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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Spatial Thinking across the College Curriculum, Position Papers

  • Author(s): Center for Spatial Studies, UCSB
  • Spatial Intelligence Learning Center, Temple University
  • et al.

More than 40 position papers were prepared by participants prior to meeting in Santa Barbara. The objective was  to explore from a multi-discipline perspective the potential values and challenges of formulating curricula to advance the role of spatial reasoning in undergraduate education.

The authors consider the following general questions:

• What are best current practices in spatial education at the college level?

• What role do technologies, such as geographic information systems and virtual environment technologies, play in developing spatial thinking skills?

• Can we identify a set of general spatial skills that are relevant to spatial thinking across several disciplines?

• Are spatial skills best trained in the context of a discipline or in a domain of general knowledge? For example, if a student is taught to imagine cross sections in the context of a geology course, does this skill transfer to imagining sections in engineering or biology?

• What are the connections between “spatial thinking” courses and curricula organized for disciplines? For example, do all geography or geometry courses naturally or automatically support spatial thinking processes?

• What are learning outcomes for spatial thinking curricula, and what form should assessment take?

• What are the administrative challenges and opportunities for implementing spatial thinking courses and programs at the college level?

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