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The 20% Project

A recent blog posted by Mr. J, an 11th grade English teacher, and how he was implementing the 20% project in his class.  In the education today, we are so focused on standards, assessment, and meeting mandates, but what about allowing students to expand their horizons for learning? 

Mr. J came up with the 20% project based off of Google's philosophy and policy.  Google's 20% Time was inspired by Sergey Brinn's and Larry Page's Montessori School experience, where a Google employee spends 20% of their time (the equivalent to a full work day each week) working on ideas and projects that interest the employee.  Google encourages this type of exploration and has shown results of 50% of Google's products come originate from this 20% free time, which includes Gmail.

I have read Daniel Pink's book Drive, just like Mr. J, and I do think people need more than just the extrinsic motivation for just doing their day-to-day job.  Based on Pink's book, there are three things that motivate people, other than money when it comes to a job.  They are autonomy, mastery, and purpose.  In the 20th century it was driven by how high you could climb the corporate later.  In the 21st century, people are in search for things that will stimulate and drive their intrinsic motivation for purpose, while mastering their skills and doing it in an independent work environment without having to be 'micromanaged'.

Maybe we can try and incorporate the 20% project to stimulate new ideas and allow for innovation to happen in each individual.  According to Pink, in many organizations this is stifled and innovation is stated, but it is not supported.


Liko said…
Great idea for the classroom and the office!

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