ERIC Number: ED350634
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
The Diffusion of New Math.
Ready, Patricia M.
The life cycle of "new math" is fertile ground for the study of the diffusion of an innovation. New math arrived in 1958 to save the day for America after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first successful space flight in 1957. In a period of 16 years an entire diffusion cycle was completed throughout the entire educational system of the United States. In some cases, new math was a success; in others it was a failure. The success of the classic diffusion of innovations model in this case history of new math is its delineation of the elements of the diffusion process. The four main elements in the diffusion of innovations are: (1) the characteristics of the innovation; (2) communication channels, time, and the social system. As evidenced by the available public opinion polls and the literature of the day, none of the attributes of new math, the existing communication channels, the rate of diffusion, nor the nature of the social system were favorable regarding the diffusion and success of new math. The inability of the diffusion model to predict consequences (both positive and negative) is one of its primary flaws. By making use of the lessons of new math, perhaps educators can ease the diffusion of new innovations that must take place if students are to be prepared for life in an ever more complex world. (Two figures of data are included and 33 references are attached.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Educational Issues
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (75th, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, August 5-8, 1992).