Design Thinking for STEM Educators

Welcome to Design Thinking for STEM Educators, the TeachingPartners Live Collaborative presented by NNSTOY.

In the coming months, I’ll be hosting two related TeachingPartners Live Workshops. These workshops present not only my own ideas and experiences but the collective perspectives of a growing cohort of educators and teachers gathered by NNSTOY to share teacher-driven professional learning specifically related to STEM.

This first TeachingPartners Live Workshop introduces an important approach that has been a focus of our early investigations: the impact that “design thinking” has had in many STEM classrooms–and the ways in which design thinking can be introduced in relation to STEM learning no matter what the learning context.

Although teachers sometimes encounter the term “design thinking” in relation to makerspaces and STEM labs, design thinking really isn’t a subject or a topic or a class. Rather, it’s a learning process that immediately strengthens students social emotional learning, problem-solving, risk-taking, and innovation skills. Design thinking taps into student curiosity, and leads students to apply their interests to presenting solutions to an authentic audience. Students create, test, iterate, and present their ideas following the formal steps of the design thinking process: Empathy, Research, Ideation, Prototyping, Iteration, and Presentation. When this process is applied specifically to STEM learning, the results are remarkable.

In this Workshop, I introduce the formal process that shapes the practice of design thinking, and I share why I believe design thinking is helpful for 21st century learners and schools. I present examples of ways in which design thinking is applied in a variety of educational settings, and suggest ways to apply design thinking as a strategy for improving schools and school systems. My aim is to first engage you in the design thinking process and then to help you to respond to a specific Design Challenge. You will leave our time together able to develop a strong action plan for using design thinking within your own classroom

In our first Workshop session, I present the design thinking process; share examples of design thinking in the K-12 classroom; and introduce a Design Thinking Challenge to which you will be asked to respond during our second workshop session.

In our second Workshop session, you have the chance to share the small prototype you’ve developed in response to our shared Design Thinking Challenge. You also have the chance to begin developing an Action Plan for your own classroom.

I hope you will make time to join me on February 7th and then a week later on February 14th. Teachers who take part in both sessions are eligible to receive a Certificate of Participation for six hours of professional learning from NNSTOY and TeachingPartners.

Dyane Smokorowski

In her 17 years in education, Dyane Smokorowski has taught middle school language arts in the Wichita, Renwick and Andover school districts in a project-based classroom focusing on critical thinking, communication, global collaboration and cre... Full Bio

Presented by NNSTOY.

This workshop is part of NNSTOY Collaboratives.