Enhancing Visual and Spatial Skills towards success in STEM subjects
In recent years, school systems across the world have placed a particular emphasis on improving the quali-ty of education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). This reflects the critical importance of STEM disciplines for preparing students for our modern society.
While the visualisation of seemingly invisible natural phenomena such as genes, electrons and molecules is challenging for students, it is key to their understanding in the STEM field. Though there are various methodologies and tools that exist to help students visualise these phenomena, current research, including that conducted in Ireland, points to the centrality of spatial and visual ‘skills’ when teaching STEM subjects.
Spatial ability is the ability to visualise or form mental images of an object. It does not require formal train-ing. Spatial ‘skills’ are a set of skills acquired through formal training which represent a student’s capacity to apply spatial abilities in the performance of a task within the STEM field. Well developed spatial skills leads to improved performance in STEM.
Currently, an international project (including Ireland) is being undertaken to gain insights into how stu-dents’ spatial ‘skills’ develop. It will inform the development of a more precise understanding of the role that spatial ‘skills’ play in the success in STEM disciplines.
As part of this project the PDST are running a course for teachers of Transition Year Science, Art and Maths to enhance their student’s perception of STEM subjects. It will aim towards improving their spatial skills in preparation for senior cycle and Leaving Certificate exams in these subjects.
This course will explore:
• How spatial skills acquired through training can enhance the application of spatial ability in STEM subjects;
• The assessment of spatial skills;
• How a Transition Year spatial skills training programme could prepare students for greater success in STEM subjects at senior cycle.
To register for this workshop please click on 'REGISTER INDIVIDUAL' button below