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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Spatial Thinking across the College Curriculum, Final Report

  • Author(s): Hegarty, Mary;
  • Newcombe, Nora S.;
  • Goodchild, Michael F.;
  • Janelle, Donald G.;
  • Shipley, Thomas F.;
  • Sinton, Diana
  • et al.

This report summarizes the major conclusions from a 2-day meeting of educators and researchers from more than a dozen disciplines that regard spatial thinking as a core activity that warrants consideration for a more prominent role in the education of undergraduate students.

To make the case for space in the curriculum, the meeting concluded that basic research must come to a more fundamental understanding of what is meant by spatial thinking, including different varieties of spatial thinking across the college curriculum, and identifying what is common to spatial thinking across disciplines. At the same time there is a need to continue to develop methods of teaching spatial thinking. Additionally, there is a need for research on teaching spatial thinking, including assessments of what is learned from programs that aim to teach spatial thinking. Finally, there is a need to document and demonstrate where and how spatial thinking prepares students for academic success and allows them to better compete in the job market and global economy.

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