Innovation

innovationI have to agree with Paul Bruno’s (MrPABruno) interpretation of “innovation” in his post today, Resolve to avoid these 5 meaningless educational phrases:

Innovative – Every once in a great while somebody will come up with an idea that is clever and new in education – flipped classrooms, maybe? – but in the vast majority of cases educational policies and practices described as “innovative” are anything but. The term gets used to describe everything from KIPP schools to project-based learning, neither of which involves much that hasn’t been in use for decades. When people describe an educational practice as “innovative” what they usually seem to mean is that it is a practice they endorse and believe is underutilized. If everyone’s favorite educational practices can be considered innovative, however, the word has probably ceased to mean anything.

What then is innovation? Is it second-order: perceived as a break with the past; lies outside existing paradigms; conflicts with prevailing values and norms; requires acquisition of new knowledge and skills; requires resources currently not available; attracts resistance? We have to at least start addressing the structures of time, grouping and space if we even want to get close to innovation. What are some examples in education that fit this definition? Hard to say since we tend to tinker instead of innovate.

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