Technical Graphics is one of the technology subjects taught at Junior Certificate level in post- primary schools in Ireland. The Junior Certificate examination is held at the end of the Junior Cycle in post-primary schools, which caters for students aged from 12 to 15 years. As a teacher of Technical Graphics for the past seven years, I have gained a great understanding and insight into the different topics in the subject and how they are perceived by students. I concur with the State Examinations Commission report (2008) that students lack an understanding of the rotation element of transformation geometry, one of the six topics covered on the Junior Cycle Technical Graphics course. The purpose of this study is to implement a new teaching methodology through the use of SolidWorks in an effort to improve the students’ visualization, spatial awareness and understanding of transformation geometry.
I engaged in an action research study of my own practice as I investigated if SolidWorks could actually be used at Junior Certificate level to improve student understanding of transformation geometry. The action research took place over a five-week period and included three cycles of research. The research was carried out with a third-year Junior Cycle group aged between fifteen and sixteen years of age and all students in the class took part in the study. The first stage of the research examined student progress as they worked through the topic following teacher instruction on SolidWorks. The second stage of the research examined the students’ progress as they used the software for themselves. I carried out an assessment task with students towards the end of the study, which showed that student learning had improved in comparison to previous years.
- Action Research
- Technical Graphics
- Transformation Geometry
- Junior Certificate