by Charlotte Bentley
Last Monday, April 4th, the NOVA Lab classes ventured beyond the walls of room 121 to visit Fluxspace, a collaborative learning space located in Norristown. For most of the group, it was our second time at Fluxspace, as we had gone back in November of 2021; during that trip, we gave presentations on design sprints we had completed in a matter of weeks. This time, the students were tasked with presenting the projects that we have been working on for months. Writing in a blog post following the field trip, Ava Bellino described how this visit was “more real” because the presentation “mattered so much more this time around.”
Other students wrote how the wonder of being in Fluxspace, designed for innovation and creation, had worn off since the first trip. However, for most this was not a concern: the space was familiar and comfortable now, especially with such a daunting task approaching.
Charging the room with the innovative spirit was guest speaker Jordan Deane, a graduate of Perkiomen Valley who started his own business, a fitness studio called Cut Loose, with his fiancee, Emily. Charismatic and honest, Jordan quickly earned the admiration of his audience of NOVA Lab students. Following his presentation, the couple offered personal advice to help students build up their own brands and advertise on social media. Later, both Jordan and Emily would serve as panelists during presentations, providing feedback that student Casey Sitron described as “invigorating.”
Then came the presentations. Split between the central screen and a smaller one in the Makerspace, students took the plunge to illustrate to the panelists the months worth of work that had gone into their projects. Anxiety was high, but many were comforted by the sense that their presentation skills had improved since their first visit. The passion in every presenter’s voice was clear, as was the pride in Mr. Heidt’s face as he observed quietly and took copious amounts of pictures.
Perhaps the single most valuable moment from the entire trip came not during the presentations, but after. The panelists offered feedback to each presenter, in the form of questions and advice regarding the project. Across nearly every blog post written by a NOVA Lab student following the field trip, feedback was mentioned as one of the greatest benefits of visiting Fluxspace. Suggesting improvements and providing validation and new ideas, the panelists gave students a fresh perspective and ways to move forward heading into the spring.
Matt Schafer commented on the constructive nature of the feedback he received, describing how while his presentation went well, “what was greater was the connections that we made.” Indeed, as presentations finished and students gathered in front of the central screen, we were able to watch the final speakers together. After only hearing and catching glimpses of our classmates’ projects, watching them all unfold in a space as special as Fluxspace was inspiring
Our day spent at Fluxspace was a grounding, yet refreshing experience for the two classes. After months of working on our deeply personal pursuits, being able to finally share them refocused us on the message behind not only our own projects, but Mr. Heidt’s NOVA Lab as a whole: that we all have the potential to do good things.