There is a crisis of expectation in relation to educational technology. This is sometimes interpreted as a failure of academic researchers to disseminate their work to educational practitioners. However, another interpretation dwells on the lack of vision characterising such research. Because teachers often encounter research most intensely during their own pre-service and in-service education, we review academic research here through a snapshot of output from 10 leading university Education departments sampled in the UK and China. Empirical papers with a central interest in new technology were scarce, representing around 10% of the sample. Research was strongly situated in 'classroom' contexts although, as critics have suggested, with limited attention to the wider ecology of those places and with teachers being the focal interest as much as students. An 'outcomes' research orientation was less common than an interest in process. Although this was approached with different methodologies in China and the UK. Discussion addresses the challenge of effective and authoritative dissemination and constraints arising from the political economy of research itself.