The Value of Genius Hour

The Value of Genius Hour


This week I was reflecting on my experience with Genius Hour and whether or not a scheduled one hour per week was sufficient. If you are familiar with the work of Seymour Papert, he didn’t much care for computer labs as scheduled events. Papert would make claims like “we don’t go to the pencil lab to to use pencils as a tool.” Instead, Papert believed access to digital technology should be continuous throughout a school day and accessible when students need it to solve problems (i.e.: construct). These ideas makes me wonder whether a scheduled Genius Hour make sense from a pedagogical lens. Point is, what happens the rest of the week? How do students turn on and off for structure / unstructured activities? Are we sending the wrong message about learning if “passions” can only be explored in a sixty minute setting? Clearly, I do not have the answers. As such, I turned to my PLN and posted to social media:

Some great conversations have emerged and I hope to capture the ideas here.





As far as I can tell, there is a split. As with everything in education, teacher beliefs drive pedagogy and vice versa. Cyclical. I decided to post the question to facebook to avoid the 140 character limit.

I am so appreciative of the support groups created by social media. There is tremendous power and value in being able to post a thought and have a critical conversation. Before I finish, I should offer my two cents. I am a big fan of Genius Hour but would like to use a better term. Perhaps sixty minutes is enough in some grades and perhaps other grades need more. In some classrooms (PBL) passion projects may happen all the time, structured or not. I believe there are many variables (coding joke!) at play which makes it challenging to concisely say one way or the other when it comes to themes in education. I may not have the answer but I will admit you know what is best for your students. As long as you have developed rapport and relationships, Genius Hour becomes more about culture and less about scheduled events.

If you would like to add to the conversation, check out the twitter feed as well as Facebook.

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