Genius Hour, a movement of inquiry-based and student-directed activity, allows students to choose and investigate a topic of their choosing. Lee Araoz began facilitating Genius Hour because he wanted to lessen the compliance mode of instruction and increase the energy and motivation of his students. Genius Hour is based on Google’s 20% policy, where employees are permitted to work on something that interests them 20% of the time. This activity allows for the real-world application of 21st century skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, communication, creativity, character, and citizenship. Genius Hour generates innovation, stirs imagination, and creates a genuine excitement about learning. Instead of passively consuming technology, students have the opportunity to actively create it.
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This article was originally published in
literacyworldwide.org | January/February 2018 | LITERACY TODAY
When used to create content and connect students with authentic audiences,
technology empowers learners and prepares them for the workplaces of the future.
Unfortunately, many school systems have spent millions of dollars to equip
students and staff with cutting-edge technology tools, only to use them with
antiquated teaching methods. Therein lies a second digital divide, which separates
those with the skills to benefit from technology use from those without. Rows of silent students completing digital worksheets on their Chromebooks or iPads is not effective technology integration. Using one-to-one tablets to complete weekly multiple-choice quizzes simply replaces paper, pencils, and grading.
One means of effective technology integration is through literature circles, a collaborative and student-centered reading strategy. In traditional literature circles, small groups of students gather to discuss shared readings. Students assume rotating roles, typically as the “discussion director,” “ literary luminary,” “vocabulary enricher,” and “connector.” In a technology-enhanced literature circle, these job assignments are infused with technology tools.
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