Intellectual Virtues Academy: Public High School

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Innovation Lab » Innovation Lab

Innovation Lab


Course Overview:

Students who take this semester elective will be given time and space to explore topics (academic or non-academic) they are passionate about. Students will propose, research, find mentors, and create four projects. Since students will pursue their passions, they will be in the driver's seat for these projects - including determining standards reached, finding research content, presentation form. We will work as a class to learn good brainstorming techniques, exploring passions, and work toward professional social media usage. This class will rely heavily on social media, including students collaborating frequently with mentors online. Students will be required to maintain and update a blog throughout the semester. Assessment will take numerous forms - face-to-face conferencing, written updates, final projects, and presentations. Each student will take part in a TED-style talk once during the semester.


Innovation Lab is a project-based, passion-based course in which students can have time and space to create their own learning experiences and collaborate with experts from around the world. It is also a place where students learn by doing and creating, rather than passively listing to a set of directions and pre-determined outcomes. The focus is less on compliance and more on self-discovery and the pursuit of curiosity and knowledge building. Innovation accurately describes what will take place within this classroom. The concept is based on what others describe as 20% time or Genius Hour, Google Time, and Maker Space. Through this course students will be heavily involved in their process of learning, by celebrating their success and failing. Failure helps to create better outcomes where students will have more meaningful experiences because innovation is always a work in progress.


Students will innovate by using a fresh approach to solving real problems with the resources they have and finding clever ways around the resources they do or do not have. Hence, student will bring new solution to problems that arise in a changing environment through innovation to address the demands of our changing economy and marketplace. This class will never stop evolving, as students utilize collaboration to make the shift from being consumers to content-originators and producers. Most importantly, students will be asked to take ownership of their education and given the challenge to prove they have mastered the required standards by having the freedom to choose the method for completing the projects they choose. There will be a reversal of traditional roles in the classroom where students will be in charge of their own learning as the teacher remains available for support and guidance. The teacher’s role will be to help students achieve their goals and help facilitate learning, help manage projects, and make connections. Essentially, this course will provide students with experiences to grow by collaborating, creating a culture of positive failure, and allowing them the freedom to research and pursue what is important to them by establishing a culture of innovation and leadership.