I think I have been waiting for “genius hour” to be a part of my education my entire life. I didn’t really no what I was searching for at first; I only knew that something was missing for me, something wasn’t working. Because I enjoy learning just about anything, I can feed off any opportunity to expand my knowledge. However, as I grow so to do my passions. I am passionate about education, without a doubt. I am also a passionate writer (working on expanding my creativity to drawing). The thing that was missing, for me, in my education was the opportunity to connect the things I am most passionate about to my education.
I feel that genius hour opens the door to allowing students to both learn important skills, fall in love with learning, and personalize their education in ways that are meaningful to them. Creative hour gives students time to take control of their learning and explore things that they are interested, passionate, and/or curious about.
In Nichole Carter’s article on Genius Hour, she outlines six important ways to personalize education and incorporate genius hour into the learning environment. They are, dual teacher role as coach and adviser, learn about your students, create a collaborative culture and an interactive learning environment, create flexible pacing that still has structure, and lastly create authentic assessments.
In the video, three guiding “rules” that can be helpful are provided. These guidelines are: make sure there is a driving question (what do they want to learn about), project has to be something that requires some sort of research, and lastly the project has to be shared with the class and the world. I believe these are good guidelines to keep genius hour productive and structured in ways that are helpful to the learning process.
I believe that just as I am discovering this as an educator, I am experiencing it as a learner. In ECMP 355, I am working on an online learning project: Learning How to Draw. This is my “genius hour” type experience. I am learning something I have always been interested about, I am finding many helpful resources online, and I am sharing my process and progress online. This experience is also helping me see how I can fit genius hour into my teaching.
I would love to hear other thoughts, opinions and advice on genius hour and other ways of personalizing education. What do you think of genius hour? Is it something you would do or are currently doing?
Here is what some students had to say about their experience: