Why are Visual Thinking Skills Valuable?
This page has links to articles and research that have shown that visual thinking skills are useful and that they can be developed.
- The impact of an intervention program on students’ spatial reasoning: student engagement through mathematics-enhanced learning activities (2018) by T Lowrie, T Logan, D Harris, & M Hegarty. Comprehensive article with 42 references.
Quotes: “Spatial reasoning skill has consistently been found to be malleable….Children in the experimental classes outperformed the control classes on spatial reasoning at the conclusion of the program….This paper provides evidence for the effectiveness of a rich spatial training program delivered within a learning framework. This program has applications for spatial thinking in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.”
- Spatial reasoning skills about 2D representations of 3D geometrical shapes in grades 4 to 9 (2020) Extensive article with 23 references.
Quotes: “We found that using either spatial visualization or property-based spatial analytic reasoning is not enough for the problems that required more than one step of reasoning, but also that these two skills have to be harmonized by domain-specific knowledge in order to overcome the perceptual appearance (or “look”) of the given diagram. We argue that more opportunities might be given to both primary and secondary school students in which they can exercise not only their spatial reasoning skills but also consolidate and use their existing domain-specific knowledge of geometry for productive reasoning in geometry.”
- Effects of Spatial Training on Mathematics in First and Sixth Grade Children (2020) by K Mix, S Levine, C Susan,; Y Cheng, J Stockton, C Bower. A pretest-training-posttest design assessed whether training to improve spatial skills also improved mathematics performance in elementary-aged children.
Quotes: “Spatial training led to better overall mathematics performance in both grades, and the gains were significantly greater than for language arts training. The same effects were found regardless of spatial training type, or the type of mathematics tested.”
- The Influence of Spatial Visualization Training on Students’ Spatial Reasoning and Mathematics Performance (2019) by T Lowrie, T Logan, & M Hegarty. Studied 327 students in 17 classrooms. 7 references.
Quotes: “These results add to evidence that a spatial reasoning enrichment program implemented by teachers in their own classrooms can enhance both spatial reasoning and mathematics performance. Moreover, the study provides new insights about the aspects of mathematics performance that are most affected by spatial visualization training.”
- Investigation of the Relationship between the Spatial Visualization Success and Visual/Spatial Intelligence Capabilities of Sixth Grade Students (2015) K Yenilmez & O Kakmaci
Quotes: “The main aim of this research was to examine the relationship between the spatial visualization success and visual/spatial intelligence capabilities of sixth grade students….According to the results of the study, there were significant differences among students’ spatial visualization success.”
- The Importance of Spatial Visualization and Cognitive Development for Geometry Learning in Preservice Elementary Teachers (1982) M Battista, G Wheatley, & G Talsma. 23 references in 1982. I include this because if it’s historical significance and the fact that Michael Battista is a titan among math education faculty.
- When Students Acquire Spatial Skills, Their Verbal Abilities Get a Boost – Learning to visualize objects might improve thinking in words, a finding that could enhance teaching methods. By Emily Willingham.
- Why Visual Learning and Teaching? (2019) blog post at Insight Resources. All curriculum areas. Lists 8 benefits of visual learning and teaching.
- What we know about visual thinking and learning (2018) by L Marentette. All curriculum areas. Numerous references. Lists 8 summary points from research and educational practices.
- Visualizing Mathematics: The Role of Spatial Reasoning in Mathematical Thought (2018) K Mix and M Battista editors. 19 Chapters.
- Spatial visualization ability article from Wilipedia