Meet the Class and Teacher: Resources

What’s this class about?

Well, it is an attempt to answer the question, “What would a class look like if it focused on helping students develop purpose, a healthy sense of self, and a vision for their lives?…If learning were driven by the search for meaning rather than mandate?”  We are so busy in schools getting students to comply with rules and consume curricula stuffed with forgettable often irrelevant facts that most students never have a chance to pursue purposeful, meaningful learning.

So in essence, this is a class dedicated to purpose, meaning, and the nurturing of human flourishing.

Purpose is at the core of this class, as evidenced by our use of Project Wayfinder–A purpose-based learning curriculum out of Stanford.  (Visit the site. I implore you!  I cannot say enough about what they’ve created…but here are four blog posts where I’ve tried.)

So a good part of this class is about wayfinding–using our own knowledge and sense of the world to create paths through the often turbulent waters of life.  But if you need something more concrete, you received the opening newsletter via e-mail in late August.

Here’s my road map, at least as I see it in year 1, week 2:

road map
Big thanks to Don Wettrick and his work, especially the book, Pure Genius

We’re taking this trip because the world is changing faster than we’ve been able to keep up. Our work in NOVA Lab is to provide the space and the Deep Time to allow students to think, create, and establish themselves as purposeful learners whose work has an impact not only on them personally, but on larger communities.

There are a series of questions driving us in this class.  First, the operating system for the 21st century:

Who am I?  Who are we?  What matters to me?  What am I going to do about it?

But perhaps the two most important questions driving us are these:

Why are things the way they are...

Here is the one-page overview that breaks down my argument for the necessity of such a class and how the learning here is different.

Essentially, NOVA Lab is a space we’ve created to help guide students to Deeper Learning through Deep Time and IDEAS (see image below–please note that’s my own work…somewhat proprietory in nature as I’m working on building it out with a consulting group I’m starting a partnership with).

I.D.E.A.S. Deeper Learning Design

In the end, I want to thank you for having sons and daughters who are courageous enough to be first adopters.  That they came into this space that we shaped for them and were willing to do something different with their education is a huge investment (see this video).  I promise that with work and direction, they will receive a large return, and they will help leave a legacy–this class– that will help change the education of hundreds of students in the future and in doing so, will make the world a better place.

Help us out!!!!

Can you offer expertise or time to mentor students?  Or maybe  come into the class to speak to us about start-ups, business, or things like project management?

Please sign-up on the google doc here and e-mail me at  Thank you

Information about Mr. Heidt:

I’m a teacher with 26 years in Middle, College, and High School Classrooms who has found his way to championing Design Thinking, Project Based Learning, and Student Guided Inquiry.

I work with two national design-based learning networks:  Design-ed and The Design Learning Network.

I also ran the national Middle School pilot for The Creativity Hub’s “Extraordinaires Design Studio” product.  We were focused on building empathy to help guide problem finding and solving in middle school students.  (See posts on this activity in the menu bar at my other blog, “Only Connect.”)

I am the Director of Learning for the Philadelphia-Based Educational Design Consultancy, “Form and Faculty,” and I blog there occasionally.  For example…

My Personal blog about Education is called “Only Connect.

I tweet:  @Ed_by_Design

Currently on hiatus, but still full of a few interesting, if wholly unproduced, videos is — My YouTube Channel

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