Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Genius Hour - how it's working.

This summer I participated in a MOOC on Genius Hour, what this is, the benefits of 2 Percent Time and how to incorporate it in your classroom.  I learned so much, and the support for trying this ingenious idea was tremendous.  Basically, the premise is this 20 Percent Time worked so well for Google, other corporations tried it with success, and this premise was brought forward to students.  The idea is that students choose what they want to learn every Friday.  They come up with a plan of what they want to do (project based learning, planning skills, task making, etc), go forward with it (lifetime learning skills to find what information they need and verify that the information is valid), and then present their findings to an audience (learning justifying their opinions, presentational skills, etc).  To understand the success of this means of learning see the video below.

There have been many resources that are great, one particular great site is the Genius Hour Wiki by Gallit Zvi (@gallit_z), Denise Krebs (@mrsdkrebs) and Joy Kirr (@JoyKir).  The second resource that you need to live by is also by Joy Kirr, her livebinder on Genius Hour.  But doing the MOOC was excellent in gathering up a number of ideas and resources from everyone.  One particularily good resource was a video online that was made to show presentations of genius hour.  They do not show the entire presentations, what is more powerful is how many students stated that their projects failed, but they still learned from their projects.  This is the  genius hour videos to students can see that it's the learning process that's more important than the final results.

So what did I do?  I created a sequential course for my students to follow, with all learning resources that I want to use  (thanks to many others that have started the process and share online) -  click here.  The first videos really motivated the students - "Try it for 30 days" - to start their work, but even better, was ideas started pouring in quickly. The proposals for genius hour have started to develop, we're working through that process as I write.  And I thought I would start to share a few their ideas and answering specific questions that need to be discussed in a later blog.  

This will be my journey of learning with my students, to reflect on what my genius hour will be like, what I need to learn, and what I'll be changing when some things don't work. 

As I told my students, it's not failure if you learn from your mistakes.

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