Innovation Chains: Possibilities and constraints for critical perspectives on computers, difference and educational innovation

Year: 2004

Author: Rowan, Leonie, Bigum, Chris

Type of paper: Refereed paper

While declarations of 'innovativeness' are easily found in most educational contexts, it is significantly more difficult to locate detailed definitions of what educational innovation actually means. In this paper we are interested in identifying the extent to which mainstream takes on 'innovation' (as played out in contemporary technology and equity debates) reflect or respond to what we will define as the more innovative dimensions of innovation literature itself.

Our aim throughout this paper, then, is to begin the complex process of developing a means for distinguishing between projects that are 'badged' as innovative and projects that are more demonstrably (and sustainably) innovative. In this process we will distinguish between what Shiv Visvanathn describes as "innovation chains"-dynamic, rhizomatic, transformative responses to the contemporary world that lead to fundamentally new ways of conceptualising technology, culture and difference-and the constraints-or chains-provided by dominant understandings of innovation: chains which anchor us to existing, hegemonic and limiting understandings of student diversity and educational technology.