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Innovation & Disruption

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Perhaps the most foundational assumption of the educational technology discipline is that new technologies can influence learning. How this happens and to what extent varies, with some believing that technology can serve as a positive force for change itself (technocentrism) and others arguing that its true benefit is to allow us to engage age-old problems and inequities with new life and in new ways.

Additionally, learning doesn't happen in a vacuum, and educational institutions are shaped by the social, cultural, economic, and political realities that surround them. Technology can play a role in shaping these realities by placing techno-cultural pressures on societies more generally (e.g., expectations that everyone has and will use smartphones), which then influence how educators and schools are expected to teach students (e.g., bring your own device initiatives).

Throughout conversations about technology's role in society at large and within education in particular, technology is often referred to through an innovation mentality, wherein new practices are expected to gradually supplant the old and students, teachers, and educational institutions are expected to adopt new habits and practices to become (or remain) cutting-edge. Alternatively, narratives of disruption, borrowed heavily from business, are also commonly used to articulate technology's role as a catalyst for change within entrenched systems. That is, the technology is seen to have potentially transformative power upon the system to shake it from its sleeping state to shape it into something new.

In this section, blog authors grapple with what innovation within educational technology has looked like over the years, whether technology has achieved its promises for transforming or disrupting the education space, and how scholars should approach innovation and disruption in their own spheres of influence.

Section Contents

25 Years of Ed TechIf We Were Really Serious about Educational TechnologyWe Can’t Let Educators Off the HookInterventionsWaiting for O SupermanA Field Guide to ‘Jobs that Don’t Exist Yet’A Definition of Emerging Technologies for EducationInnovation in Higher Education … and Other Blasts from the PastTo Lecture Capture or Not to Lecture Capture?Possible Futures for Innovation and Technology in Higher EducationThis is Not the Online Learning You (or We) are Looking ForReclaiming Disruption