Date Approved

10-2013

Date Posted

4-10-2014

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

College of Technology

Committee Member

Dr. Philip Cardon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dr. Konnie Kustron, J.D.

Committee Member

Dr. Pamela Speelman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dr. Patricia Williams-Boyd, Ph.D.

Abstract

This quasi-experimental study investigated the application of visual literacy skills in the form of parametric modeling software in relation to traditional forms of sketching. The study included two groups of high school technical design students. The control and experimental groups involved in the study consisted of two randomly selected groups of students. The participants were exposed to eight weeks of technical drawing and parametric modeling instruction prior to the start of the study.

The potential applications of emerging technologies for the purpose of integrating visual literacy into the curriculum are not fully understood. Society is moving towards a more immediate form of communication (Galante, 2011). Visual forms of communication are becoming more prevalent methods for sending and receiving information. Research suggests that visual literacy skills have a correlation to the ability to problem solve, which ultimately can be beneficial to student learning (Matusitz, 2005). The application of visual literacy skills through the use of parametric modeling software may provide students with better learning experiences in visualization, conceptualization, and communication of images that will allow them to become better problem-solvers.

Through this study, the researcher focused on the relationships between the independent and dependent variables in order to perform a statistical analysis of the data. The participants of the study were presented with a pre-test, a treatment, and a post-test relating to visual literacy. The treatment was presented to the participants in the form of a technical design problem that required the participants to apply problem-solving skills in order to devise a solution through the use of either traditional forms of sketching or through the use of parametric modeling. Data were collected and recorded in order to assess the outcome and effects of the variable.

Although the research suggests that there is a correlation between visual literacy skills and the ability to solve problems, this particular study failed to show this correlation. Struggling learners showed no improvement in visualization skills after using parametric modeling software. The two methods used to create the technical design problem showed no statistical significance between the success of the design and the method that was used to create the design. No statistical differences were found between the visualization skills of any of the participants regardless of the methods used in the study. In addition, gender seemed not to be a significant factor in the study when comparing the visualization skills of the participants.

There are recommendations, based on the results of this study, for future investigation in this area. Increasing the duration of the study over the course of a school term, could produce different results that were difficult to determine by the limited time constraints of this particular study. Other testing methods could be investigated for future studies that could produce additional information that was not produced in this study. Limiting the prior knowledge of the participants could also produce different results in the outcome of visualization skills. Investigating specific demographics that were not included in this study would also be of interest to be the academic community.

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