20 Education Buzz Words and Phrases


Is it wrong that reading this term still makes us think of a nice bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon? Bring Your Own Device, or Bring Your Own Technology—a term meaning that students bring their own smartphones, tablets, or laptops to class—has become so ubiquitous in schools, we’ve considered not reminding readers what the acronym stands for in our stories.

12. Technology for technology’s sake

Reminding educators that implementation of technology should be done effectively, and not just for the ‘new toy’ feeling, is admirable. But just like when our favorite song is repeated on the radio every five minutes, we’re getting nauseous at the sound.

13. Sage on the stage; guide on the side

“Guide on the side you are. Sage on the stage…you are not.” – Master Yoda. The meaning is wonderfully accurate, but the phrase makes us laugh all the same.

14. Student-centered

Do educators really not consider this? Saying “student-centered” at this point is like saying “breathable oxygen”: it’s rare it wouldn’t be, right?

15. Digital literacy

One of the most important concepts created in the last few years that we love to love. From understanding how to safely navigate social media, to understanding how to choose legitimate resources on the internet, every student should be digitally literate. In fact, we think this buzz concept should be in even wider circulation than it is currently.

16. Flipping

Created by Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams, Flipped Learning is a popular form of blended learning in which students learn new content online by watching video lectures, usually at home, and what used to be homework (assigned problems) is now done in class with teachers offering more personalized guidance and interaction with students, instead of lecturing. We think it’s great that teachers are trying something new, but if we get one more email asking us if we’ve heard about flipped learning, we’re going to flip something ourselves.

17. Common Core-aligned

Note to vendors: We know with 99.9 percent probability that your content is now Common Core-aligned. In fact, it would be a greater shock to hear that you’re not. Whether or not what you say is accurate is another matter.

18. Big data/data-driven

A couple of years ago, schools across the country invested in software that can generate data on everything in education from monitoring school lunches to tracking bus mileage, and from teacher performance to student achievement. The problem now is what to do with all this data, otherwise known as Big Data. However, data-driven, while a concise phrase, is also becoming too commonplace; at this point we could say our choice to serve turkey burgers instead of big macs for dinner is data-driven, and we wouldn’t be wrong.

19. “You have to educate to innovate.”

One of the more current buzz phrases, speakers at conferences and during webinars are beginning to use this phrase to highlight the need for students to become core subject-proficient in order to have creative thoughts that can translate into action. It all began with the White House’s campaign.

20: MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)

K-12 educators beware: This term is coming to a conversation near you! We sit right next to our higher-education editors and we don’t think they’ve said a word other than MOOC in the last year (it’s been a dull conversation). Not only do MOOCs have the potential to revolutionize higher-ed, but high school as well.

Bonus: Tech-savvy

Veteran eSchool News readers, we are aware we use this descriptor way too often! But then again, old habits, and fun words to write, always die slow deaths.

Meris Stansbury

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