Current Research, Design, and Outreach Projects:
Funded by the National Science Foundation (2016 - 2019), the Play in the Making project supported the engagement of middle school students with diverse backgrounds in making through designing games around real-world problems using the design thinking process in schools and libraries. Students utilized both low and high-tech tools and go through empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test cycles to create games that raise awareness or teach others about a topic that they and their communities care about. As part of the project, the research team worked closely with three middle school science teachers in California and three librarians in Arizona to facilitate teaching and learning design thinking in the context of making. Parents were also invited to participate in different stages of the design process as informants, co-designers, and user testers to support students’ learning.