I have been to the Mountain Top…

I ran across this article today and was reminded of some of the background work that went into the creation of inNOVAtion Lab.  In the summer of 2015, accompanied by my superintendent and our STEM coordinator, I visited Lehigh’s Mountain Top Program.  We were led through the space by Dr. Sarah Stanlick.  The immensity of the space was matched only by the immensity of the scope of the students’ projects.

Our visit to the Mountaintop was precipitated by our district’s slowly growing focus on student-driven learning.  After hearing about the program from a neighboring district’s Director of Learning and Innovation, I knew we had to visit.   I wasn’t disappointed.  The space and the work we could see all exuded a feeling of authenticity and students who owned the learning.

I knew, after visiting Moutaintop, we could do this at my district.

While it may have taken a few years, we achieved a semester-long iteration of the class and then, a few years later, a full year during which students learn about innovation, project management, and how to take charge of their own learning by setting goals, determining criteria for success, and employing  design thinking as the heuristic that drives the learning.

inNOVAtion Lab is that class.   We’re on a roll.  Follow our progress as we transition from guided projects to student-driven work over the next few weeks.

Thank you Lehigh University for helping us find our way to new, purposeful learning experiences for our students.

featured image via Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times

Published by Garreth Heidt

Designerly Minded High School Humanities and Liberal Studies Teacher Faculty Mentor FIRST Robotics Team #7414--PV Retrobotics. Constantly learning, trying to be more a maker and less a consumer of culture. I believe in the infinite value of a liberal education and the power of design thinking to help make the world a better place.

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