STUDY OF SPATIAL ABILITIES IN HIGH-SCHOOL STUDENTS
1 Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
2 Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas (CIS) (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:There are many studies that demonstrate the influence of different factors in the spatial abilities of students, understanding as such skills the ability to generate, preserve and manipulate abstract visual images. These factors may be among others: gender, social context in which the student grows, playful activities carried out during childhood, school training, etc. Of all of them, gender is one of the most studied, and among the most relevant results of these investigations, it has been observed that women are less likely to obtain high scores in tests such as the Mental Cutting Test, while men show a greater dexterity in most spatial abilities. However, these observations are not conclusive, since there is no consensus in the scientific community, since contrary results are also obtained in other works.
The subject of Technical Drawing is included in the specialty subjects that make up the current Technological High School. However, the previous training received for this subject in terms of the development of spatial capabilities is quite limited, since only exercises -in specific didactic units- are included in the subjects of Plastic, Visual, Artistic Education and Mathematics. This lack of training results in students having to make a greater effort to take the subject of Technical Drawing in High School, since they encounter obstacles in the representation of perspectives in isometric or the realization of sections in dihedral. Faced with such problems, there is a higher rate of abandonment and lack of motivation. In the literature related to this problem, has been investigated about the best techniques or tools for the development and training of spatial abilities, with many possibilities or paths to choose by the teachers. These include the manipulation of objects and games related to construction from an early age, the execution of hand-drawn sketches, different training tests or virtual platforms with different exercises. However, due to the great variety of techniques and the difficulty of evaluating them comparatively, there is no agreement on which is the most effective or recommendable.
This paper shows the results derived from the research focused on evaluating the spatial abilities presented by the students of a center of the Community of Madrid, Spain. For this, a test of twelve questions was carried out, with an approximate duration of 10 minutes, in which three blocks of questions were distinguished, each of them related to a different spatial ability: relation of three-dimensional figures with their development in 2D, spatial rotation of three-dimensional figures and section produced by a plane in 3D figures. In a first analysis of the results, differences are observed in the ability of the students to solve the different types of problems, with the section-by-plane exercises in which the worst results were obtained. On the other hand, when focusing attention on the gender variable, differences are observed in the results, since, especially in the case of spatial rotation, men obtained better scores than women. In this way, with this case study, a possible research route is opened, since if the sample is enlarged and representative results are obtained, one could know first-hand the real difficulties presented by the high school students in spatial abilities, which would ultimately help rethink the subjects of the graphic subjects with the idea of improving the development of these skills.
Keywords: Spatial abilities, technical drawing, high school, gender.