I have just read a really good blog post from a really good site. The post is called “Inspire Drive, Innovation, and Creativity: The 20% Project in the Classroom” and comes from “The Tech Classroom” blog.
“The 20% Project” is based upon Google’s practice of allowing their employees 20% of their working week to work on ideas that follow their interests, concerns, beliefs, desires, and dreams.
The Google experience has seen a number of excellent ideas come about because of the freedom of employees to think, to be creative, to collaborate and bounce ideas off of each other. There is no fear of failure and no deadlines to meet. The results can be astounding and often are.. examples are: Gmail, AdSense, and Google News.
The exciting idea in this blog post is that it is taking this brilliant industrial/commercial concept and taking it into classrooms. The writer Kate Petty has included an excellent Evernote shared notebook entry in which she has a list of sources of schools that have already taken the first steps in introducing a “20% Project” in their schools.
I think that any school that has the bravery and innovative spirit to let their students have 20% of their time to explore personal projects will reap the benefits in terms of their student’s increased motivation, skills and progression in research and study skills.
I would strongly recommend that you read Kate Petty’s blog post. I would be interested to know if any schools or colleges in The U.K. have tried this idea yet and if so, with what results.