Tag Archives: TED Talk

Winter Driving

It is January, that means winter driving. That means snow ruts.

Winter Ruts

Last weekend was one of those times when we were running around town all day. Groceries, Speech Meet, kids visiting friends, it felt like I was in the car more than in my house. Even the main roads were still a mess and as I navigated the snow ruts I got to thinking.

When a storm hits, ruts actually help navigate your path. The ruts give a clear path to drive in. It is the safest path to follow during the storm and right after the storm. But then something happens to that safety.

As time goes on the winter ruts become dangerous in two ways. When the storm passes and the sun starts to shine again, ruts become filled with slush that then becomes ice as the days progress. Trying to stop for a light or stop sign becomes dangerous because the ruts are filled with ice. You have to move outside the rut to gain grip on the tires so that you can stop.

The other way that ruts become a hazard is when the ruts become so deep you scrape the undercarriage of your car. Sometimes the snow storms come one after another, building up the snow on the ground and roads. Again, the winter ruts help at the beginning, but soon the ruts are so deep you can’t get out of them.  You have to alter your route because you can’t turn on a secondary street because you can’t get out of the rut.

Last Saturday I thought about this as I ran all over town. And as so often happens I thought about how the ruts of life work the same way.

Ruts are helpful to show us the way, specially in our personal storms. But after time, ruts become dangerous. They can keep us doing the same thing for so long we can’t get out of the ruts without a drastic change in course. Or our life becomes filled with issues that won’t allow us to stop, unless we make a drastic change in course. Even more, the ruts of life are not so easy to see, but so safe to travel.


Navigating winter roads is tricky.

Navigating life is even more complicated.


I wish you safe travels.

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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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Filed under Education, Life, Technology