Between 2002 and 2007 Blackberry phones with lots and lots of buttons were the phone to have. Steve Jobs, despite this trend, went to his design team and told them they could design a phone with only one button. In 2007 Apple launched the iPhone; the rest is history. The iPhone, with its simple user interface has become the best selling phone in the world.
Often, educational technology tools are like Blackberry phones. These tools are frequently complicated and require too many steps. Just like the simplicity offered to the world by the iPhone, Educators need simple tools! If it takes too much energy or training to use a tool, then it is probably not the best tool. Evaluate all tools using the “Keep it Simple” mantra. Look to see that the user interface is intuitive, as teachers should not be expected to be tech experts. Rather, they should be great educators who understand pedagogy, their content area, and their students.
The good news is that most educational technology companies realize the need for a simple user interfaces and are creating products that meet this need.
Before you choose a tool, I recommend that you give it to some of your lower tech users and see if they can figure it out without a lot of assistance. If they can use it, it probably is user friendly.
To learn more about the 17 Deadly Sins of Flipped Learning Technology Selection, you can take the free course at http://learn.FLGlobal.org
Read about the third Deadly Sin, ‘Switching Costs’, here.
Read about the fifth Deadly Sin, ‘Interactivity’, here.