Investigating student teachers' approach to solving applied analytical graphical problems

Delahunty, T., Seery, N., Lynch, R. and Lane, D. (2013) Investigating student teachers' approach to solving applied analytical graphical problems. pp. 5-22. ISSN 00462012 (ISSN)


Educating for a broad global context and developing problem-solving capacities are fundamental for living in an ever-changing global society. The ability to construct meani ng and apply knowledge in a broad context is crucial within education ' and it is the teachers responsibility to facilitate this within the subject. This focus is difficult to embrace within the traditional formal schooling structures. Students can often achieve quite well by traditional assessment measures but often have difficulty when required to use this learned knowledge in new styles of problems*, Often students pass through the entire schooling system, and perform quite well, but are unable to utilise this learned knowledge in broader contexts, It is futuie graphics educators that must establish the cultural norm. To do this an ability to apply and transfer knowledge from one context to another is crucial. With the objective of analysing the complexities of applying previous graphical knowledge to a new context, groups of student teachers were given an applied analytical task based on the geometry of the regular polyhedra to solve. Prior to the prescribed task, students were given the opportunity to develop their graphical analytical knowledge and spatial skills through the completion of a coursework portfolio based on the content of the puzzle, A visual-verbal protocol analysis, similar to Montagueet al. was employed to evaluate students' approaches to solving the puzzle and their ability to transfer previously learned knowledge and skills to a new situation as well as their ability to work collectively and communicate their ideas. The findings indicate a significant inability to transfer knowledge and skills developed in the coursework portfolio to the new applied analytical task. Despite students' high level of performance in both the portfolio, which assessed graphical knowledge, and the Purdue Spatial Visualisation Test (PSVT), which examines ability to mentally rotate three-dimensional objects, many students were unable to employ an efficient approach to solving the applied analytical task. The paper discusses some key variables relating to performance in the applied analytical task and forms the basis for further research in the area. © 2012 American Society for Engineering Education.

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