Friday, October 19, 2012

Questions Have Always Been The Answer

"The dramatic shifts in how we work, learn and interact brought about by fast-moving technology and cultural change have made asking the right questions more important than ever for leaders trying to shape the world around them." [1]

"Virtually everything we know, experience, or enjoy has evolved over time, thanks to the power of asking the right questions.  In a sense, the exponential growth of the Internet has been driven to a great extent by our desire to ask questions and share our answers with each other." [1] We can thank Google for that!

In case some of you have been living under a rock since 1998, "Google is an American multinational corporation which provides Internet-related products and services, including internet search, cloud computing, software and advertising technologies. The company's mission is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful". [4]  Thanks to Google, our students have the ability to learn about whatever they want, whenever and wherever they want, and to contribute to this shared learning environment for the benefit of others.

We ask questions every day.  Furthermore, we ask the questions that are important to us and we seek out those who can help us find the answers we need.  Unfortunately, in traditional models of education, teachers have supplied almost every question that students must find the answer to. "In our schools we stand in front of rooms full of kids and we say, "These are your questions, you all need to find the same answers and you'll be tested on Friday".  Why can't our students solve the problems that are important to them, at the times to which they find them important?" [3]

Research tells us that "Questions improve engagement and form connections between previous knowledge and current learning content". [1]  "People are most likely to take a deep approach to their learning when they are trying to answer questions or solve problems that they have come to regard as important, intriguing, or just beautiful. One of the great secrets to fostering deep learning is the ability to help students raise new kinds of questions that they will find fascinating. Sometimes that means beginning with the questions that are already on their minds and helping them see how those inquiries lead to new puzzles." [2]

Curiosity breeds a sense of fun, innovation, and excitement, and those good feelings bring out the best in us. "This kind of inquiry does not result in being driven by data or becoming a slave to external evidence.  Teachers as action researchers or inquirers use external and internally collected evidence to inquire into their practices, assess their effectiveness, identify the reasons for difficulties and also successes, and plan how to improve and make interventions as a result." [1]

We each have our own motivation to seek information. Our goal as educators should be to provide students with the spaces, tools, and resources that will allow them to take advantage of that inherent, intrinsic motivation, in the ways and time frames that make sense to each of them. [3]

I want to create learning environments that foster creative inquiry and provide students with the tools they need to answer their important questions and connect students to the appropriate communities to help them find those answers. [3]  Furthermore, I want to connect and collaborate with other educators  from around the world to create these same learning environments for all students so that the next generation in the 21st century workplace will continue to keep us moving forward as a civilization.

The best thing about inquiry is the more questions you have ... the more you know ... and the more you know ... the more questions you have. This cyclical pattern is the reason why questions have always been the answer to learning, leading, and innovating. I think its about time to get our students asking questions ... don't you?


You might also like

Curiosity: The Simplest Most Powerful Learning Technology
Inquiring About Inquiry
Why Do I Have to Memorize This When I Can Just Google It?
The Evolution of Education: From Teacher to Co-Learner


References

  1. Reason, Casey. Leading: A Learning Organization: The Science of Working with Others. 2010.
  2. Will Richardson on Important, Intriguing, Beautiful Questions:
    http://willrichardson.com/post/33489569201/important-intriguing-beautiful-questions
  3. Google Teacher Academy UK 2012 Boone Langston:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hsuz4IQ0ZEs
  4. Wikipedia on the topic of Google: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google


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