Blogging, Web and Wiki Tools

Passionate Scholars

My Passionate Scholars will be researching topics close to their hearts and sharing the results. Many of us have heard of the Genius Hour or 20 time or Passion Projects. These projects are designed to allow students the opportunity to research topics that excite them. Last year I tried it (unsuccessfully) and I would like to do it again this year. I am trying to revamp the project and recreate what worked and change what didn’t work.

Here is what I hope happens….



 The Project

Students will research a variety of topics and publish the results. The goal is for the students to become an expert on that topic and share what is learned.

The Project Requirements

To complete this project successfully you will:
1. Pick a topic you are passionate about, something you want to learn more about. medicine. cosmetics. baking. dog care. coding. learning a language. making a boat. You are free to explore anything that interests you.
2. Find resources, books, websites, blogs, brochures, interviews, etc. on your topic to guide your learning.
3. Blog regularly. You will need to complete several blog posts and interact with our community of learners to serve as guides and support. Your posts should reflect your progress. Each post should also incorporate reflections on how your research is going.
4. Connect with an expert on your topic and conduct an interview.
5. Produce something – a presentation, a writing piece, a website, artwork, a song, a dance, a show, something tangible – that you share with people outside of our classroom.
6. Reflect on what you have learned in a TED-style talk.
7. Share all of your work on your online portfolio.

The Research Topics

Begin by exploring interests, ideas and feelings.

  • What’s in the news? Why?
  • What’s happening in the world that affects others or yourself?
  • Who are people who have influenced the world?
  • What’s interesting to you?
  • What would be interesting to others?
  • What do you want to learn about”
  • What do you like?
  • What do you dislike?
  • What makes you laugh?
  • What makes you cry?

The Presentation Talk

The point of the project is to provide students with the opportunity and support to explore. The final piece of the project will be a reflection presentation.

What have you learned? In a TED-style talk, you will reflect on what you learned during your research process. Presentations will be approximately five minutes in length and incorporate a visual component that supports the presentation but does not heavily rely on text. Each research group will carefully prepare and practice presentations before delivering

The Grading of the Project

Your project should demonstrate:

  • an engaging, well-produced project that was presented to classmates via our online class site. 
  • well though out design and production choices made in order to engage the audience.
  • use of the research through weekly reflection blog posts. Each blog post incorporates significant reflection on how selected texts are helping to guide the student’s learning. Each blog entry must be a minimum of two substantial paragraphs and incorporate specific details, examples, and quotations from texts.
  • information gathered from a variety of quality electronic and print sources, including databases. Sources are relevant, balanced and include critical readings relating to the topic.

My Mistake 

Initially, I asked that they begin the research process and create a pitch video to get everyone’s interest. Time and poor directions changed the project in midstream. My directions weren’t clear enough and many thought that completing the video was the beginning, middle and end of the project. They weren’t invested enough in the topic research to continue their learning journey once the video was completed. We worked on the projects one or two days a week. Next semester, I want to spend a week (or two) doing the work and attacking the research process. I hope that we will be able to complete two projects per marking period.

Student Products

Here are several videos made by my students in my first #PassionateScholars Project.

I hope that next semester I will be able to share more student-created videos from my #PassionateScholars. I also hope that they will be more in depth.

Does anyone out there have some tips? Shortcuts? Better ideas? Prayers for success?


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