Many educators are learning all about new technology that has been provided or recommended by a school district to help them during this time of distance learning. For a lot of schools, administrators prioritize giving their teachers the flexibility to choose how they provide instruction and the technology they use in class. However, some schools have found that teachers are struggling to choose the right technology tools to use because so many options have been shown to them or are being offered for free. Jake Miller, the host of the EduDuctTape Podcast, Tech Integration Coach, Speaker, Math & Science Teacher, and Presenter, sat down with us to talk about what the paradox of choice means and how it affects technology integration during distance learning.

What is the Paradox of Choice 

The paradox of choice, as Tech Target defines it is, “an observation that having many options to choose from, rather than making people happy and ensuring they get what they want, can cause them stress and problematize decision-making.” Jake says, “when you have so many options, it doesn’t liberate you to choose, but paralyzes you because there is so much choice; leading to no choice at all.”

Have you ever had a hard time picking a restaurant to go to for dinner? That’s most likely because you have too many options of restaurants to go to. Having so many choices makes decisions a lot more difficult. 

Oftentimes, in order to make a decision, you narrow your options down by asking yourself specific questions, setting criteria, and categorizing the criteria to make a decision. Using the restaurant example, once you have picked what type of food you want, the price range, the distance, etc. you are able to make a logical decision about where to eat dinner. Don’t let too many options stop you from making decisions.

How does the Paradox of Choice Relate to Technology During Distance Learning?

Given the circumstances of distance learning, experimentation with new technology has become a huge trend. 

Due to the wide range of technology choices that educators have access to, many teachers have difficulty finding the right tool and struggle to organize the tools they already have because of the paradox of choice. During this time of distance learning, many companies have been offering their products to teachers for free, increasing the number of tools to choose from, and making their choice a lot more difficult.

Jake recommends that teachers think about technology in the same sense as the restaurant example. Teachers should narrow down their options by creating a list of needs or goals. A clearer sense of vision from the teacher will give them insight into what tools they really need and what would most benefit their classroom. This practice will eliminate confusion and enable teachers to really focus on specific technological tools to improve their classrooms.

When introducing technology to your school, make sure you take the paradox of choice into consideration and guide teachers in choosing tools effectively and with ease. Give your teachers curated and concise options of tools to choose from especially during times like distance learning. Teachers should explore their options but keep goals and needs in mind. Narrow down your list and pick the technological tool that is the best fit for your classroom.

Listen to the full conversation with Jake Miller on our Tackling Tech Podcast!

This week Brett talks to Jake Miller an EdTech enthusiast, host of the #EduDuctTape Podcast, Tech Integration Coach, former STEM teacher, influencer, speaker, and presenter from Ohio. Jake shares his observations during remote learning and the lessons he’s learned while educating educators to use technology in the classroom.

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