Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Google Model

What if we started to run schools like Google runs their business? Google is well-known for offering plenty of perks to their employees, like free food, (I've been to the GooglePlex and it is pretty good stuff!) refueling (snack) stations close at hand, laundromats, massages, concierge, etc. but I am not talking about those things. One of the things that Google does is allow all of their employees to spend one day a week working on a personal project. On the Google Campus, this is commonly known as "20% time." Many of these projects have made their way to becoming actual products or new features into existing Google products.

So, what I am suggesting is that we allow students in some classes to spend one day a week on projects of their own choice. They would post on their blog weekly on their "20% Project" documenting their progress. This would give students periodic feedback from their teacher and other students on their project, allowing them to keep on track. Their "20% Project" could be anything from a short film, a podcast, a tutorial or a series of articles on their favorite band or sports team. Just about anything that forces the student to become an expert in something and share their knowledge with their peers or the world as a whole is a valid "20% Project."

Here's a video of a Google engineer and his perspective on "20% Time."

I feel so strongly about this, I am going to suggest it to our Global Communications teacher, in fact by posting it here, she probably already knows!

What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know....


Tess205 said...

I am from a Computers in Education class and I feel this is a great idea. It allows students to use their own creativity and skills to create a project of their own using technology. I would assume there would be some guidelines for a school project, such as approval for the project (the topic) and maybe make some minimum requirements the amount of computer technology to use. I feel that you should require students to use a few different kinds of technology or programs to create a project. For example,they could research using the Internet and then present their project with a PowerPoint or podcast or a combination of things. It would be a great way to allow kids to brain storm and come up with ideas on their own and put them into action using technology. The blogging idea is also great because that practices their writing skills as well as communication skills. I think it would be good to require students to leave a comment on at least one other person's blog each week as well. That way they are learning about each others ideas and learning to better communicate through writing and technology.

Jawz-X said...

It's a wonderful Idea, however what about students that would abuse the program?

Also, are there any instances where this might already be in practice or at perhaps a trial?