Academics

Spatial Literacy Program

Introducing the Spatial Literacy Program

Join our global effort to train educators of all types in the critical area of spatial literacy. This innovative program, the first at the University of Redlands to be offered online, provides comprehensive knowledge in one of today’s emerging educational fields.



Spatial thinking is used in most occupations, as well as everyday life, to structure problems, find answers, and express solutions. It is increasingly recognized as essential to success in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. In fact, a 2010 report from the National Science Foundation identified spatial thinking on par with quantitative and verbal abilities when predicting achievement in STEM disciplines. Yet spatial thinking is not clearly or systematically integrated in the K-12 curriculum.

This program prepares teachers and others to help their students apply spatial thinking and purposefully address spatial concepts, across all curricular areas and at any developmental level. Supporting technologies such as virtual globes, geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS), as well as tools that facilitate other forms of spatial thinking, will be introduced.

Program Options

Who Can Benefit From This Program?

  • Educators (formal, informal and in-service)
  • Administrators
  • Curriculum designers
  • Boy Scout, Girl Scout and 4-H, and camp leaders
  • Environmental center leaders

What is Spatial Literacy?

Spatial literacy is the confident and competent use of maps, mapping and spatial perspectives to address ideas, situations and challenges. The ability to visualize and interpret location, distance, direction, relationships, movement and change through space is fundamental to content understanding and problem solving. Learning to think spatially is a form of learning how to learn.

Examples of how we use spatial thinking:

  • Reading a map, for our own navigation or to understand patterns
  • Designing any kind of plan or arrangement of information
  • Knowing how, why, and where different groups of people live in different places, and how that affects society and economics
  • Producing and interpreting diagrams, graphs and charts
  • Understanding the weather, the seasons, or time zones
  • Interpreting images, such as x-rays or satellite pictures
  • Assembling an item using illustrated directions 
  • Giving someone directions
  • Playing sports (judging direction, speed, acceleration and movement of a ball, hockey puck, etc.) or dancing

Spatial thinking is used in most occupations, including medicine and public health, architecture, engineering, web site design, photography, hydrology, politics and community organization, computer network administration, plumbing, teaching, marketing and advertising, occupational and physical therapy, fashion design and many more.

Download the program brochure
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

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How large is the main campus?
160 acres

The campus of the University of Redlands covers 160 acres.