The Educator's PLN

The personal learning network for educators

What if our students had Google's "20% time?"

It seems that "Google Days" and "Google time" are the new catchphrases on administrators' lips in my district. Last year, Burlington, MA, high school principal, Patrick Larkin (Twitter: bhsprincipal), christened one of his building's professional development days as a "Google Day," giving faculty the opportunity to select a project or area of study of their own choosing and immerse themselves in it for the day. Across town, John Lyons (Twitter: pgprincipal) plans to do the same with one professional development day at the Pine Glen Elementary School this fall.

The terms are taken from Google's corporate policy that enables employees to use 20% of their time working on projects that aren't necessarily in their job descriptions. They can use the time to develop
something new or solve a problem. In the case of Burlington High, many of the teachers used the time to learn or implement new technology. It also allowed teachers to collaborate who normally would not have had the time due to differing schedules and responsibilities.

Tonight, I had the chance to hear Tony Wagner, author of The Global Achievement Gap, speak at the Massachusetts Teachers Association Summer Conference. Tony took the idea beyond professional development days:

What if our students dedicated 20% of their school time to pursuing interests and projects that piqued their curiosity, regardless of whether or not we could tie a curriculum standard to their topic?

Like all good questions, it generates many others as we seek an answer (I am reminded of Tom Whitby's comment: If your students can Google an answer to your question, you may want to rethink the question.)

Do we have the courage to step away and let our students set their own curricula and develop the skills to pursue them?

How does this change the role of the teacher/educator?

What will it take to transform the role of the student, centered for so long on compliance and "right answers," to that of self-directed, life-long learner such that our students become, as Tony Wagner puts it, career-, college-, and citizenship-ready?

Views: 47


You need to be a member of The Educator's PLN to add comments!

Join The Educator's PLN


Thomas Whitby created this Ning Network.

Latest Activity

Shawn Mitchell replied to Tata Nech's discussion Hey People
"i hope you are good in this time. and you can learn new things about tech & e-learning and too many things. And i want to read more blogs about it."
May 7
Shawn Mitchell replied to George Danke's discussion Integration with The Latest Technology in Education Field
"Condition is worse due to Covid we cannot go anywhere and even universities and research labs are closed. Hope the situation will be normal soon. Then we can think about something else"
Apr 29
Tata Nech posted a blog post

More Than a Sport: A Look at Scootering’s Evolution

Too many people do not have a clear idea about what is a Scooter; and much less than there is a sport based on it. Besides, it is a sport that has evolved a lot from its beginning, but if you do not know too much about the sport is hard to see it as more than a kid game.However, this sport is more than just kids and young people making scooter tricks in a square; scootering is a kind of culture and a lifestyle that has more than 20 years growing to become what it is today.For this reason, we…See More
Apr 24
Shawn Mitchell replied to Rob Schoonveld's discussion Twitter vs Edupln
"My preference is this website is best. Twitter is used for social purpose and EDUPLN is used for professional discussion which you cannot discuss on social platforms."
Apr 14
Shawn Mitchell replied to Shanshan Ma's discussion Personalized learning network and social media
"Hi, There are too many platforms of social media and the member of those platform discuss so many things and participate. So it depends only on you where do you want to discuss."
Apr 14
Shawn Mitchell replied to Nanacy Lin's discussion Future Of Education
"Now a days AI is best technology to learn because it is the future."
Apr 12
Joe Silva updated their profile
Apr 11
Profile IconStuart Jones, Sarah Kiefer, Corina Gamez and 5 more joined The Educator's PLN
Apr 11


© 2021   Created by Thomas Whitby.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service