The future has long been predicting us more time. Health and medicine are prolonging life while labour-saving devices from dishwashers to robots, word processors to iPhones, are sold with the promise of freeing up our hours.
Imagine, for a moment, there really was more free time in a day. For what? To sleep, perchance to dream? A US outfit called the Future Project is spearheading what it hopes will be a social movement to transform education based on just that: ask children to name their dream, then let them choose their learning path around it.
In this, as in so much, Google is an inspiration, The Atlantic reports. Google funds dreaming in the form of ''20 per cent time'', whereby employees are encouraged to spend a day a week on projects not necessarily within their job descriptions. Having (presumably) Googled the scientific research showing dreaming is not a waste of time but an essential tool for problem solving and creativity, Google's dreaming time has led not only to a reputation as one of the world's best companies to work for but to some 50 per cent of its products, including Gmail and Google News, it is reported.
Tim Shriver, who has what can only be a dream job as ''dream director'' of the Future Project, is quoted as saying: ''When human beings are passionate and exploring their dreams, when those things become a part of a person's life, they can do the impossible.''
Another inspiration is Daniel H. Pink, whose book Drive argues that projects driven by ''intrinsic motivation'' - that is, by a passion that comes from within - are the most successful and autonomy, mastery and purpose are the keys to success.
Any parent who has ever wished that their child could apply the same passion and motivation to their school work as to computer games, superheroes, skateboarding, surfing, whatever, will see the potential.
The Future Project is, so far, mentoring 1000 students. Some schools have introduced a ''genius hour'', a form of 20 per cent time, for students to pursue passion-inspired projects. There's a Twitter handle, #geniushour, devoted to the movement.