Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Innovation Projects, May 2013

It's the last week of school, and my 7th graders are presenting their Innovation Projects (formerly called 20% Time Projects) for the fourth quarter.  Back in January when I came up with this idea, I was very excited for something I thought was pretty original.  It turns out that Genius Hour has taken the educational world by storm when I wasn't looking.  Even though my grand idea isn't so novel after all, it's great to be part of something new and exciting in education.  I feel strongly that if we give students to learn what they are interested in learning they will get a lot more out of it than they ever thought possible.  I've been blessed to be given the freedom to explore this angle with my Tools for Tech class this year.

This quarter, my students were given the opportunity to build upon their third quarter project or start something totally new.  About half chose to dive into something new.  We had some new GarageBand songs, a slew of websites, a logo hijacker, lots of wallpapers, and a Lego gun/saw.  In every case, I have no doubt learning took place, but I'm fairly certain I should have pushed them a bit harder to create (aka innovate) something new rather than mash up what already exists. Look at the examples below and let me know what you think....oh, and try a few recipes.  I highly recommend the brownies on Kent's page.
Over the summer, I'm going to read up on Genius Hour and connect with some other Genius Hour teachers to try to hone in the happy medium of giving students a chance to pursue what they want to learn while making sure it's a learning experience worthy of one-fifth of our class time.  As always, I'm open to suggestions.

Click here to see the students' original instructions. 

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