Following up from the honor of being selected in Huffington Posts Top 12 Global Education Blogs of 2014/2015 I have been chosen again in this amazing group and for 2016/2017 will be contributing to Huffington Post’s Education blog once a month. This month we look at the following highly controversial topic “Exploring Genius Time in Schools” – here is my response:
Sharing your obvious – inspiring innovation with genius time
Genius Time, Genius Hour, Innovation Hour or Passion Projects are buzz-words we hear frequently in Education. In the classroom setting it can come across as an excuse to have free time, however, the distinction is in how expectations are set and how explicit directions encourage students to be productive and acknowledge that creative pathways are valued.
Being inspired and inspiring others is what I live for. I strive to be in situations that inspire me to be better, do more, innovate and learn and I strive to provide the same opportunities for the students, staff and wider school community that I work with every day. Providing opportunities for people to “share their obvious” is what keeps me going.
What does he mean by “share their obvious” I hear you asking? It is simple … We all do things that seem obvious to ourselves by amazing to others. So, what if we provided opportunities to share the obvious through Genius time scenarios for both adults and students?
Genius time provides both adults (in the case of many workforces out there – e.g. Google’s 20% time) and students time to create, innovate, explore, learn and share (the obvious). I have seen this done incredibly well and in my school, our grade 5 team are leaders in inspiring student innovation through Genius time. This provide students with the most important resource of all, time! Students get time to investigate a passion project, explore the possibilities and create opportunities to solve problems. They follow an inquiry cycle with the intention of taking action, which culminates in a final PYP exhibition project at the end of grade 5.
The benefits of utilizing a genius time concept include the promotion of student’s voice and the ability to teach problem-solving, creativity, innovation, critical thinking and collaboration skills in an authentic context. I constantly see students struggle through the concept phases, facing challenges every step of the way but learning to innovate and overcome them in ways that I never thought could be possible is inspiring to see.
If I was to give you, the educator, one piece of advice before embarking on a genius time concept rollout in your classroom or school it is GO FOR IT! JUST DO IT! Don’t micro-manage, step back and let it happen. Don’t be afraid, Failing is just the First Attempt In Learning. Guide your students as a mentor and coach and support their growth and skill development. Let it be exciting and engaging all the time and set aside dedicated time to make it happen.
Image source: http://mikhailgroup.com/mikhailgroup/?p=373
I would love to hear your stories and experience in using Genius Time in school so please reach out and share your thoughts here or on twitter.