I’ve been raising a bit of a Spockian eyebrow at the steady stream of 20% (also known as ‘Genius Hour’) chatter and accompanying ‘10 Reasons Why You Should…‘ lists in the edtechosphere. It’s been going on for a while now, and I’m certainly not a stranger to participating in them myself. The main justification seems to be: “Google does it, Dan Pink loves it, so should you,” etc. I tried something like this once in my classroom, and I actually found a lot of positives in the experience, but I ultimately abandoned it because I found it created false dichotomies of learning in my classroom. For proponents of this system as a pedagogical, as opposed to productivity and innovation (Google’s), approach, I have a few questions.
- What does 20% time/Genius Hour in the classroom actually mean? What is the process?
- What is the teacher’s role? Anything?
- What kinds of collaboration happen in the 20%/Hour?
- Why is the fact that it is open ended automatically beneficial to students?
- Is it process or product focussed?
- Is the 20% a reward? Even if it isn’t, would it be used as such?
- Why does the 20% always have to involve, if not centre around, technology? How about 20% time to garden?
- What is it about the other 80% that is so different to the 20%?
- By supposedly implementing student-centred, project-based, inquiry-driven 20% time, does it give us a pass on the status quo in the 80%?
I’d love to know more about your experience with 20% and/or the Genius Hour.