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Carrier, Nathalie.
What Catches On? The Role of Evidence in the Promotion and Evaluation of Educational Innovations.
(Ph. D.)--University of Toronto, 2015.
Toronto :University of Toronto,2015.
1 online resource
Includes bibliographical references.
The debate about and support for innovation in education has heated up. There is hype around the possibilities novel and disruptive innovations can have on changing education practice and providing more effective learning solutions. The advent of the Internet and social media technologies allows for an abundance of innovation to be promoted and shared with and between educators, and the increasing use of technologies like iPads in the classroom results in the advertisement of innumerous new education applications. For the educator, there is the difficult challenge of knowing how to sift through this material and separate those innovations that may hold value for their classroom situation from those that have gained wide appeal. In this thesis I take an interest in how certain education innovations catch on and are adopted on a large scale, and how the marketing of these innovations in various kinds of media as well as the ways they are evaluated by teachers, contribute to this process. I separate my findings into two articles and use a set of six qualities generated from the research use and social psychology literatures as a guide (evidence, compatibility, accessibility, practicality, credibility, appeal), focusing on evidence in relation to the other five qualities. In the article on media promotion, I find the kinds of evidence used rarely came from formal research studies, but from anecdotal forms of evidence and general statistics related to use of the innovation. In the article on teacher evaluation, I find the teachers were open to trying out innovations, but had different strategies for evaluating and selecting them. Evidence was often discussed as a low priority criterion on which to base judgments. Overall, the results of this thesis show how difficult it can be to make a quick and informed judgment about these innovations where the teachers lacked tools to evaluate them consistently and effectively and where a wide range of strategies were used in their promotion. This suggests an important need that is largely not addressed in teacher training programs and professional development around providing teachers with guidance and training in their search, selection and evaluation processes.
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Research Use.
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