HOROWITZ, SALA ZEPKOWITZ; PHD

                         UNIVERSITY OF OREGON, 1983

                         EDUCATION, THEORY AND PRACTICE (0532)

                         Innovations, faddism, and research impact on classroom practice are educator concerns addressed in
                         this exploratory study. The recent popularity of brain laterality research implications for education was
                         examined as a case study of such issues. To assess how educators distinguish innovations from fads
                         and rate recent developments in their field, a survey was developed and mailed to the Education
                         faculties at three Oregon universities. Respondents cited time duration as the major innovation-fad
                         distinguisher. Named as top-ranked innovations of the past decade were: computers in education, direct
                         instruction, and mainstreaming the handicapped. Foremost identified fads were: right/left brain-based
                         instruction, computers in education, and open-plan schools. Journals as information sources on these
                         innovations and fads were investigated. Diffusion research served as the conceptual framework. The
                         diffusion model traces: '(1) the innovation. . . (2) which is communicated through certain channels (3)
                         over time (4) through members of a social system' (Rogers, 1976, p. 207). Journals were differentiated
                         into practitioner and research types. An ERIC computer search provided journal article citations for the
                         survey's top-ranked innovations and fads. Except for the case of computers in education, significant
                         correlations were obtained for each development between the number of titles in the two journal types
                         defined. Resulting publication diffusion patterns were discussed, but no empirical basis for
                         innovation-fad distinction was found. Rather, survey responses on the fine line between an innovation
                         and fad in education were supported. Other considerations discussed included: innovation types,
                         possible innovation diffusion prediction models, and how such information on educational trends might
                         be useful in the understanding and planning of curriculum change.


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