Genius Hour involves giving students one hour (or one class) a week to become experts in whatever they choose. Google employees, who are given 20% of their work time to explore a pet project that excites them, may have inspired this strategy. This is a student-centered approach and not only allows for more personalized education, but also encourages student creativity and innovation.
This strategy could be used with any grade level, but it is important that the teacher prepares all pieces of technology in advance (e.g. collected and charged). The teacher should provide guidance to those who need it, but also encourage students to turn to their classmates for ideas.
Some ideas for Genius Hour include:
- Have your students pitch their project using a video
- Collaborate with classes in other schools using social media, Google chat, Skype, etc.
- Brainstorm with classmates using Schoology
- Present projects in TED-talk format
- Reflect on the process through student blogs or websites
I was lucky to be able to observe genius hour in action during practicum. Our grade 6 class paired with a grade 4/5 class regularly for a Genius Hour session. Groups were formed by students and included a mix of grade levels. One example of a task students were given was to research something that the group was interested in or passionate about and present it to the class using some form of technology. Topics ranged from precious gemstones to medieval armour, and covered everything in between! Groups used videos, Google slideshows, picture collages, and more to present their research and explain their varied topics. This Genius Hour allowed students to explore the use of technology (Chromebooks, iPads) in a stress-free environment, gave older students the opportunity to teach computer skills to younger students, and provided a creative outlet for individualized learning!
Edutopia. (August 4 2014). Genius Hour and the 6 Essentials of Personalized Education.