About this Research Topic
Education is a highly regulated field with many identified deficits and limitations, which often lead to inequalities and disadvantages for certain groups. Therefore, the education sector was increasingly confronted with reform and innovation initiatives across relevant fields (e.g., kindergarten, school, university or further education, social work). Education reports and international assessments are used by day-care centers to implement early childhood education and to open up to the primary sector. National and international demands confront schools with new concepts of school development. In Higher Education, the effects of international education innovations seem even more obvious (see for example the Bologna reforms in Europe and innovations around teacher education). In social education a renewed interest in emerging needs and resources in local communities has led to a rise of social entrepreneurs promoting innovative solutions.
In this Research Topic, we include education reforms in the discourse on social innovations, i.e., new ideas (products, services and models) that simultaneously meet social needs (more effectively than alternatives) and create new social relationships or collaborations. This is supported by recent empirical studies, which identify education as an important field for existing social innovation initiatives worldwide. Concepts of social innovation comprise normative positions that focus on changing social structures to increase social justice, often by empowering disadvantaged groups, pragmatic approaches that highlight feasible (often technical) and novel solutions to social problems. Others see intentional recombination of social practices at the core of social innovation. Thus, social innovations do not remain at the level of abstract goals or plans but imply an intentional re-structuring of social practices. Routine-based practice in general, along with pedagogical and organizational practices are also considered important resources for social innovation. Therefore, social innovations in education imply movements in knowledge resources, actor constellations, social practices and discourses of education.
The policy discourse mostly appears biased towards a positive connotation of social innovation as fostering a future-orientated and globally competitive development of educational systems. But research on education systems is increasingly addressing ambivalent implications of social innovations, for example resulting from conflict with established practice. Hence, it is an ideal time to publish a collection of articles on this topic to highlight the contributions that social innovation research can provide on the issue of actual development in the education system and, vice versa, on how education research can enrich the study of social innovations. The Research Topic unites contributions in an increasingly internationally relevant research field and provides answers to the questions as to whether and how educationally motivated interventions can (a) generate social innovations by mobilizing actors and their knowledge and pedagogical practices, or (b) provoke persistence and thus lead to a consolidation of knowledge stock, actor constellations and pedagogical practices. (c) We are also interested in an analysis of spaces, strategies, practices and methods that foster social innovation in the field of education and its various subfields.
Keywords: Social Innovation, Education Reform, Organizational Education
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.