20% Time

Thanks to +A.J. Juliani for his weekly newsletter and insights into 20% time. I am well underway into 20% time with my class of 11th and 12th graders. 20% time was inspired by Sergey Brin's time in Montessori school. It no longer quite exists at Google, but the idea is/ was that Google's workers would spend 1/5th of their time working on their own projects, not the projects assigned to them. In Google's earlier days (according to this infographic) half of Google's products came from 20% time.

It has taken a lot of prep work to get ready. I've brought in 4 speakers to prime the idea pump. I have told the students loudly and clearly that for 20% time they are only responsible for the effort, not the results. Failure is an option because if they don't risk failure they won't aim high. I conferenced with every student after they wrote me their project proposals to help give their ideas some focus.

So that I stay abreast of their work and their successes and pitfalls, I created this log for the project (which I stole from +Colin Angevine's comp sci class.) I will also have the students journal weekly in addition to the nightly log posts.

So far so good, I like very much that I am modeling risk-taking. I like that I've already convinced a few skeptics that this could be really cool and powerful way of thinking about learning. As I told the students, failure is an option. This really might not work. But I'm pleased with the start. We will work on it in earnest for the next three weeks of school. All  students seem to have a good kernel of an idea
and most seem off to a good start.

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