11 ed-tech buzzwords and phrases to think about

Do these “edubabble” terms have meaning or are they just empty rhetoric?

Get a group of educators together either online or in person and at times it can seem like they’re speaking a different dialect. Want to disrupt the fixed mindset and combat the device gap in the age of the digital native? Well, have you tried innovating your hidden curriculum? Just add more grit (or should that be rigor?). And do it all like a pirate. No, wait: a rockstar.

At best, ed-tech buzzwords can serve as a sort of shorthand when conversing with like minds to quickly touch on relevant, universally-understood phenomena, perhaps with an eye toward saving precious Twitter characters to add additional insight. At worst, as one blogger put it, edubabble is “an act of unconscionable self-indulgence.”

Moreover, in fitting with language’s protean nature, shiny new terms are likely to elude a single, fixed definition, making them even more incomprehensible to outsiders, or even other insiders. To educator Mark Johnson, in a recent blog post, it recalled the scene in Lewis Caroll’s “Through the Looking Glass” where Humpty Dumpty misuses the word “glory” in triumph at having successfully explained the concept of birthdays and un-birthdays to Alice.…Read More

Grit, optimism and other buzzwords in the way of education

Angela Duckworth was recently awarded a $625,000 “no strings attached” MacArthur genius grant for her research on “Grit,” Forbes reports. Along with perseverance, initiative, and optimism, grit is one of the hottest buzzwords in K-12 education. Many teachers, policy makers, and reformers are shifting their focus from cognitive skills to character attributes. Supposedly, these “21st Century Skills” correlate more directly to an individual’s long term success. Unrelated to new technologies, or digital literacy, 21st Century Skills are all about desirable character traits. I’m all for a move away from dependence on standardized test scores, but the focus on “character” is suspect. Paul Tough writes, “We have been focusing on the wrong skills and abilities in our children, and we have been using the wrong strategies to help nurture and teach those skills.” In his book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, Tough celebrates the KIPP charter schools. The KIPP schools use a “Character Growth Card.” Teachers rate students’ demonstration of a series of attributes, such as social intelligence, gratitude, and curiosity, on a scale from one to five. This report card is central to KIPP’s pedagogical strategy…

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