department of Education standards and curriculum consultant, she has assisted in reviewing new curriculum and engineering standards for the state.

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This paper evaluates an approach for training and improving high school students’ Spatial Visualization skills. Using touchscreen devices from home, 45 high school juniors and seniors enrolled in an educational application consisting of nine lessons on drawing orthographic and isometric figures. As part of their remote instruction during the COVID 19 pandemic, engineering students downloaded the application onto their cell phone or tablet and completed a series of auto graded exercises that were assigned in their high school course. The application included gamification features such as stars for rewards and hints to encourage student persistence. The Purdue Spatial Visualization Test: Rotations (PSVT:R) was administered before the treatment and the mean score for the participant group was 74.0% Regardless of their pretest score, participants were required to complete all nine lessons in the application. After course completion, a post-test of the PSVT:R was administered and the mean score for the participant group improved by 6.3%. Results showed that students who were classified in the at risk low performing group and had a pre-test of 70% or lower improved on their post-test score by 15.6%. Sex differences were examined, with female students improving their post-test score on average by 10.7%. Of the nine female participants, five started in the low group and three out of those five ended up moving out of this at-risk group. Additionally, a 15 question evaluation survey was administered to gather student opinions about their user experience.

Rogers, J. J., & Van Den Einde, L., & Wendell, M. (2021, July), Improving Spatial Visualization Skills of High School Students Through Sketch Training on a Touchscreen (Evaluation) Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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