Research Projects

SellSTEM has 15 early stage researchers (ESRs) each conducting an individual research project at doctoral level.  There are 5 ESRs in each research WP.

WP3 Cognition

At Universtiy of Regensburg, ESR1 will develop a model to describe the emerging relationship between spatial ability development, motor function, working memory and demographics, including gender, among 4 to 6 year olds.
ESR2, based in University of Koblenz · Landau, will focus on age group 7 to 9 years old in a cross-sectional design combined with a smaller longitudinal sample. Issues of self-efficacy and stereotyping among this age group will be examined in relation to spatial ability by gender.
ESR3 in NTNU will shed new light on the relative contribution of nature and nurture to spatial ability development in order to identify which factors of spatial ability (2-D, 3-D, intrinsic & dynamic) are more malleable than others and, therefore, can be developed through training, a key issue for WP4.
At Bangor University, ESR4 will study the role of spatial ability in mental representations of STEM tasks, using language analysis to investigate the specific ways in which spatial ability affects STEM task success.
ESR5 in TU Dublin will employ exploratory factor analysis to measure how spatial ability interacts math anxiety, STEM self-efficacy, ranking of subject choice from most to least favourite and working memory development to identify key factors in determining STEM subject choice and career aspirations in Europe today.

WP4 Development

Based in University of Salzburg, ESR6 and ESR9 will investigate principles of design in online learning and how it can be optimised through tailored feedback to promote spatial ability development. Their research will be guided by a theoretical framework for spatial ability development that is based on findings from research in mathematical and geometry education, visual perception, spatial ability, and neurology.
At Leiden University ESR7 will open up a new area of research in spatial ability development not currently addressed in school-based interventions, namely the role of working memory in learning highly spatial STEM tasks.
Educational design research, a systematic way of designing, developing and evaluating educational strategies and products often in naturalistic settings, will be applied to the integrated development of spatial ability in STEAM project work by ESR8 based at TU Delft.
At TU Dublin, ESR10 will open up a new research topic: how engagement with STEM outreach varies by gender and spatial ability level. Working with staff and children aged 8 to 15 in Dreamspace, a STEM outreach centre operated by Microsoft Ireland.

WP5 Pedagogy

At TU Dublin, ESR11 will conduct a phenomenographic study of teachers’ approaches to developing spatial ability among boys and girls of different ages.
Working at KTH, ESR12 will investigate why some countries (i) outperform others and (ii) have a greater gender gap on tests of spatial ability.
ESR13 will work with teachers of children aged 4 to 7 in a local school near TU Delft and will examine how to facilitate increased spatial development and thinking in STEM topics by applying design-based research to create craft or design-and-make project-based learning activities.
ESR14 will work with teachers of children aged 8 to 12 in near University of Latvia and will focus on how to concurrently teach spatial ability, geometry and problem solving within the mathematics curriculum.
Based in TU Dublin and overlapping in context with ESR8 and10, ESR15 will measure the relationship between spatial ability level and engagement with maker space workshop, in particular how children with low and high spatial ability engage with maker activities and how this interacts with gender.