Design thinking, put quite simply, is a method to solve a problem.
In schools we often have a traditional model of a teacher providing knowledge and a student replicating that knowledge in the form of a project after the knowledge transfer has taken place. Despite this project perhaps being viewed as "hands on learning" and some type of creation made by the student, it is not constructionism just because a student "constructed" something. There was no problem to be solved, only information to be reproduced.
Design thinking is the crucial element that MUST occur BEFORE, DURING and AFTER making happens.
This thinking process is the true evidence of creativity, application and problem solving using what the child already knows and giving them a reason to learn more. This design thinking is a methodology that will encourage the solving of complex problems through ideation and iteration.
Creativity has the potential to help reform education, and yet we have educated our students out of creativity with our factory model classrooms and high stakes testing (Robinson & Aronica, 2015). With the maker movement finding its way into our schools, we have a chance to use design thinking as a way to teach and develop complex skills of creativity. Creativity can and must be taught if we are to prepare students for a world that requires innovators (Wagner & Compton, 2012). This design thinking must be approached with intentionality.
“Unless educators intentionally pursue innovation and creativity as learning outcomes, makerspaces will become “imagination ghettos” where issues of access, purpose, and ownership resemble those common in the cloistered environments of early computer labs and many of today’s shops and students are tasked with cookie cutter activities and trivial projects to complete.” (Crichton & Carter, 2015, p. 3).