The average number of classroom hours teachers dedicate to Tract each week as part of their Genius Hour/20% Time
As AJ Juliani explains, traditionally, students aren’t learning because they want to, but because they’re being told to, and are in a constant state of being “prepared” for the next test, assignment, or grade level. To truly accelerate in their education, students need more opportunities to explore their personal passions and interests.
This is where the idea for 20% time originated; stemming from Google's own 20% policy, where employees are given 20% of their time to work and innovate on something else besides their current project. It's been successful in business (ultimately leading to the creation of Gmail and Google News), and equally, if not more, successful in the classroom.
And, while Genius Hour seems like a fantastic idea in theory, it can be a challenge to envision how it will fit into an already busy classroom. One teacher cannot be expected to fulfill the unique needs of 25+ students simultaneously. However, students require that individualized support to learn how to be collaborative and creative critical thinkers. So how can we teach the next generation these 21st century-ready skills?
Leading educator Esther Wojcicki suggests you start by doing it just 20% of the time, giving students the supportive freedom and opportunity they need to thrive during class time. After all, as Esther states, “Creativity stems from chaos. Students can’t be creative if they’re just sitting in a classroom following instructions.”
Genius Hour can be chaotic - with 25+ different students going off to explore their own interests, ideas, and passions, there’s a lot for teachers to carefully monitor and plan each week to effectively manage each student’s time and output. Additionally, students who are accustomed to being told what to do and how to do it can feel overwhelmed without structured assignments, making Genius Hour extremely challenging to implement.
It's also difficult for teachers to keep up with current trends, and even harder to try and be an expert in every topic or interest area their students are passionate about. With a classroom filled with varying interests, teachers need to be able to adapt their planning and processes accordingly to do Genius Hour well.
Through self-directed classes, project-based challenges, and impact-driven, peer-to-peer motivation, Tract provides the structure and support to keep the whole class engaged through customized learning paths aligned to each student's unique passions and interests.
By empowering students to self-direct their learning on Tract for just 20% of your classroom time, learners will get access to the individualized support and challenges they need to thrive as successful young adults, without any new training or fancy tools required on your end.
"The engagement levels are so high, even amongst some of my most challenging students and those who have learning disabilities...we are now going to be doing Tract Tuesday - our version of 20% Time - where their program can be dedicated to Tract for half of the day."
-Ōtaki College, New Zealand