20% time is pretty well established as a management tool. What began at 3M in the 1940′s has gradually spread out across industries, with it taking particular hold in Silicon Valley, where companies such as Google and Yahoo! have adopted it successfully.
The philosophy behind it is straight forward. Give people time and freedom to explore their creative urges and it will help to unlock many of the talents that were previously hidden to you. At Google it’s helped to develop such profitable ventures as Adsense and GMail.
Can it work in the classroom though? That’s something Genius Hour is hoping to find out. It’s a concept based on the principles of 20% time, whereby students are encouraged to work on projects outside of the core curriculum for an hour a week.
The core principle is pretty simple, but does come with three basic rules that its suggested the hour abides by:
- Work stems from driving questions
- Research must play a big role
- Projects must be completed and shared, ideally globally
I wrote recently about bringing collaborative behaviours into the classroom, and indeed doing more in schools to prepare children for the ways they are expected to work when they enter employment. This is another example of this in action. You can learn a bit more about Genius Hour in the video below.