George Lucas Educational Foundation

Need For Spatial Intelligence

Need For Spatial Intelligence

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Direct quote from a paper co-written by my friend Gordon Schimmel, my recent observations concure on this: The Need for “Spatial Intelligence” Before delving into the details, we wish to confess bias, one that becomes a major part of the rationale for a workshop program. Children today are growing up in a high-tech world, a fact that makes them enormously sophisticated consumers of devices and programs that permit communication with each other in real time, making it possible for them to instantly download volumes of information previously available only to scholars and researchers as well as analyze data with power usually reserved for trained mathematicians. When time devoted to social applications and television viewing is added, young people spend much of their waking hours living in a virtual world. They may hold the power of the ages in their hands, but many are flat-screen junkies who are losing an understanding of the 3-D world around them. Sadly, this means that many children have lost what we would call “spatial intelligence” – the ability to use common household tools effectively, to take mechanical things apart and successfully reassemble them, to understand how things work – most of what we take for granted in our everyday world.

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Hubert V. Yee's picture
Hubert V. Yee
social media and marketing manager of startup

Great quote Bill! I wonder if we will ever have workshop classes in schools ever again. It's such an important class. Would be a great remedy for this issue.

Bill Kuhl's picture

Ironically, the loss is coupled with an increased need for scientists, mathematicians and engineers, at a time when fewer children grow up with an understanding about the world around them. Increasingly, our citizens lack any personal hands-on knowledge about what makes up the mechanical and technological life in the twenty-first century, from how airplanes fly to what makes an electric motor run.

Barbara Peterson's picture

As we engage our students in project based learning, especially STEM projects afterschool, my observation is that students who do video games actually have a good sense of spatial reasoning that they translate into projects. What's most wonderful to watch is their delight in using tools - which they don't get to do much in classrooms today! I need to find a simple assessment to measure gains in spatial reasoning which I know are happening with these hands-on projects! Know of any?

Hubert V. Yee's picture
Hubert V. Yee
social media and marketing manager of startup

Hi Barbara, I found this resource titled "SPATIAL COGNITION AND ITS IMPLICATIONS
FOR DESIGN." hope this helps. There are some assessments that are mentioned in the article.

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