Genius in the Making

Learning that Impacts Students One Idea at a Time

Innovating Professional Learning

Professional learning has come a long way from the days where educators sat back and let someone else (the presenter) do all of the work. Through the past few years Liberty High School has added choice and voice to their PD plans and created differentiated learning opportunities that fit the sophisticated needs of our teachers.

At the end of the 2016 school year, our PD Cadre of teachers, expressed interest in creating more opportunities for teachers to articulate and own their learning paths. For this, we say BRAVO! Let's do it!

Where did this "Genius Hour" idea come from?

Many innovative companies have set aside part of the work day for their employees to explore their passions with the idea that they will share out their learning in a collaborative manner. Take Google for instance... they developed a concept called 20% Time, where employees could use up to 20% of their work time doing or creating something they are interested in pursuing. Why would companies give up 20% of their work week for employees to pursue their passion?

Gmail and Google Maps are two examples of 20% projects that ended up to be wildly successful.

Shannon Deegan: How Google's 20 Percent Time Fosters Innovation

For those who are not sure they want to geek out just yet...

The idea behind the Google's 20% Time isn't that there is always a product created, or that what is created must be wildly successful. Sometimes it can be a simple question such as Nat and Lo who share their 20% Time project idea below.
Nat & Lo's 20% Project – Go Behind The Scenes At Google

How does this "Genius-thing" work?

Some people call these types of learning environments "FedEx" days. Why? Because it replicates the FedEx tagline, "When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight". Genius Hours work in a similar fashion by giving participants the time to explore with the understanding that at the end of the project, or time period, all Genius participants will share their project successes and failures in whatever means that is appropriate for their findings.

Here are your steps to get started:

  1. Define your question or challenge that will frame your learning
  2. Explore research or other schools that are doing what you want to try
  3. Innovate by implementing your learning in your classroom
  4. Share your project and results as a monthly job-embedded PD session

Connected Learning

This is your opportunity to explore and learn something that interests you. How you learn about the topic will be up to you. If you need a team, you can form one (assuming the people are interested in pursuing this topic with you). How you demonstrate your learning will be up to you, but you will need to share it out at some point during the last two months of the semester. However you choose to share your learning will be open to the entire Liberty High School staff as a job embedded professional learning option for one of the months.

We want to give you as much control over your project as possible and are here to serve as supports as you embark on your journey.

Have an idea in your head but not sure how to take the next step? We are here to help! Stop by Room 316 or email Tracey (Innovation and Learning Coach) or contact your administrator to start brainstorming today.