Excepert from A.J. Juliani's article "Reimagining Genius Hour as Mastery Hour"
In the 14th century, the term "genius" was regarded as a guardian spirit. Yet a person with "unworldly" talent was said to have a genius, because his/her gift (of genius) being a supernatural act. No one was said to be a genius, because that would quite literally mean you were a guardian spirit.
This changed in the 1600s, when the meaning began to morph and people would use the term genius to describe someone with natural ability, and someone with an exceptional natural capacity of intellect, not necessarily just a gift from a supernatural friend.
By the end of the 17th century, this usage was common, and the old terminology of having a genius seem to fall out of the public vernacular. When you look at Google nGram, the word "genius" was at it's highest point of usage in the late 1700s and has been dropping in use steadily since the turn of the 19th century.
However, the word genius still resonates with people from various different cultures today. It conjures up images of Einstein, and we use it to describe contemporary leaders like Elon Musk. Elizabeth Gilbert - the author of Eat, Pray, Love - talks about this change in usage for genius during her very memorable TED talk. She muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and brings back the idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us may "have" a genius.
Genius Hour is one of the Big Ideas that lead us to our Inspiration Project. This article talks about the importance of letting students design and have control over their own learning and even the importance of failure.