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Sheryl A. Sorby & Thomas Drummer Michigan Technological University PowerPoint Presentation
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Sheryl A. Sorby & Thomas Drummer Michigan Technological University

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Sheryl A. Sorby & Thomas Drummer Michigan Technological University

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  1. Evaluation of Multimedia Software and a Workbook Designed to Improve 3-D Spatial Skills of Engineering Students Sheryl A. Sorby & Thomas Drummer Michigan Technological University

  2. Background • Spatial skills are important for success in technical fields • Especially important for success in engineering graphics • Significant gender differences in 3-D spatial skills, favoring males • Gender differences cross international boundaries • Poorly developed spatial skills may lead women to drop out of engineering at a disproportionate rate

  3. Assessing Spatial Skills-Purdue Spatial Visualization Test: Rotations (PSVT:R)

  4. Assessing Spatial Skills-Mental Cutting Test (MCT)

  5. Assessing Spatial Skills-Differential Aptitude Test: Space Relations (DAT:SR)

  6. Spatial Skills Class at Michigan Tech • Initially developed in 1993 with funding from the National Science Foundation • Additional funding in 1998 led to development of multimedia software and workbook • Class modified significantly in 2000 to include software and workbook

  7. Multimedia Software and Workbook • Developed in 1998-99 with funding from the National Science Foundation • Consist of 9 separate modules designed to enhance 3-D spatial skills • Each module consists of Background and Exercises sections • Software is stand-alone and works on either a Mac or PC • Published by Delmar Learning in 2002

  8. Assessment of Multimedia Software • Students given attitudinal surveys rating various aspects of the software • Ratings given by module and overall • Ratings were on a 1-4 scale • Students asked to rate such things as ease of understanding, ease of use, etc.

  9. Results from Attitudinal Surveys of Individual Modules

  10. Student Overall Ratings

  11. Student Overall Ratings (cont.)

  12. Assessment of Gains on Spatial Skills Test-PSVT:R

  13. Assessment of Gains on Spatial Skills Test-MCT

  14. Assessment of Gains on Spatial Skills Test-DAT:SR

  15. Improvement in Retention Rates Differences in Retention Rates for Women were Statistically Significant but those for Men were not

  16. Current Project • New course using multimedia software and workbook seems to be effective • Similar or better gains on spatial skills tests • Similar retention rates for men and women in engineering • Research Questions: Is the software alone as effective as when it is used in conjunction with the workbook in developing spatial skills? and Can the materials be used effectively with non-engineering students?

  17. Study Groups • 170 non-engineering students participated in the study • Most from either Biology or Computer Science • Divided into four groups • Software alone, Workbook alone, Software and Workbook, and Comparison • Treatment groups participated in ten weeks of training in 2-hour sessions each week • Tried to balance groups for gender, major, and PSVT:R pre-test score • Comparison group invited back for post-test at end of 10-week period

  18. Gains on Spatial Skills Tests-PSVT:R

  19. Gains on Spatial Skills Tests-MCT

  20. Testing Data • Each group had one or two data points that appeared to be outliers • For example in SW group, one foreign-born student had pre-test of 17% and post-test of 92%. • Her English skills improved dramatically over 10-week period • Large gain could be due to improvements in language skills more than to improvements in spatial skills • Data analyzed using a nonparametric logistic regression model

  21. Logistic Regression Results • Both groups that used the workbook were significantly better than the CG • Software only group was not better than CG

  22. Attitudinal Survey and Results • Students in EG were administered an attitudinal survey at end of training period • 62% would have preferred using the software alone for training even though it was least effective • Less time involved • Female students spent more time completing the training materials for all groups

  23. Attitudinal Survey and Results • Male students expressed greater confidence in their spatial skills at beginning of study • Question asked retrospectively

  24. Attitudinal Survey and Results • Women preferred the use of manipulatives and working in groups • Female students expressed higher level of learning

  25. Conclusions • Multimedia software and workbook developed for use with engineering students is suitable for use with non-engineers • Software alone does not seem to be as effective as when used in conjunction with the workbook • There were gender differences in the type of training preferred and in the perceived level of learning

  26. Acknowledgement • The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of this project from the National Science Foundation through grant number HRD-0429020