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Makerspaces, Design Thinking + Play for Online Learning

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Friday, December 4, 1:30–2:30 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Caitlin Quarrington  
Abbey Ramdeo  

Tinkering, making and design thinking all integrate hands-on STEM and problem-solving. We will look at how to create a virtual makerspace and leverage online learning. Learn how makerspaces can be incorporated into diverse contexts, regardless of budget or space, and get support for creative prompts and project ideas.

Audience: Coaches, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Topic: Maker activities & programs
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Computer science
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.
For Students:
Innovative Designer
  • Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.
  • Students develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design process.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

This section makes connections between creativity and design thinking/engineering design, makerspaces, and STEM curriculum. Fostering creative problem-solving through prototyping and iterative design builds opportunities for students to experiment with real-world applications of knowledge. Further, the design thinking cycle presents a powerful framework for education, where interdisciplinary connections can be made and user-centered solutions can be explored.

We'll introduce several tech-based tools for virtual creation and making, including Tinkercad, Scratch, and Chrome Music Lab. By leveraging technology for tinkering exploration, students explore project-based learning in hands-on ways - even when learning online.

The session will also share prototyping as a way of visually presenting ideas and facing real-world challenges, emphasizing applicability to current issues students face, and connections to relevant STEM curriculum. Through this session, educators will feel equipped with theory and experiential knowledge of ways in which iterative design, creativity prompts, and maker education can play a part in supporting students in diverse learning environments.

Supporting research

There are a multitude of resources that both presenters have used to inform this work, in particular the elements of design thinking and how it connects to makerspace education. Some of this research includes:

IDEO's Design Thinking Framework:
IDI's Innovation Design Process:
Stanford's dSchool Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking:
Stanford's K12 Lab Network Wiki for Design Thinking:
The Art of Education University:
15 TED Talks that Inspire Design Thinking:

More [+]


Caitlin Quarrington, Actua

As an educator, researcher, and science communicator, I have worked in STEM education for over 15 years in K-12 classrooms and beyond. Currently with the non-profit Actua, I design creative, innovative learning experiences for youth and teachers across Canada. Actua's professional development initiatives build meaningful relationships between teachers and post-secondary programs, creating interdisciplinary connections for hands-on exploration. My areas of expertise include design thinking, digital literacy including AI, and Indigenous STEM education. I have an MA in Critical and Creative Thinking (UMass Boston) and a B.Sc. Honors and B.Ed. specializing in secondary science.

Abbey Ramdeo, Actua

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