It has been my own personal goal this year to learn and understand more about the idea of “Genius Hour,” and how and what it would look like in the classroom. It is a constant buzz word that always includes the ideas of passion, engagement, and self-directed learning for students.
Genius hour is a relatively new movement in education based on the idea started by Google, whereby employees are able to spend 20% of their time working on projects they are passionate and excited about. You could refer to it as “free time.” A chance to explore and research something that interests you. The ideas are entirely student generated, and of course will vary as student passions are different.
On paper, the idea sounds great, but in the crazy life of the classroom, where would this fit? How do teachers find the time to implement yet another idea? What program or subject do you ignore? In the end, is it worth it?
Tonight the topic of the twitter chat #mnlead focused entirely on genius hour. The passion, energy, and belief in the benefits were apparent with every participant. It was an incredible chat to be a part of. Here’s a quick summary of our discussion:
Question #1: What do you think of when you hear the term genius hour or 20% time?
Question #2: How do students benefit from a genius hour philosophy in the classroom?
Question #2 Follow Up: How do teachers benefit by allowing students to learn focused on their passions?
Question #3: How can genius hour projects be celebrated within the classroom, school, community?
Question #4: What are some of the challenges facing an implementation of genius hour in the classroom?
Question #5: As a leader, how can you support and promote genius hour?
Question #6: What possibilities does the genius hour concept have for professional development?
The discussion tonight further reinforced my preconceived ideas of the benefits of genius hour. When you give students choice, when you take the time to build relationships with them, when you allow them to be advocates for their passion, and when you embrace their learning (whether it’s successful or a failure) an opportunity for growth and further learning continues. This is exactly what genius hour provides!