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How to Implement Genius Hour Effectively in Your Classroom

Pennsylvania Convention Center, 204A

Participate and share: Interactive session
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Kate is a Google Certified Trainer, Innovator, and Buck Institute Certified PBL Teacher. She worked as a 7-12 ELA teacher and district administrator over 18 years in Southern California. She holds a Master’s in Teaching and currently works as the North America Director for AppsEvents, a Google Partner.

Session description

There has been a lot of buzz about Genius Hour over the years. It sounds amazing in theory, but the implementation can be very frustrating. Learn tried and proven ways to introduce and execute a successful Genius Hour with your students over the span of one semester.

Purpose & objective

Genius Hour is an innovative way of creating and targeting learning outcomes for students while they choose the content they study. It is always helpful for teachers to try an activity before they assign to their students and this session will give teachers just that opportunity.
Participants will be able to understand how to help students identify appropriate content as well as plan and create the learning outcomes teachers want students to master.
During this session, participants will be immersed in a Genius Hour session and then step back to analyze how it is run.
Participants will use collaborative boards in during the brainstorming section and digital literacy skills throughout the research section. While not utilized in this brief interactive session, there will be additional online tools students will utilize when deployed in the classroom including: presentation tools, design tools, and audio/visual tools.
Teachers will be given a full outline to help guide them through the implementation of Genius Hour in their own classroom. Learning targets include digital literacy, digital citations, presentation design, and oral speaking best practices.
Leaving the session with a feeling of confidence, knowing they have the tools to implement successfully and having gone through the process themselves, will demonstrate a successful Genius Hour.

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Genius Hour Immersive Mini-Activity (30 minutes)
Participants brainstorm 10 topics they are curious about
Participants share their list with a partner and add topics their partner had that gave them ideas.
Participants star their top three and add them to an online discussion board so others can see. They add more topics as they get more ideas from everyone.
Participants choose one topic and get 5 minutes to explore the topic.
Participants volunteer to share their research with the session attendees.

Genius Hour - Presentation
Once the immersive part has finished, participants will be shown how to integrate the activity throughout a semester with specific learning targets for each week.
The end result is a TED-Style public presentation of what each student has learned with their topic, visual presentations skills, and oral presentation skills.

To End -
Participants will share their ideas for implementation and create an online community (created solely for this session) in which they can ask questions and cheer each other on.

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Supporting research

Edutopia Article 2022:

EdSurge 2018:

Edutopia 2015:

20-Time.Org - website and book:

School Website: West Ranch:

Practical Applications and Experiences in K-20 Blended Learning Environments/ Co-Authored with Tom Driscoll. Chapter Student-Driven Education with Flipped Learning and 20-Time. 2014. IGI Global Publishing.

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Session specifications

Student agency, choice and voice
Grade level:
Skill level:
Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers
Attendee devices:
Devices useful
Attendee device specification:
Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials:
Attendees will need access to the Internet.
Subject area:
Language arts, Social studies
ISTE Standards:
For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.
Creative Communicator
  • Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.