Instructional geographic information science: map overlay and spatial abilities

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Thomas Alexander Tricot II (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Rick Bunch

Abstract: The fundamental goal of this study is to determine if the complex spatial concept of map overlay can be effectively learned by young adolescents through the utilization of an instructional technique based within the foundations of Instructional Geographic Information Science (InGIScience). Percent correct and reaction times were the measures used to analyze the ability of young adolescents to learn the intersect, erase, and union functions of map overlay. The ability to solve for missing inputs, output, or function was also analyzed. Young adolescents of the test group scored higher percent correct and recorded faster reaction times than those of the control group or adults of the expert group by the end of the experiment. The intersect function of map overlay was more difficult in terms of percent correct and reaction time than the erase or union functions. Solving for the first or second input consistently resulted in lower percent correct and higher reaction times throughout the experiment. No overall performance differences were shown to exist between males and females. Results of a subjective "real-world" test also indicated learning by young adolescents. This study has shown that the practice of repetitive instruction and testing has proven effective for enhancing spatial abilities with regard to the map overlay concept. This study found that with practice, young adolescents can learn the map overlay concept and perform at levels equal to or greater than adults. This study has helped to answer the question of whether this development of spatial abilities is possible.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2010
Educational psychology, Geographic education, Geography, GIS, Map overlay, Spatial cognition
Educational psychology.
Learning, Psychology of.
Spatial ability.
Spatial ability $x Testing.
Middle school students $x Ability testing.
Geographic information systems.

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