What is spatial thinking? For one thing, it is the ability to apply concepts like height, depth, and distance to comprehend the natural and social universe. The concept of spatial thinking isn’t new, though the identification of the need to promote spatial literacy is. Introduced early in a student’s education, the development of spatial literacy can open new doors to learning and help unveil the complexity and dynamics of real-world problems. At the university level, spatial technologies such as geographic information systems (GIS) can be applied to a huge range of problems to reveal previously unseen patterns and trends. Insights from seemingly unrelated disciplines-black studies and computer science, for example – can be applied to emerging questions.

spatial@ucsb is already making a difference.

The creation of spatial@ucsb is helping to catalyze global interest in integrating spatial thinking into a host of disciplines for teaching and research. It is helping educators to identify what curricula and resources are needed to better teach spatial thinking. It is stimulating research on tools for and applications of spatial thinking. It is encouraging disciplines at UC Santa Barbara and beyond to consider how the application of spatial thinking will enhance their teaching and research. And it is bringing together the world’s leaders in spatial thinking through research seminars, workshops, and other events.

Last modified: April 14, 2014