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  • Spatial thinking skills...taxonomized
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Just as spatial understandings can organized into simpler versus more complex concepts, our thinking about space can similarly be sorted.

Geography educators spend a lot of time working this out. Their field relies upon the development of highly sophisticated spatial thinking skills, so new members need to be introduced to these skills.

Sarah Bednarz is a geography educator with a looooong list of publications; you're almost guaranteed to run into her scholarship if you research any topic in geography ed. She has created a taxonomy of spatial thinking skills and has (naturally) produced a visual representation of these skills in (naturally) a three-dimensional space. (Link tolarger version.)

You will recognize many of the concepts from the Golledge chapter I drew from in the previous section. In addition to moving from simple (bottom layer) to complex (top layer), she has also sorted them into "Input", "Processing", and "Output", which have some rough correlation to the levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. 

The point of this graphic (and journal article, if you wish to read further) is not that you memorize the entire thing but that you recognize that when teaching/communicating a spatial concept, or when conducting your own spatial analyses, work from the bottom to the top: start with simple understandings about space and gradually move towards the more complex tasks. Recognize when you're looking for input (e.g., data for a map), when you're processing (analyzing what you found), and when you're generating output (producing different map views to communicate your analysis). Keeping this framework in mind will help you keep your sanity as you move up the learning curve required by working with geospatial tools. 

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