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A new concept called ‘initiative fatigue’ has educators griping

initiative-school-fatigueThere’s a philosophy in fashion that goes something like this: Keep it; it’ll be back in style in another few years. Just like the clothing industry, education has a cyclical nature of its own, mostly around initiatives, leading educators on social media to discuss what they call “initiative fatigue.”

Initiative fatigue stems from what educators say is a new initiative touted as the savior to whatever education problem plagues you. For example, Common Core for 21st century learning, computer-based testing for better student data, and a focus on STEM for global competitiveness.

(Next page: What educators are saying)

More specifically, education technology initiative fatigue is spreading like wildfire, with many in the education sphere refusing to buy one more personalized computing device or another app without evaluating its staying-power and relevance.

Do the right work. “Hard to even know what the “right work” is anymore. #initiativefatigue” tweeted Principal Curt Rees.

“Is your school suffering from initiative fatigue? An implementation audit will help,” tweeted Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt.

Perhaps one reason educators are becoming tired of initiatives is because many initiatives have predecessors; predecessors that have barely gone cold before the new version is being implemented in every classroom.

In this eSchool News list, you’ll find a list of 10 initiatives currently in schools today, as well as their predecessors.

And while there are more specific initiatives that focus on topics such as school lunch, student health, dress codes, teacher evaluations, professional development, and the role of administrator, we made this list on a broad scale.

Take a look at the list and let us know what you think: Are there any initiatives we’re leaving out? Do you feel initiative fatigue? What do you think the next reiteration of some of these initiatives may be?

Leave your comments with the story or talk about it on Twitter at #eSNInitiatives—we’d love to hear your thoughts!

(Next page: 10 initiatives)

[In no particular order. Initiatives begin with their oldest version and go to the current version.]

1. Desktop computers; 1:1 laptops; 1:1 tablets; BYOD.

2. No Child Left Behind (NCLB); Race to the Top (RTTT); Common Core State Standards (CCSS); Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

3. Scantron testing; computer-based testing; adaptive testing.

4. Overhead projectors; interactive whiteboards; Student Response Systems (SRS); 3D projectors.

5. Web 2.0 online resources; eBooks; Create-Your-Own textbooks.

6. Online learning; blended learning; Flipped Learning.

7. Extracurriculars; longer school days; year-round school; after-school activities.

8. School day divided by subject and bells; gendered classrooms; open classroom design.

9. Chat rooms; Facebook; virtual reality; safe social networking through classroom learning networks.

10. Card cataloging skills; online search skills; digital literacy skills.

BONUS! When initiatives move backward: Latin and Greek; French and German; Spanish and Chinese…English.

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Meris Stansbury

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