Module 6

Genius Hour or 20% Time

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Genius Hour or 20% Time

Module Objective: To enable students to explore and research their own personal passions related to teaching and learning. Students will gain practical experience in documenting the inquiry process through the creation of a mind map and a product showcasing their researched passion.

Genius hour is based on Google's 80/20 Innovation Model. The ITO (Innovation Timeout) policy encourages Google employees to spend 80% of their time on core projects and roughly 20% (or one day per week) on "innovation" activities that speak to their personal interests and passions.

Genius hour is a movement that allows students to explore their own passions and encourages creativity in the classroom. It provides students a choice in what they learn during a set period of time during school.

Directions for Genius Hour or 20% Time

1. You can work alone or with a team. No more than 4. Each of you will turn in the assignment in your own dropbox in D2L.

2. Rubric for Genius Hour or 20% Time

3. Begin to wonder. Research areas of interest related to teaching and learning and come up with a topic or question you would like to explore. Take control of your own learning. Look at “how” and “why.” What do you wonder about?

4. Design a Popplet or Paddlet, (or other tool to showcase your findings) a mind map of the Inquiry Process for your proposed question or topic.

5. Once you have a particular question in mind follow the Inquiry Process below. (place the below information on the mind map)

Questions to ask about your proposed question or topic

  • What do I want to know about this topic?

  • What do I know about my question?

  • How do I know it?

  • What could an answer be?

What kind of resources would be helpful for researching the chosen topic/question?

  • How do I know the information is valid?

  • Provide evidence

  • What other information is available on the proposed topic/question?

How to interpret the information researched?

  • How is this resource relevant to the proposed topic/question?

  • Does it help provide an answer to the proposed topic/question, if so, how?

  • Are there areas of the research that does not support the proposed topic/question, if so, why not?

  • Did I come away with new questions related to new information from the research?

Report Findings

  • What was the main point of my findings from the research?

  • Did anything else become important to the research of the proposed topic/question?

  • Who is my audience? (teacher candidates and teaching professionals)

  • Choose a medium to showcase your findings in an engaging manner.

6. Create a product to showcase your selected topic/question.

You can create a blog, wiki, video, podcast/screencast, website, movie trailer, etc.

It is up to you on how you want to explain and showcase your discoveries.

7. Place the URL address of the Popplet or Padlet (or other showcase tool) in the D2L dropbox

  • Place the URL address or attachment of your showcase in the D2L dropbox with the Popplet or Padlet URL (or one of the other tools to showcase your findings)

  • Submit the assignment on time


Applications for the classroom

Why 20% Time is Good for Schools

Designing 20% Time in Schools

Google's 80/20 Principle Applies to Students

Google's 80/20 Principle Gives Students Freedom

Can You Apply Google's 20% Time in the Classroom?

Genius Hour Video- What is Genius Hour? - Introduction to Genius Hour in the Classroom

Genius Hour Video 20% class time in two minutes- TED style talk

Other Resources

Sample Topics, Questions and Ideas:

  • How can we best help children become critical thinkers in responding to media messages that shape their personal and social identity and their understanding of the world?

  • How can learning about children’s interaction with media texts and technology tools help educators become more effective in the classroom?

  • How can we explore popular culture in the classroom?

  • How could I use Twitter in the classroom?

  • How do you introduce Social Media to Elementary Students?

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