Which emerging pedagogy appeals most to you, and might be most useful for your classroom and students? Why?
Genius Hour- Allowing a time for students to learn about something that interests them. Letting them become the expert in an area. Teachers are facilitators, helping guide students when necessary, but the student is driving the learning in a self-paced format. Students learn from a variety of sources (Genius Hour). Students have the freedom to design their own learning experiences within a designated time frame. “It allows students to explore their own curiosity through a self-manifested sense of purpose and study while within the support system of the classroom” (Heick).
This appeals to me because my school has been promoting inquiry and personalized learning. The idea of Genius hour seems to fit in nicely with both of those ideas. We also already have Passion Projects in the high school. When I grapple with these types of learning I often jump to the idea that they mean that students have to have the ability to research whatever interests them without any constraints. The more I read about them though, the more I realize that Genius Hour is used within a structure. The teacher can facilitate by giving a genre or broad topic and allow students choice within that space. It is, however, less formal and organized than typical teaching, as it is, “open-ended learning characterized by student self-direction, passion-based learning, inquiry, and autonomy” (Staff). That does not mean that it is a free for all without structure or focus. Students are researching based on a driving question, and must have some sort of end result that they share.
One reading that really helped me to fully understand this idea was Teachthought’s “10 Characteristics and 10 Non-Characteristics of Genius Hour”. They give the following characteristics:
“Characteristics of Genius Hour
Genius hour is…
- Emphasizes inquiry and research
- New challenges (i.e., it creates new problems to solve in your classroom)
- Inherently personalized
- Inherently creative
- Often collaborative and social
Non-Characteristics of Genius Hour
Genius hour is not…
- “Free time” for students
- Without any rules or expectations
- Less rigorous (compared to other approaches to learning)
- Requires whiz-bang technology
- Unfit for schools and other formal learning environments
- Requires less planning and less teacher ‘effort'” (Staff).
Assessment of Genius Hour products can sometimes be tricky, but I liked Nichole Carter’s idea in her blog post “Genius Hour and the 6 Essentials of Personalized Learning”, where she had her students create Ted talks to teach their peers about their topic. According to Teachthought the final product is some sort of making, where that be acting, doing, publishing, or designing, but the most important aspect of the process is the creativity. Therefor, I think it would benefit students to write reflections afterward looking into further questions they may now have after finishing and strengths and weaknesses of their process and final product.
- Differentiated vs. Personalized Learning
- Can personalized learning be a small group?
Carter, N. (2014, August 04). Genius Hour and the 6 Essentials of Personalized Education. Retrieved May 31, 2017, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/genius-hour-essentials-personalized-education-nichole-carter
Heick, T. (2016, May 12). 6 Principles Of Genius Hour In The Classroom. Retrieved June 02, 2017, from http://www.teachthought.com/learning/6-principles-of-genius-hour-in-the-classroom/
Staff, T. (2016, May 12). What Is Genius Hour? -. Retrieved June 02, 2017, from http://www.teachthought.com/learning/what-is-genius-hour/
What is Genius Hour? (2017). Retrieved May 31, 2017, from http://www.geniushour.com/what-is-genius-hour/
Photo credits: CREATE- gfpeck Flickr, Question Mark- pexels