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Examining conceptions of innovation in educational technology [INTERVIEW]

'Circular Tire Tracks'

A few weeks ago Lisa Phillips, a Masters student at the University of Oxford, asked for my help in scoping ‘rebellious approaches to educational technology’. I found the questions she asked so provocative and appealing I invited readers of this blog to complete her brief questionnaire.

Lisa followed up that questionnaire by interviewing me yesterday. With her permission, I recorded the conversation and have made it available below (it’s also here).

This study is an exploration of how innovation is defined within the educational technology field: what values and conceptions are ascribed to innovation, how and why programs and ideas get named as innovative, and whether or how we form a shared definition of innovation.

It’s quite long, but I’d love to hear any feedback!

(note that my views aren’t those of JISC, etc.)

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  1. Well I spent most of my walk across Hampstead Heath this morning listening to this. If you substitute the word creativity for innovation you might be able to tease out the issues a bit more. Are people globally creative – again it depends more on the power structure and the institutional contexts. What the affordances of technology are are perhaps nothing more than the facility to join people in ways not possible before and to give access to information, skills and expertise that were occult or definitely harder to garner years ago especially if you came from a certain background. All around me I see younger people following interests that are as diverse as the people interested. I’m not surprised people do not question the curricular content – you’d probably need philosophy on the curriculum to do that.

  2. “It’s not usually
    in the best interests of institutions to let individual teachers to make those
    decisions”
    When I heard this in the interview I would have choked on my cornflakes if I had not already been walking to school. By the time I got to school and listened to the whole interview I could see where this fits in. If I look at this from my perspective, I am a teacher who is being innovative not just with technology but with my approach. It has led to some parents question whether their child’s next teacher will approach teaching and learning in the same manner as they have seen their child become much more involved in their learning due to the approach I am using. I can see why you said this but I disagree with the institutions that would support it.
    In another school I may not have been so supported by a headteacher and would have had to follow suit and ‘be like the rest’.  Some of us can’t be mainstream, can’t follow suit. We like to be different, innovative, push boundaries. Without us the rest would still be staring at the sky waiting for the next lightening bolt to make fire.

  3. Lovely to hear the personal impact and opportunities available for innovation whilst you were in Doncaster. There was a period of project and cash rich support made possible as ‘something needed to be done differently’ and I think you benefitted from this at your school as did I at a nearby school and for a few years at the CLC. You will be interested to learn that these innovative networks have all but disappeared and those progressive headteachers have withdrawn back into safety zones – regurgitation over innovation and of course there is a lack of funding for projects like m-learning and even netbooks never mind the iPads and 3d technology that came in more recently. A shame and an opportunity to be the avant garde missed as is so often the case in provincial towns. Thanks for sharing the full interview; fascinating.