I was thinking about Google today and their 20% free time policy. Is it really free? If you are working on new ideas are they automatically Google ideas? Does Google get to keep them? Does a person really get to work on their passion? Anyway, I want to have a Room 210 Free Time policy. I'm not sure if I can justify 20% free time yet, but I'm hoping to work this out. As I read a few vignettes about this free time perk I realized there are lots of opinions about this policy. (see first few sentences.) I do think it's important to have time to pursue what we want to pursue. I also think we can't release our minds from the routine of work to further develop creativity if we never practice it. A comment on a blog about the 20% free time policy that struck me:
20% slack time is scientifically proven to be useful, especially for knowledge workers. Knowledge workers (like software developers) tend to produce good quality code when they are in relaxed environment. Google's strategy would produce good ROI over a period of time.
What would the effect be if students (i.e. knowledge workers) were given a free time policy? I think we teachers have to give our students a chance to be self-learners. Isn't this what we are as adults? Don't we problem solve what we don't know everyday? Students won't become self-learners if they never get a chance to practice. I think a free time policy may help.