I think a lot about learning, but this morning I was watching the TEDx talk below and it kind of rocked my world.  You should watch it. Especially if you also think a lot about learning.  Really.  I’ll pause so you can watch it:


[av_video src=’http://youtu.be/Uq-FOOQ1TpE’ format=’16-9′ width=’16’ height=’9′]


Did you catch it?  His point, I mean.

Stop learning. Start thinking. And creating.


As a teacher, at first this seems a little offensive.  What do you mean, “stop learning”?!  I teach students to learn!  But this 12-year-old’s point is actually quite profound.  Most of the time when students learn, they are simply ingesting pre-thought material.  They’re learning what someone else already thought about and figured out.  They’re learning important stuff, but it’s all someone else’s thinking.  Do we, as educators, want a world full of people who can only regurgitate what others have told them (stuff they’ve “learned”)?

Start thinking. Isn’t that where all the greatest discoveries and inventions have come from?  We don’t discover and create because someone teaches us about it or we learn about it from a book.  Someone started thinking.  Sure, he or she probably took everything they had learned and been taught and put it all together in a different way, but somewhere along the way, he or she had to step outside of what was known and get messy in the sandbox of ideas.

So, how often do I make my students think?  It’s not about the questions I ask to try and lead them to an answer.  Do my students ever get time to just think?  And then time to create with that thinking?  Or are they passive recipients of all the things that I/we think they need to learn to be successful?

[av_font_icon icon=’ue864′ font=’entypo-fontello’ style=” caption=” link=” linktarget=” size=’40px’ position=’left’ color=”][/av_font_icon] “…but somewhere along the way, he or she had to step outside of what was known and get messy in the sandbox of ideas.”

Enter Genius Hour (a.k.a. Passion Projects, 20% Time, etc.).  Before I thought of Genius Hour as a cool way to get students invested in education because it given them choice and a voice in what and how they learn.  But, it’s also an hour where they have to stop learning (what I tell them) and start thinking.  And eventually they have to create.

I’ll write more about Genius Hour later… I need to digest and explore and think a bit more.


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