*** This post was originally published on www.Flipped-History.com (4/28/13)
Over the past year, I've noticed the term "20% time" popping up in conversations with colleagues in the flipped learning community. Karl Lindgren-Streicher had mentioned it during a #flipclass chat and later discussed it briefly in his FLN podcast appearance. I then heard a recent FLN podcast that focused specifically on 20% Time. Host Troy Cockrum, who has implemented 20% time himself, led a great discussion with Kevin Brookhouser and Kate Petty. After hearing this incredibly thought-provoking episode, I finally committed to learning more about this new concept.
First, I tried to connect with many of the 20% Time thought leaders on Twitter by searching the hashtag #20Time. (I also realized that there is a #genioushour community that has a very similar approach.) Joy Kirr directed me towards an excellent livebinder loaded with 20% Time / Genius Hour resources. I then checked out Troy's blog, Kevin Brookhouser's website and Kate Petty's new 20TimeinEducation.com which is specifically devoted to this topic. Next, I spent some time over April vacation reading Daniel Pink's Drive, a book I wish I had read a few years ago when it was first released! He also has an abridged version of his argument in the influential TED talk called "The Puzzle of Motivation."
I was now officially committed to piloting 20% Time for the rest of this school year. Final guidance was sought from Troy, Kevin, and Kate before finalizing my introductory presentation and lesson plan. To build excitement for the project, I leaked bits of information about it throughout the week. (Autonomy, Purpose, Google, Intrinsic Motivation, Passion, and 20% Time.) Some students actually spent considerable time trying to figure out what the heck I was unveiling later in the week.
Friday's introduction to 20% Time went extremely well! The students seemed genuinely interested in the concept and excited to start their projects. Troy's suggestion to kick things off with the Ghost Drive Through was a big hit with the kids, even those who had already seen it. Also, although I was hesitant to include them in the presentation, students were intrigued by the studies on intrinsic motivation that were cited in the book "Drive." Most students ran with the Brainstorming session, but as expected, some had no idea where to start. I tried my best to get them to at least think and ponder what they might be interested in, even if it is not something that immediately comes to mind.
Although I have just started implementing 20% Time, I feel that it complements flipped learning very well. As this pilot program progresses, I will have a better idea regarding the "marriage" of these two approaches and their potential to bring flipped learning to a whole new level.
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