Welcome to Nolat Labs, Visitor. Please take a look around, read through the introduction here in the reception lobby.
Take the time to carefully read through these slides. Think about what you read. You have an unusual opportunity here.
This course is not like other high school courses. You will find many unusual concepts of learning designed into Nolat Labs. Everything we do here is based on research about how people learn well.
It will likely look, and feel, unusual and perhaps uncomfortable at first. Even for you veterans.
Visitor, you should know before you go any further that we are the same as your other classes, too. There will be classwork, projects, homework, tests, grades, and quizzes. For some of you, this will include an IB Exam.
Some things are beyond our control to change. Learn to leverage the ones that are in order to improve the ones that aren’t.
One reason things here look different is that far too many students feel the sentiment expressed in the graffiti. Sometimes because it’s too difficult. Sometimes because it’s too easy. Sometimes because it’s too irrelevant.
Spoiler: complaining about something isn’t enough.
My friend Mike Skocko took that picture of the graffiti. Then he used Photoshop to create this version. This lead me to the current version of this course and Nolat Labs; my work on one of the major problems I see in the world today.
Really big problems must be addressed by re-designing. Patching up something fundamentally flawed is doomed to failure.
In the Labs, partially finished and good enough…aren’t. Work until you have it mastered, whether it’s a project, a quiz, a concept, etc.
The last 10% often takes 90% of the effort
and makes nearly 100% of the difference.
Remember the shape of our planet? Our purpose in NolatLabs is to design solutions to the big problems we face together today. Nothing less than saving humankind.
Which piece of this problem is interesting to you, Visitor?
We use AMP to structure the Labs to fight procrastination, mediocrity and apathy. This deadly trio have killed more youth greatness than any other force in history.
Greatness is our goal.
AMP is the path we take.
The Honor Code is the force that propels us there.
Every year some students choose to find the ZIM, earn autonomy and achieve greatness. Others choose almost-good-enough. The difference is like jumping into the water vs. dipping toes. One is committed. One is giving their all.
Commit to giving the Labs your all and you’ll be in the first group.
Work hard, Visitor; give it your all. But have fun, too. Hard fun. Remember tic-tac-toe? Why don’t you play it any more? Because you know it; it’s not hard any more. Hard is fun.
“Fun” doesn’t have to be an antonym for “school.” Let’s make it part of school.
“Mistakes are a map. Failure is a flashlight. Use both to find and forge your path.” –Rob Schwartz
Iterate: do something…reflect…then do it again, better. Build an upwards spiral of mistakes and failure leading you toward your goals. The more you fail, reflect, and try again, the faster you’ll learn.
Practice failing. A lot.
When you arrive at the classroom, check the board. Then read The Weekly on this site. Every class. If you miss a class, check The Weekly for what you need to know and do. There is always more to learn, more projects to complete, more experimentation that can be started. We’re never done, here in the Labs.
“I didn’t know” is not an excuse. Also inexcusable are: “I’m done;” “I did everything you asked;” and “I don’t know what (else) to do.”
Like the school, this site is iterating. Constantly under construction for improvement. Keep your eyes open; you never know where you might find interesting tidbits, inspiration, or surprises. There are rewards for those who pay attention.
Hint: this applies to our school, our city, and our world as much as to our website.
You may be starting to feel a bit overwhelmed with all this. Hang in there, you’re almost through. There is a lot packed into the lobby; don’t worry if you feel like taking more than one time through to absorb it all.
Feel free to review the lobby any time. It’s always here.
Choose the Honor Code and there are rewards. In The Weekly, look for the convenience store option. Get your “Early bird” bonus, or your “Bell to bell” bonus. Beware fraudulent claims! There are also “Early bird bogus” and “Bell to bell bogus” items.
Be honest. Claim your loot. Level up.
So, Visitor, that’s a bit about what we do and how we do it here in the Labs. Remember, our main goals are improving the way we learn and saving humanity. It’s big stuff, so we take it one step at a time.
What is your goal for this course? What should your first step be?
It happens every year. Some students choose to become heroes. They follow the Honor Code, give it their all, and create work of greatness that ends up in the hall of fame.
Will this be your choice, Visitor?
It happens every year. Some students choose to become flatliners. They settle for almost-good-enough, give no second effort, distrust their creativity, can’t risk failure, don’t take a chance. Are you kidding me?!
Will this be your choice, Visitor?
Our school, our class, and our website are always iterating. Always changing and building toward something more. Like you. Who is building you, Visitor? Are you part of the team building you, or just watching? Or leading?
Who will you be?
Before you go, you should meet the cast and crew, below.