Home‎ > ‎

20% Time

3M started it in the 1950's with their 15% Project.  The result?  Post-its and masking tape.  Google is credited for making the 20% Project what it is today.  Google asks its employees to spend 20% of their time at Google to work on a pet project...a project that their job description doesn't cover.  As a result of the 20% Project at Google, we now have Gmail, AdSense, Google News, and my favorite, the Google Teacher Academy. Using 20 Time in the workplace allows innovative ideas and projects to flourish and/or fail without the bureaucracy of committees and budgets.

The Rules
  1. You will spend 20% of our class time, or every Friday, working on what we'll call 20 Time.
  2. You may work alone or with a small group.
    • Decide carefully.  If you choose a small group, you will have to compromise with your group and deal with other personalities.  If you work alone, you have complete autonomy but you are responsible for the outcome.
    • Is this person a worker or floater?
    • Can I get along with this person for the entire semester?
    • Is this person going to keep on track or distract me?
    • This is not about hanging out with friends,but making something really cool.
  3. Choose a project that is new to you and something you wouldn’t normally do in another academic class.
    • If you are stuck, do some research on other educational 20% projects and take another look at what Google has done. Consider projects that could have widespread benefit to our school as a whole. Look for problems in our school that could use a solution.
  4. You must produce a product or achieve some sort of goal.
  5. Write up a proposal and pitch it to the rest of the class that includes a purpose, audience, timeline, and resources you will need to complete the project.  You will present your pitch in a "science-fair"-type presentation in front of other students, teachers, and community members.
  6. Choose an adult to be your official mentor.  I am an English teacher, I do not have a lot of experience with some of the projects you might choose.
  7. Reflect on the process each week on a personal blog (Your Google Site).
  8. If, at any moment, you feel lost, overwhelmed, or uninspired, you must set a meeting with me to find a solution.
  9. At the end of the year, you will present your project and reflect on the process in a five-minute TED-style talk.
  10. Failure is an option.  Simply learning from your mistakes teaches you a lot.