Choice or Indecision?

As stated in Barry Schwartz’s TED Talk, too many options can be paralyzing.  We all feel empowered by choice.  It gives us a sense of control of our lives, of our own happiness.  But I agree with Barry Schwartz’s there is a negative side to choice.  Whether it is too many choices, or an unexpected choice, we don’t feel empowered.  We feel frozen and unsure.

Personally, I went through this last week.  I was presented with an unexpected opportunity to return to the classroom.  Understand; this was a choice that was totally unexpected.  It challenged me to think about my future: where did I want to be in five years?  Where did I want to be next year?  Instead of feeling free and honored to be considered for the position, it froze me.   I decided to stay with ESU 10 at the moment because I needed to finish what I had started.  Where will I be in five years?  I can’t say for sure, but that is for another blog.

But I’m starting to see this paralysis in education.  Many schools are considering going to a 1:1 environment with iPads.  I think that is awesome, but there is a hurdle that needs to be addressed: app choice.

7415 free apps in the area of productivity.  How productive would I be sifting through all those choices? I know what you are thinking; use the search option.  OK.  I’ll use the keyword “Grammar” (Hey, I’m an English teacher).

Results: 720 apps, both free and paid.

As the landscape changes in the classroom with mobile technology, it is good to be aware of different hurdles that a school, a teacher, or student may face.  In this case the option of choice regarding apps.  A great benefit of mobile devices is the ability to personalize content and the learning experience a student has through the apps and tools provided for them. But which app to choose? There is not a “right or wrong” answer here, but Barry Schwartz’s does present a philosophy to consider.

We are in a transitional period, a reconstructing of our “fish bowls” you might say. It is not easy, but it is exciting to be in the mix of this change.  What will education look like in 5 years? The choice is ours…


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