Thursday, August 21, 2008

Podcast #157 - Could the Google 20% Principle Work in the Classroom?

Hello. Today's podcast is a carcast in which I discuss the possible use of Google's 20% principle in the classroom. How would it work and would it be possible. Just some random thoughts to start off the new school year.


  1. Matt M8:09 AM

    What you're describing sounds very similar to "History Day." The Minnesota Historical Society has some great resources if you would like to find out more:

  2. Because of pure laziness I need to ask you a question. How are you getting the odeo player on your blog. It is nice and compact and better than what I am using. Thanks in advance.

  3. Martin Roberts8:19 PM

    As a secondary school teacher, I think that this is a really interesting idea that is certainly worth pursuing. A more rigid version of this is quite common in schools in the form of 'negotiated projects', however asking the students themselves "You can dedicate one lesson a week to learning something that you are really passsionately interested in. What will it be? How can I help you in this topic?"

    We all know that kids are more learn a lot more when they themselves see a purpose or have an intrinsic motivation for it, so why should we not leverage this to everyone's advantage?

  4. Martin Roberts8:25 PM

    As a secondary teacher (and also someone who has followed Google closely) I think that this is a really interesting idea that is worth pursuing.

    When we realise that virtually all the Google services including Gmail, Maps, Froogle, Google news, etc have come from Google employees' 20%, one can quickyl realise the potential if we offered to our students for them to study whatever they were most intereested and passionate in for one lesson a week.

    We all know the million studies out there, as well as personal experience, to know that students learn best and knowledge is retained for longer when they see a purpose and when they are intrinsically motivated.

    We, as teachers, need to frame this option in a manner that allows them to follow their passion if they so desire, and if they don't can default to something like a 'negotiated study' for those students whose creativity is limited at the start of such a program. No doubt, once a few people begin to see the fruits of their self-directed learning, than their other peers will begin to have ideas of their own.

    Just a few more ideas to get this discussion going...


  5. Anonymous8:09 PM

    I am using a modified version of this idea in my history classroom. Each of my students were assigned a character on a notecard at the start of the school year. I use these cards to randomly change seats and to call on students. They are creating a historical "myspace"page with this character. I am allowing computer time for this activity every Friday until it gets done. Your idea ignited a good time frame in which I could get this done while still teaching the content.

    Grapvevine, Texas