Passion-Driven Learning For Educators: What if the Genius Hour Model Was Used For PD?

I’ve been doing Genius Hour projects with my sixth graders for the last three years and the student response has been extremely positive. The children say it’s the best project they have ever done in school and they absolutely love how they get to choose their own topics; researching things they are most interested in by following their bliss proving that passion-driven learning truly makes a difference. One enthusiastic student recently blogged about her experience with this exciting project here: Genius Hour Experience by Amy S.

The student topics chosen get more interesting and entertaining each year. 2015 examples include a study of accidental inventions, a step-by-step guide to video editing and an exploration of the Bermuda Triangle. I’ve collected a few examples in a beautiful Smore online flyer.

What If The Genius Hour Model Was Used For Professional Development?

I began to think about this essential question as the student enthusiasm for this project continued to grow. Could this model work to facilitate passion-driven learning for educators in an informal setting? I began to visualize the successful application of my idea:

I imagined teachers excitedly embarking on pedagogical explorations this summer and beginning the school year super-charged with new instructional strategies to utilize with their new students.

I envisioned teachers of all subject areas and levels using powerful tools like Twitter to personalize their PD.

I contemplated educators collaborating online as they pursued similar pedagogical passions – sharing “web gems” and “twitter treasures”

I began to formulate a plan for Passion-Driven Learning for educators using the Genius Hour model I described here:

Plato Would Have Loved Genius Hour

This is what I came up with. Click the image below to view it.



Lee AqrfTH7I-raoz is an educator, K-12 technology coordinator, staff developer and educational consultant. and master teacher. His blog is You can follow him @LeeAraoz on twitter.

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