Drawing for design and the TOP 10 Benefits of using Splats in your classroom.

30 October 2019
  • Observe and draw everything! It refreshes curiosity and enhances creativity for design.

    Developing design ideas through drawing stimulates creative and critical thinking. In essence the mind is in a conversation with the hand and drawing represents the thought. What is unappreciated by many is that upon viewing the drawing, the brain now leapfrogs ahead to consider alternate possibilities, encouraging creative ideas and problem solving. It promotes analysis of thought, allowing design concepts to mature and be communicated before committing to one solution.

    Like any skill, drawing as a tool to visually represent what the mind conceives, takes practice; a lot of practice. This is normal! Just like traditional literacy, the earlier we start practising, the easier it is for students to grow their confidence and ability.

    Nurturing this thinking and representing process helps students to unlock their imaginative potential for practising divergent thinking and lateral design.

    When drawing for design on any 2D surface; a piece of paper, a screen or a whiteboard, we are strengthening the neural link between the hand and the mind. Opening up a feedback loop that helps us refine our thoughts. As we explore our thoughts and conceive new design ideas we naturally imagine them in three dimensions, thus the reason why we find drawing to represent these three dimensional thoughts in isometric (3D) so powerful. From constructing with LEGO to designing a rockets, visually communicating ideas in isometric is often the preferred perspective. If in doubt look at the way any three year old first learns to construct using LEGO instructions.

    The benefits of representing our thoughts in 3D through drawing and learning design are varied but are well documented in research and professional practice in industry. To summarise this research I have put together a list of the top ten benefits of using the Splat with your students.


    Drawing and visual thinking is an integral part of the design thinking process. Helping students develop their ability to draw and think in 3D improves their ability to generate ideas and communicate their designs.


    Integrating math into STEM projects has never been so easy. The Splat fuses together the necessary geometric elements to give students the math skills required to design anything their imagination can conceive.


    By encouraging students to visualise concepts through drawing we can help them optimise their cognitive state for learning, generating new ideas and retaining information.


    Drawing in 3D is one of the top 3 ways known to develop visual spatial skills. Research confirms that early development of these skills is linked to long term success in STEM.


    Although visual spatial ability is a learned skill, girls often lack confidence in this area. The Splat provides better access options to learning and developing this skill set for girls.


    The neural link between the hand and the mind means developing a students ability to draw on paper is still the easiest and most efficient way to develop fluency for visual and creative thinking that will enhance students digital capabilities.


    Visual literacy is an important part of overall literacy and see in ACARA General Capabilities. Being able to read drawings and create images to solve a design problem is essential for STEM innovation.


    The Splat aids the development of transferable thinking skills across the curriculum. So whether you are teaching math, critical & creative thinking, graphics technology or woodwork students will benefit broadly from learning to be visual thinkers.

    IT’S FUN

    Research confirms we are more likely to learn when we are relaxed and enjoying the task. The Splat provides students a clear pathway for success, building confidence and engagement.


    True! We are so passionate about seeing the Splat implemented in classrooms that we supply FREE step by step video tutorials & comprehensive written materials for teachers to use.

    References and Further

    • Reading Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2017). Design and Technologies. Retrieved from https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/technologies/design-and-technologies
    • Centre for Education Statistics Evaluation. Cese.nsw.gov.au. (2018). Cognitive Load Theory. [online] Available at: https://www.cese.nsw.gov.au//images/stories/PDF/Cognitive_load_theory_practice_guide_AA.pdf [Accessed 1 Feb. 2019].
    • Gardner, H. (2011). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York, USA: Basic books.
    • Glaser, M. & Thurman, J. (2008). Drawing is thinking. New York, USA: Overlook Press. Harvard Graduate School of Education. (2016). Project Zero: See/Think/Wonder.
    • Lubinski, D. (2010). Spatial ability and STEM: A sleeping giant for talent identification and development. Personality and Individual Differences, 49: 344-351. [Special Issue: Festschrift for Thomas J. Bouchard, Jr., Eds. Matthew McGue & Wendy Johnson.]
    • NSW Education Standards Authority. (2017). Science and technology K-6 syllabus. Sydney
    • Ogunkola, B., & Knight, C. (2018). Does Technical Drawing Increase Students’ Mental Rotation Ability?. Cogent Education, 1489209.
    • Reilly, D., Neumann, D. L., & Andrews, G. (2017). Gender differences in spatial ability: Implications for STEM education and approaches to reducing the gender gap for parents and educators. In M. S. Khine (Ed.), Visual-Spatial Ability: Transforming Research into Practice (pp. 195-224). Switzerland: Springer International. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-44385-0_10
    • Sorby, S. A. (2009). Developing 3-D spatial visualization skills. Engineering Design Graphics Journal, 63(2).
    • Tytler, R. (2016). Drawing to learn in STEM. Paper presented at Australian Council for Educational Research conference 2016: Improving STEM learning. What will it take?, Brisbane, QLD.
    • Can Teaching Spatial Skills Help Bridge the STEM Gender Gap?. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/43802/can-teaching-spatial-skills-help-bridge-the-stem-gender-gap
    • Skill decline and non transferable skill acquisition. Cbsnews.com. (2019). Groundbreaking study examines effects of screen time on kids. [online] Available at: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/groundbreaking-study-examines-effects-of-screen-time-on-kids-60-minutes/?fbclid=IwAR3BC82QKEZ5iPDXVlE-xeQn-Sv8IRauiMEY4lL_d-gA_jvG-SrX9AivMxc [Accessed 1 Feb. 2019].
    • It’s fun! Playful practice is a powerful way to engage learners in skill development -The Conversation. (2019). Play-based learning can set your child up for success at school and beyond. [online] Available at: http://theconversation.com/play-based-learning-can-set-your-child-up-for-success-at-school-and-beyond-91393 [Accessed 1 Feb. 2019].
    • Memory knowledge transfer – Bps.org.uk. (2019). The act of drawing something has a “massive” benefit for memory compared with writing it down | BPS. [online] Available at: https://www.bps.org.uk/news-and-policy/act-drawing-something-has-%E2%80%9Cmassive%E2%80%9D-benefit-memory-compared-writing-it-down [Accessed 11 Feb. 2019]. Imagination Effect. Cese.nsw.gov.au. (2018). Cognitive Load Theory. [online] Available at: https://www.cese.nsw.gov.au//images/stories/PDF/Cognitive_load_theory_practice_guide_AA.pdf [Accessed 1 Feb. 2019]. Design skills – future focused skill Designcouncil.org.uk. (2019). 2018 Design Economy Report. [online] Available at: https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/sites/default/files/asset/document/Design_Economy_2018.pdf [Accessed 1 Feb. 2019].

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