Problem: Limited use of creativity, theoretical classes and difficulty in relating subjects studied at school with the necessities of the real world are some of the problems Nuvu Studio tackles. In the project, adolescents are encouraged to use technology to develop innovative products with a social impact. The school operates in partnership with MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and is located in Cambridge, in the USA, near the university itself.
Solutions: In the school, which functions as a complement to regular teaching, the students are introduced to the world of robotics, programming, the development of applications, digital art and the creation of documentaries. The school is equipped with cutting-edge technological resources. With these tools, the participants are encouraged to push their creativity to the limit to develop projects that aim to find solutions to a problem with social impact.
Each projects of each semester share a common theme such as health, the environment, science fiction or homes of the future. The youngsters work in together for two weeks in groups of three, with colleagues of different ages, but who have some interests in common. The idea is that all the work is carried out in a collaborative manner. The Nuvu instructors use the creation of designs process to teach students how to reach the conclusion of the project. Phases include defining the objective, inspiration, research, creation, and final assessment, of which the criteria is how interesting the project is. During the process, a Nuvu professional and a guest, who works in the area of the project, help the adolescents to develop their work. In order to participate, the students are recommended by the schools where they study. In one school year, each student participates in five or six projects. The school has 150 students per year.
Some examples of products invented by students are an application that creates a health competition to help its users improve their levels of fitness, a project that unites education and football to help players from Haiti enter universities in the United States and Europe and an animation that shows how social media causes anxiety.
Outcomes: The students feel free to use their creativity and improve their self-esteem as they perceive they are capable of putting their projects into practice. They also acquire awareness of their abilities, potential and their limitations. Other characteristics explored by the students are improvisation, the ability to change their minds and start again, flexibility, quick thinking and action, maturity, self-assessment and critical analysis of themselves and their work.