Maddux, C., & Cummings, R. (2004). Fad, Fashion, and the Weak Role of Theory and
Research in Information Technology in Education. Journal of Technology and Teacher
Education, 12(4), 511-533. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
Maddux and Cummings describe the reasons why many innovations in educational technology are mislabeled as fads. While they acknowledge that fads are a problem in most professions, they point out that education is often plagued with an overabundance of them. Through the article, they explain that the lack of trust that educators and policymakers have in educational research is partly to blame for many innovations, which could have a major impact on student learning, being labeled as fads. The article concludes by discussing how teacher educators must push their students to better understand educational theories and realize the import role that educational research can play in the implementation of new innovations in the classroom setting.
This article uses a few specific examples to demonstrate the difference between fad innovations that have few logical connections to educational theories and innovations that could have had a greater impact on learning but became fads because the pedagogy behind the innovation was not well understood by classroom educators. These examples allow the reader to better understand the importance of having teachers understand the educational theories behind the innovations they are implementing in their classrooms. The article concludes with suggestions that could alleviate the problems pointed out by the authors. These suggestions are things that could realistically be done to help educators and educational researchers to better work together toward the common goal of generating real change in the educational system.
For educators who are interested in creating meaningful learning experiences for their students, it is often hard to determine what educational technology approaches will provide the environment students can truly benefit from and what approaches are merely fads. Teacher leaders can use the material in this article to support the need for sound educational research which will truly support the decision making process in individual classrooms, schools, districts, and state departments.