A cross-cultural exploration of spatial visualisation abilities of first year STEM students: Students from Gulf States and Ireland

Stephanie Farrell, Gavin Duffy, Brian Bowe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

A strong link exists between spatial abilities and academic and professional success in STEM. The development of spatial skills is influenced directly or indirectly by a vast array of factors including academic experiences as well as gender, race, ethnicity, culture, primary language, and socioeconomic status. Numerous previous studies of spatial ability in STEM students have focused on improving spatial skills through interventions to reduce the gender gap and to increase academic success and retention of women in STEM. Cross-cultural variations in spatial ability among the general population are robust, but research is needed to understand whether cross-cultural differences are manifest among the global STEM student population. This paper contributes to that understanding by presenting analysis of the spatial ability of Irish and Gulf States students entering STEM at an institution of higher education in Ireland. The spatial ability of Gulf States students was significantly lower than the spatial ability of Irish students; the spatial ability of both groups was found to be markedly lower than STEM students from the United States, Germany and Poland. The identification and removal of barriers to academic success is of particular interest in the context of current efforts to increase the number of engineering graduates entering the global workforce. This work-in-progress paper also describes the implementation of a targeted intervention to improve the spatial skills of students with weak ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of 2015 International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning, ICL 2015
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages922-926
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781479987078
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 4 2015
EventInternational Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning, ICL 2015 - Firenze, Italy
Duration: Sep 20 2015Sep 24 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings of 2015 International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning, ICL 2015

Other

OtherInternational Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning, ICL 2015
CountryItaly
CityFirenze
Period9/20/159/24/15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Education

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    Farrell, S., Duffy, G., & Bowe, B. (2015). A cross-cultural exploration of spatial visualisation abilities of first year STEM students: Students from Gulf States and Ireland. In Proceedings of 2015 International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning, ICL 2015 (pp. 922-926). [7318150] (Proceedings of 2015 International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning, ICL 2015). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/ICL.2015.7318150