The Importance of Questions When Planning

I created this blog as a place to share ideas arising from my own research and experiences in the area of educational technology. In my current role as my school district’s technology leader, I often come into contact with proposals for the adoption of new technologies. In 20+ years or professional practice, I have seen may innovations come and go. I think many educators share a similar view.

I think that funding in public education is far too precious of a resource to use without significant planning and thought. Therefore, when faced with a proposal to introduce new technologies into an instructional environment, I often find myself asking many questions.

In asking these questions, my goal is threefold. The first is to gain as deep an understanding of a project as possible. I am a strong advocate for innovative technologies connected to deep change in classroom practice. Often, educators will think about what it ‘looks like’ in the classroom if the innovation is implemented well. However, there are often significant technical considerations that come into play before a new technology works seamlessly for teachers and students. Therefore, the first reason for asking questions is to gain a full understanding of what the technical challenges might be. It then becomes my responsibility to plan on how to overcome those challenges (if they exist), and give reasonable timelines for how long it might take to ensure that the infrastructure can support the planned deployment. The goal is for the technology to work well, right out of the gate.

As an educator, I believe that an innovation must be guided by clear curricular thinking. I believe that this is our collective responsibility as professionals. My second reason for asking questions is also to act as a project’s critical friend. Generally speaking, if a proposed innovation has clear, deep curricular thinking behind it, these answers are often self-evident in the proposal. In other cases, the deep thinking is revealed though question and conversation. In those cases where answers aren’t clear, my hope is that the questions help to provide clarity to what we are trying to accomplish for students through the proposed implementation.

My third reason for asking questions is more selfish. As a professional, I have a responsibility to engage in continuous learning. Those working in the field of educational technology know that the field is constantly evolving. While I work to keep myself informed, there is no way to maintain my own awareness of all avenues of innovation. When presented with a proposal, asking questions also allows me to learn, and I appreciate being given the opportunity.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to write a series of posts that deal with the different categories of questions that I like to ask. The questions themselves have value. I also believe that my accompanying explanations illustrate why I believe in a particular question’s value or importance.

Thanks very much for reading!

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2 Responses to The Importance of Questions When Planning

  1. Crystal Dumitru says:

    I am following with interest!

    • grarts says:

      Thanks very much for the follow. It’s something I’ve been planning for a while. I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and branch out!

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