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Monday, July 9, 2012

Has 'Innovation' Become a Mindless Buzzword?

The Wall Street Journal ran an article in May suggesting that the term “innovation” has been overused to the point of being cliché. The report showed the word was used 33,528 times in Security and Exchange Commission filings, an increase of 64% over the last five years, and that Amazon.com had 250 books released between February and May 2012 with the work “innovation” in the title.

It’s a subject Jason Tomassini of Education Week has been thinking about for a while. Tomassini followed up a blog on the influx of “innovation officers” in education by gathering responses he received from people who write about and study educational practices on his first post and the WSJ article.

“It’s not that our education system doesn’t desperately need to be shaken up. But as the WSJ article makes clear, we are applying these adjectives without any analysis, without any reference to history,” wrote Audrey Watters, an education technology writer and blogger for Hack Education. “It’s just marketing schtick and sloppy thinking—and I think that’s both disappointing and dangerous when we want to see substantive change in education and are stuck instead with seeing the mediocre and the mundane touted as transformative.”

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