Originally inspired by Google’s 20 percent time, Genius hour can be a strong way to motivate and engage students in their own research, learning, and sharing with classmates.
Educator and writer Gallit Zvi describes genius hour as a time “when [students] are allowed to develop their own inquiry question about whatever it is that they want to explore. They are then given about 3 one hour Genius Hour sessions and then they are usually ready to present their learning to the class.” Her blog includes excellent resources for implementing genius hour.
Another resource for implementing genius hour can be found here by Chris Kesler. He’s got posts on introducing it to students as well as helping students get started with research.
Angela Maiers has a complete toolkit for genius hour here.
A final resource worth a look can be found at Edutopia. They’ve got a good list of resources and posts here as well as a five-minute film festival dedicated to genius hour here.
You can see one student’s genius hour project below (recommended by Edutopia):
Photo Credit: Claudio.Ar via Compfight cc
Have you ever heard of the hole in the wall project? It’s an amazing story of technology, perseverance and motivation.
From Edutopia by Sugata Mitra Professor of Education Technology, Newcastle University:
“In early 1999, some colleagues and I sunk a computer into the opening of a wall near our office in Kalkaji, New Delhi. The area was located in an expansive slum, with desperately poor people struggling to survive. The screen was visible from the street, and the PC was available to anyone who passed by. The computer had online access and a number of programs that could be used, but no instructions were given for its use.
What happened next astonished us. Children came running out of the nearest slum and glued themselves to the computer. They couldn’t get enough. They began to click and explore. They began to learn how to use this strange thing. A few hours later, a visibly surprised Vivek said the children were actually surfing the Web.” Read more at Edutopia here.
Skip ahead to 7:25 to hear Sugata Mitra speak about the Hole in the Wall experiments.