Friday, September 6, 2013

A "Genius Hour" primer: Time for student-directed learning!

by Derek Spencer

© Copyright Roger Morris and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The idea behind the "Genius Hour" (also called "20% Time") is simple: give students one class period per week to work on a project of their choosing.

The argument in favor of the Genius Hour is that if students are allowed to direct their own learning, they'll be more engaged and interested in what they're trying to learn. This reinforces to students that curiosity is a good thing and may spur them to take more of an interest in the rest of their education.

If students are particularly interested in a topic they study in class, they might use their Genius Hour time to delve deeper into that topic — and that would be a big win.

Curious? This link contains much more information:

Implementing it might be difficult, as it's tough to give students an entire class period each week when you're already required to cover a ludicrous amount of material.

However, it is possible to use the Genius Hour in your classroom (though it does take some planning).

Here's a link that might just help you get started:

This strategy is sort of a cross between a more traditional teaching structure and the "flipped classroom" structure that has come into vogue recently. Of course, recording lectures and creating graphic organizers does take some time, so if you decide to go down this route you'll need to plan accordingly.

What do you think about this idea? If you're using the Genius Hour or 20% Time in your classroom, let us know what you — and your students — think!

Have a great weekend, and thanks for reading!

Derek Spencer is a Marketing Communications Associate at
Prestwick House

No comments: