NuVu has let me find a more motivated, more passionate, and happier version of myself. NuVu is the reason I’m happy about getting up before noon…though I’m not a morning person.
FACTS & FIGURES
Architectural studio model
Ages of learners served
Unique studios (hands-on interdisciplinary courses) designed and run to date
Learner produced projects across different disciplinary areas
Graduates who’ve matriculated from NuVu and gone onto college
Launched NuVuX network with seven participating learning environments
WHEN YOU PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL NUVU STUDIO, you’re greeted with a kind “hello” and a raucous environment going on in the background. The noise isn’t out of the ordinary. As Saba Ghole, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, casually says, “This is NuVu.”
What is NuVu? Beyond the bustle, NuVu is a no classrooms, no subjects, no age cohorts, no A-F grades learner-centered environment that serves young people between the ages of 11-18. Learners take on multidisciplinary projects, most commonly on a two-week timeline, within a socially embedded environment that gives “collaboration” an entirely new meaning.
The open-ended projects at NuVu allow learners to make their learning personalized, relevant, and contextualized based on their interests and passions. Each project is led by a mentor (they are called “Coach” at NuVu) who is a professional from the field and includes graduates of Harvard or MIT. The Coach provides expertise on the subject matter most relevant to the project. Through this mentoring partnership, learners receive daily feedback and engage in daily reflection on their learning progress. This results in a more natural competency-based portfolio structure unabated by state curriculum requirements.
So, what does learning look like in action at NuVu? Let’s use Noah and Devin as an example. These two learners took an interest in the motor skill development of children with cerebral palsy. To gain a robust understanding of the challenges these children face, the duo took advantage of the open-walled opportunities at NuVu by connecting with occupational therapists. Through these conversations, they learned children with cerebral palsy often have to buy specialized clothing that doesn’t require buttoning or zipping. These common tasks are simply too difficult and frustrating.
Noah and Devin, unleashing the learner agency they developed at NuVu, wanted to create a product that would allow these children to practice their motor skills in a fun and engaging way. They wanted to turn “difficult” and “frustrating” into “fun” and “engaging.” Noah and Devin believed with this tool, as the children grew older, they would have the freedom to wear any clothes their hearts desired. After conducting diligent research and producing multiple prototypes, the learners came up with a Skills Vest. This wearable vest has farm-themed objects that, when played with, enhance the user’s development in fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, zipping, pulling, and more.
When it’s all said and done, the learning that goes on at NuVu can’t be described in a single sentence or a single phrase like “project-based learning.” We can hardly express their dynamic learning in these few paragraphs. For their work to be truly appreciated, you must visit Cambridge, Massachusetts and experience it yourself. So, go ahead. Pick up the phone, say “hello,” and imagine what’s being created today as you listen to the sweet sound of learning in the background.
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