Quintin Cutts (University of Glasgow): Investigating the Relationship Between Spatial Skills and Computer Science
am Dienstag, 19.06.2018 14:15 im Raum SRZ 202
Spatial skills have been connected with STEM and computer science success for over sixty years. While in some fields, notably engineering, this relationship has been well explored, there is limited research investigating the relationship between spatial skills and computer science. The research that does exist indicates a correlation between spatial skills and computer science success, however, a cognitive model suggesting why this relationship exists has not been proposed. Unlike Sorby?s work in engineering, we do not believe there is sucient evidence to launch into full-scale spatial skills training for our students, but yet are tantalised by the possibility that this may be effective in improving CS skills, enough to warrant a small scale pilot study.
The research presented in this talk provides a more solid foundation concerning the connection between computer science and spatial skills for future studies. The literature on spatial skills is reviewed and the various underlying cognitive skills involved are analysed. A theoretical model for the relationship between computer science ability and spatial skills is presented, exploring ways in which the cognitive processes involved in each overlap, and hence may influence one another. This is strengthened by an experiment involving 72 participants determining how spatial ability relates to computer science attainment, the results of which suggest that spatial skills typically increase as the level of academic achievement in computer science increases. Further, findings of a pilot study are presented, which replicates a small scale spatial skills training course to investigate the effects of training on students and identifies the practical considerations which need to be made in preparations for running such a course on a larger scale. The background research, model and pilot study support future experiments to determine whether spatial skills training can lead to improved computer science skills.
Quintin Cutts is a professor within the School of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow. His research centres on computer science education, with further interest in the use of technology to enhance face-to-face teaching and learning environments. He is involved in the development of school curricula for computer science, contributing to the new Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland, as well as initiatives further afield in England and internationally. He has received awards for learning and teaching excellence, and is committed to engaging students deeply with their studies at all levels, drawing on his own and other research into psychological aspects of learning and technology in education.