GENIUS HOUR IN EDUCATION
A lot of people have come across the term ‘Genius hour’ from different walks of life, especially people involved in education. People outside the education sector however, have little to no understanding of what Genius hour truly entails.
As opposed to the structure of traditional education, where the lessons taught to students and pupils are focused around a particular syllabus or curriculum, Genius hour is solely about the students or pupils. Students are in total control of what they do in this period with the teacher offering only to support or supervise the activities of the pupils. This time is dedicated to allow students to explore their passion.
During genius hour, students are allowed the freedom to choose what to study, research, create and produce as a direct result of their activities. This is one of the latest learning models which have been integrated in schools in order to increase curiosity, inquiry and self-paced learning. Genius hour was integrated and tested in a few school, which yielded positive results on the academic achievements of student. However, Genius hour was prominently noted outside the education sector when data from Google showed the incredible increase in productivity of employees when given time and opportunity to explore their passion. This is evident in the fact that up to 50% of Google’s current projects were borne out of this time.
Why Genius Hour is so effective
Since it is a part of education where students can work on what they are curious about, want, it can allow student explore and see things and concepts in a different way. Besides, on a psychological level, people tend to put more effort in things they decide to do rather than what they are told to do as in traditional education.
One of the major reasons which Genius hour works so well is how it give students a sense of purpose by engaging in projects that are totally sourced from their own curiosity. Students personally create a sense of purpose for themselves when they set up a goal for themselves to study, research or create things. Since Genius hour is not totally an academic activity, students have more motivation to ensure they get to their personal goals.
The design and set up of Genius hour is in such a way that it does not involve the framework of a teacher’s content. It is up to the students to create or set up their own learning framework and experiences within the given time.
Since Genius hour involves personal research, learning from the students, a lot of information, content, data are compiled. Students will then be able to use information and ideas that make sense for their project. This information and data is then processed and transformed into a product, creation, or function.
Another vital reason why Genius hour is so effective is the fact that it allows for socialization with teachers, fellow students, professionals, and individuals outside the school environment who can help students create a sense of purpose for the project.
How to Integrate Genius Hour in Classroom
There are different effective ways to integrate Genius hour into your classroom as a teacher. The guidelines provided below are carefully considered and selected as the best way to implement a productive and effective Genius Hour. These guidelines are broken down into steps from planning, choosing a suitable topic to research and creation which allow your students easier understanding of the concept. The following guidelines will help with Genius hour integration in classrooms:
- Selecting a topic.
This can be one of the most testing part of a Genius hour for students when trying to figure out a topic to work on or explore. This is where teachers can come in and help guide students on how to choose a topic, which will solely depend on the students passion.
- Develop a driving question.
After successfully deciding on a topic of interest to learn or research on, it is important for students to create a driving question that will guide the project. This will make sure that the project does not go out of the way and also ensure that the end product of the project answers the driving question.
- Do the research.
This is another interesting part for the students and this involves the research for data, information, samples concerning the topic of interest to the student. In this technology-enabled world, student have many sources to dig information from asides reading materials from books, magazines, and articles. Information and data can be sourced from the internet, by connecting with professionals online, websites, blogs, and watching numerous videos that help with the project.
- Assemble everything.
Since one of the aims of integrating a Genius hour is to make something unique with respect to what the students have passion for, it is important to allow students bring everything they have gathered together and assemble it to result in a unique product. This product could be a design, creation, project, an act or anything else that makes sense to the student and also the teacher. In essence, Genius hour must result in a valuable lesson or skill learnt by the student. Examples of activities that students can engage include Blog creation, paintings, a poem, Gallery and presentations.
At the conclusion of the presentations and project, it is important to identify what lessons or skills learnt by the students during the processes involved in the creation of the different projects. This will help students reflect on everything they did to reach the endpoint, including the problems encountered, how they were solved, and improvements that could be made.
Genius hour is an activity that is quickly beaming a vital part of education, despite not being an educational activity entirely. It has been proved to incur the habit of creativity in students, as well as critical thinking. The tasks or goals set during this time allow students to think of creative ways to express themselves in countless ways. As these e tasks get completed, valuable lessons are easily transferred to the students, most especially due to its focus on the passion of the students.
Genius hour also allow students explore new horizons which have never been clear to them. This is one process that speeds up learning in students. For example, the use of technological applications in execution of projects allows students get accustomed to functions which technology offer.
Generally, the integration of Genius hour in schools is a positive experience for student and seems to be one of the most interesting time for students in classrooms, since it is not based on a framework created by the teacher through curriculum.