This past week, we discussed Genius Hour’s and the benefits they have associated. In order to understand Genius Hour in more depth, we took a deeper look into CNN’s “Genius Hour: Students, what kids could learn from failure.” A genius hour is a set amount of time during a school day where students are challenged to set goals and accomplish them. In this hour, students have the total freedom to complete a project on a topic entirely of their choosing, which allows for the project to become personal and authentic. Genius hour has become an instrumental part in many school’s daily or weekly routines, and many students even beg to have Genius Hour in class. It deals with all of the characteristics in Meaningful Learning as well, and is very interesting to learn about, and participate in.
The Genius Hour project allows students to have total creativity and freedom in their research. It allows them to think for themselves in what they find, what kinds of goals they set, and the conclusions they create. The article stated, “failure is an option,” which is very encouraging to see in an education system where everything is tested and you either pass or fail. Genius hour also provides students with the freedom to take ownership of their own learning, but the teacher provides structure to keep them on task, such as holding conferences every so often. In addition, it allows for students to be collaborative with their work, and learn from their peers. Although they are doing independent projects, students have the opportunity to share their findings which could inspire their classmates and generate feedback as well.
Genius Hour ties in with Meaningful Learning in all of it’s five characteristics. First, it is authentic because it allows students to study real-life things that they are curious about. Whether a student is learning about hurricane patterns or writing a novel, it gives students the opportunity to learn about something happening in our world, not just in a textbook. Second, it is active because it requires to be hands on with their material. Through their presentations and research, students are in control of what they learn and find. It is also constructive because of their opportunity for failure. Students have the potential to fail and try again which teaches them about persistence and critical thinking. It is intentional because the students set their own personal goals for what they want to accomplish in their project. Lastly, it is cooperative because students learn from each other while sharing their work, and their conferences with their teachers helps them to find their successes and failures.
Genius Hour is a strong asset to many schools around the world. It has become a time students long for in class. It shows students that their are other things in the world they are free to explore and do if they set their minds to it. Although it may seem like a time for students to goof off, teachers and parents have come to find how beneficial it can be for students to take a break and put time and dedication into something they truly care about in the school setting. I just wish we had Genius Hour when I was in elementary school.