Stretch, Dream, and Do - A 21st Century Design Thinking & STEM Journey
This paper describes the journey of d.Loft STEM Learning, a project of The National Science Foundation ITEST program, which supports building knowledge about approaches, models, and interventions involving K-12 education to increase the nation’s capacity and innovation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. d.Loft STEM Learning used design thinking as an underlying theoretical and pedagogical approach to enhance STEM learning. Design thinking is a human-centered, prototype-driven innovation process and a series of mindsets that provides a robust scaffold for divergent problem-solving. This paper describes how the design thinking provided a frame within which mentorship and STEM learning thrived, and suggests new ways to conceptualize student learning and teacher practice in 21st century learning contexts.