March 20, 2019
March 20, 2019
March 22, 2019
This abstract is intended as a presentation only (no full paper). Mobile devices are becoming more prevalent and a common part of the education experience. Students can access their devices at any time to perform assignments or review material. Mobile apps can have the added advantage of being able to automatically grade student work and provide instantaneous feedback. However, numerous challenges remain in implementing effective mobile educational apps. One challenge is the small screen size of smartphones.
A freehand sketching and spatial visualization mobile app was implemented in two college freshman engineering graphics course to teach students how to sketch orthographic and isometric assignments. The app provides automatic grading and hint feedback to help students when they are stuck. The app was originally developed for iPads, but the wide prevalence of smartphones led to porting the software to iPhone and Android phones. The sketching assignments on a smartphone screen require more frequent zooming and panning, These classes were the first to use the spatial visualization training app on their smartphones to study if the experience was the same as on larger screen sizes using iPad tablets.
Students were assigned sketching problems as homework using their personal devices. Students were administered a pre- and post- spatial visualization test (PSVT-R, a reliable, well-validated instrument) to assess learning gains. The trial analysis focused on students who entered the course with limited spatial visualization experience as identified based on a score of ≤70% on the PSVT:R since students entering college with low PSVT:R scores are at higher risk of dropping out of STEM majors. In the first course, almost 60% of the class failed the pre-test, which was a significantly higher percentage than the same trial conducted at another large institution. Among the low-performing students in the first class, 35% of those who used the app showed significant progress, raising their test scores above 70% bringing them out of the at-risk range for dropping out of engineering compared to 71% at the other institution. These mixed results could be attributed to the software not being ready for prime-time during the initial trial.
In addition to the PSVT-R instrument, a survey was conducted at both institutions to evaluate student usage and their impressions of the app. Students found the app engaging, easy to use, and something they would do whenever they had “a free moment”. In the first trial, 79% of the students recommended the app to a friend if they are struggling with spatial visualization skills as opposed to 95% in the second course.
This presentation will compare the implementation of the mobile spatial visualization sketching app in two large college engineering classroom using smartphones vs. past trials using tablets, highlight the app’s impact in increasing self-efficacy in spatial visualization and sketching, and present a detailed comparison of the results of the pre- and post- test and survey related to smartphone usage.
Van Den Einde, L., & Delson, N., & Cowan, E. R. (2019, March), Tablet vs. smartphone use for freehand sketching and spatial visualization in large engineering graphics courses Paper presented at 2019 ASEE PNW Section Conference, Corvallis, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/31894
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