Design Thinking and Universal Design for Learning for Makerspaces, STEM and STEAM

Location: Room Hemisfair Ballroom 3

Participate and share

[Participate and share : Interactive lecture]

Monday, June 26, 11:30 am–12:30 pm
Location: Room Hemisfair Ballroom 3

Barbara Bray   Dr. Jaclyn Gerstein  
Use the design thinking process to address STEM and STEAM, and discover how students can advance their knowledge with Universal Design for Learning. We'll help you redesign your learning space based on these principles to meet students’ needs and encourage voice, choice, creativity, innovation and fun in the classroom.

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS
Laptop: PC, Chromebook, Mac
Tablet: Android, iOS
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Any browser that allows access to Google Drive - we plan to put our presentation in Google.
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Constructivist learning/maker movement
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: Teachers : Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments
Teachers : Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity
Students : Innovative designer
Related exhibitors: Steelcase Education , KinderLab Robotics, Inc. , LEGO Education , littleBits , PASCO scientific , Tech4Learning, Inc. , Tynker , Piper , Level Up Village , Makeblock

Digital tote resources
Description: Design Thinking Process and UDL Planning Tool
Add to digital tote | Go to my digital tote
Description: Google slides of Design Thinking, UDL, Makerspaces
Add to digital tote | Go to my digital tote
Description: Attendee Resource URL
Add to digital tote | Go to my digital tote

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective


The purpose of this session is to provide practical strategies for teachers to redesign their classroom to encourage innovative activities around STEM and STEAM. In the process, teachers will learn how to encourage students' voice and choice around the design and resources available for their Makerspace in their classroom.

Models employed:

Universal Design for Learning is based on neuroscience and how we learn. When you introduce the idea of redesigning classrooms or creating a Makerspaces, teachers are challenged on how to design an environment that meets the needs of all learners. UDL provides a framework that guides this process based on how learners learn best. The Design Thinking process addresses empathy as the first step. This makes any problem or challenge relevant to students.

Technology intervention examples:

Google docs for collaboration during the session
Create a Gamibot –
Develop the Backstory for the Gamibot: Report via a Blog Post or Voki
Extension: Code a Friend for the Gamibot Using Scratch or Tynker

Example Elementary Lesson:

Design thinking is an approach to learning that includes considering real-world problems, research, analysis, conceiving original ideas, lots of experimentation, and sometimes building things by hand. The projects teach students how to make a stable product, use tools, think about the needs of another, solve challenges, overcome setbacks and stay motivated on a long-term problem. The projects also teach students to build on the ideas of others, vet sources, generate questions, deeply analyze topics, and think creatively and analytically. Many of those same qualities are goals of the Common Core State Standards. We will walk the participants through this lesson as an example:

Evidence of Success:

Prototypes and reflections on the process from the example lesson will be shared. Virtual gallery walk of participant's redesigns.

Objectives for this session:

Participants will know and be able to:

  • create a Class Learning Snapshot of four learners in their class.

  • use the Design Thinking Process to redesign the classroom based on the Class Learning Snapshot.

  • work collaboratively to choose resources for the Class Learning Toolkit that will support STEM and STEAM.

Ease of Replication

All the resources will be available on the links provided including the step by step process.

Presenter knowledge and experience:

Barbara Bray has extensive knowledge in personalizing learning using the Universal Design for Learning principles. She has provided coaching and PD around project-based learning and redesign learning environments for over 20 years and is excited about the Design Thinking process bring everything together.

Dr. Jackie Gerstein has written numerous articles and books around the Educator with the Makerspace Mindset. She has presented internationally on focusing on moving to learner-centered environments and is now working with elementary children around Design Thinking, STEM and STEAM.


I. Introductions (5 min)

A. Introducing presenters and take-aways for interactive lecture
B. Poll for prior knowledge (Kahoot) choosing what concept best familiar with: Design Thinking Process, Makerspaces, Universal Design for Learning, STEAM

II. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) (12 min)

A. Overview of UDL and Access, Engage, and Express (

B. Example Class Learning Snapshot (CLS) involving 4 diverse learners

C. Create a CLS for 4 learners in their class

III. Design Thinking Process (13 min)

A. Overview and Introduction of Design Thinking Process

B. Introduce Design Thinking: An Elementary Level Example -

C. Design Thinking and Doing Micro-credential

IV. Redesign Space (18 min)

A. Participants identify their own space that needs redesigning.
B. Introduce Class Learning Toolkit (CLT) to include resources needed for STEM and STEAM.
C. Use Google doc template and learners from CLS to redesign classroom.

V. Virtual Gallery Walk & Q&A (12 min)

A. Participants share redesigns and describe why they chose the design they based on their students.

B. Presenters will answer questions and share any designs to the whole group.

Supporting research


Bray, B. & McClaskey, K. How to Personalize Learning: A Practical Guide for Getting Started and Going Deeper. 2017. Corwin Press.

Bray, B. & McClaskey, K. Make Learning Personal. 2015. Corwin Press.

Couros, G. Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity. 2015. Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.

Gerstein, J. Educator as a Maker Educator. eBook. 2016.

Robinson, Ken with Lou Aronica. Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That's Transforming Education. 2016. Penguin Books.


Connecting the Maker Movement to Authentic Learning. 2015, September 27. Retrieved from

Bray, B. & McClaskey, K. Continuum of Voice design by Duckworth, S.

Bray, B. & McClaskey, K. Continuum of Choice design by Duckworth, S.

Couros, G. (2015, September 14) Innovation has no age barrier. Retrieved from

Delzer, K. (2016, April 22) Flexible Seating and Student-Centered Classroom Design. Retrieved from

Gerstein, J. (2015, August 9). Today's Education Should Be About Giving Learners Voice and Choice Retrieved from:

Personalize Learning -

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Center for Applied Special Technology.



Barbara Bray, Rethinking Learning

Barbara is a creative learning strategist who is on a mission to transform learning so all learners have agency. She is owner/founder of My eCoach (, blogs at Rethinking Learning ( and is a co-founder of Personalize Learning, LLC. She co-authored Make Learning Personal and How to Personalize Learning. Barbara uses design thinking and Universal Design for Learning to create a process for teachers and learners to create, tinker, explore, discover, and innovate to bring joy and wonder to learning.

Dr. Jaclyn Gerstein, Boise State U. & Santa Fe Public School

Dr. Jackie Gerstein's byline is, "I don't do teaching for a living. I live teaching as my doing . . . and technology has amplified my passion for doing so." She teaches graduate-level online courses in educational technology for Boise State, Walden, and Western's Governors' Universities; and teaches elementary-level gifted education. Her background includes a strong focus on experiential and adventure learning, which she brings into her online teaching. She believes that one of the roles and responsibilities of the 21st century educator is to share resources, ideas, and instructional strategies with other educators. She blogs at and tweets at @jackiegerstein.

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June 25-28, 2017

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