Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What did Dr. Strange leave out?

Dr. Strange asked for an assignment idea for future EDM510 students. I had several ideas, but I finally settled on Google Education Hangouts on Air. I discovered this site earlier in the semester while doing some research for one of my blog posts. It contains numerous professional development videos from previous hangouts, or you can choose to join a hangout that is scheduled for the future. (That may be a variation of the assignment I will be describing. Actually participate in an upcoming Education hangout.) So here's my idea for an assignment...

Go to Google Education Hangouts on Air.  Explore the site and choose a video from "Past Recordings" that interests you. Watch the video and write a post about what you learned. Embed the video in your post.

"20% Time a.k.a. Genius Hour"

In this video, Kevin Brookhouser and Juan De Luca introduce you to the idea of 20% Time in their Google hangout titled "Radical Autonomy:  Giving your students 20% Time to Pursue their Passion while Learning your Content."

They explain that businesses like 3M and Google have been using this idea for years. Basically, they give their employees 20% of the work week to pursue projects that interest them. Many teachers have now begun to implement 20% Time programs in their classroom, sometimes called "Genius Hour." Both Mr. Brookhouser and Mr. De Luca have had phenomenal results with this program. Their students produced some great projects while learning the curriculum; not because they had to, but because they needed/wanted to. The students are motivated because it is a project they chose. Everyone is doing something different. Blogging is also an important part of Mr. Brookhouser's class.

I really like 20% Time, but I'm not sure it's suitable for the lower elementary grades. I don't know if they have the amount of self motivation required to work independently on a project that spans over a long period of time. I do think 4th grade and up could handle this type of responsibility. You might choose to do one project per semester. Maybe for the lower grades it could be modified to a shorter period of time. The same principles would be used, but instead of the projects running for an entire semester, maybe the time frame could be shortened to one grading period. Mr. Brookhouser and Mr. De Luca are both high school teachers.

I'd like to do more research on 20% Time in order to find elementary teachers who may be implementing this program. If you know of any good resources that may help me, please share them in the comments. Thanks!


  1. How about for college students? Do "have the amount of self motivation required to work independently on a project that spans over a long period of time."? Sometimes I wonder.

    Really good idea for exploring other ideas. I'll add it next semester.

    1. Hmm... College students??? Sometimes I wonder too! I think it would be a good experiment! There would definitely have to be check points along the way to show progress.