Tony Gurr

Back to Basics – “QUESTION Basics”, that is!

In Classroom Teaching, Teacher Learning, Technology on 04/11/2013 at 2:45 pm

DNA (LEARNing TEACHer) Blog ver 01


I’ve been getting a lot of flak recently for doing so much on all that “bloody TECHnology stuff”!


Come on…not my fault!

I’ve been doing a few programmes / projects of late that are designed to put the TECH into the EDwithout forgetting the LEARNing – especially the TEACHer LEARNing!


Tech Change (Clay Shirky quote) ver 01


…and, Clay is a guy I choose not to disagree with too much

(unless it’s about hair-styles)!


Now, the plan (for this current post) was to look at some of the questions that we (as TEACHers) really need to be asking ourselves as we look at ways to “use” (more) EDtech – to enhance what we need to be doing….to help our students do more with the stuff they are supposed to be LEARNing….with us!

Yes, that’s a mouthful…and a half.


That’s because we need to be doing more than just “DOing” stuff in the classroom…

Thinkers wanted (blog ver 02 TG)

…we need to be THUNKing DOers – in our classrooms!


What I was going to do (in this post) was look at a few of the questions all TEACHers need to ask BEFORE they jump on the latest band-wagon or hand over their credits cards to one of the many…

Digital Cheerleaders ver 02

…that are out there – lots of whom (sadly) are TEACHers, too!


You know, questions like:

LEARNing First TECH Laters 01


This one is even “sexier” (probably because I stole and co-opted it from Clay Christensen):

LEARNing First TECH Laters 02


Not only the EDtech you “hire” yourself…what the school also hires – for you!


Why, Tony?

Why do we need to question everything?

I just want to get on with my job…


Well, because…of what Uncle Clay (the first one) tells us above – but perhaps, more importantly,



Let’s look at an example (very) close to home (if you live here in canım Türkiyem):

Fatih Project

I am a Turk now – can say what I want about OUR projects!


Did it work? Is it working? Will it ever work – if we throw more money at it?

Why not?

DUMB things with SMARTboards (Heidi Hayer Jacobs quote) ver 02 TG


What’s the price-tag?


Me thunks…someone, somewhere got some ‘splaining to do – to all us tax-payers!


Questions, questions, questions…are GOOD!

Never let anyone tell you any different…


If we start asking these types of questions (about allthingsEDtech), others just start bouncing around and out of the old grey matter:

How does this tech 01


But, heywhy stop at student LEARNing:

How does this tech 02


…when we can (also) do so much more with our own TEACHer LEARNing!


Questions, questions, questions…


…because we all know (especially if you speaks a wee bit of Mandarin):

Questions (Chinese Proverb) ver 02 TG


Now, that was what I WAS going to say (in this post)…but I won’t – because a few of you are a bit fed up withall that “bloody TECHnology stuff”!


So, let’s really get back to “basics”:

What is this




  1. I’m reminded of a conversation in BETS (Bilkent Education Technology Suport team) which I related to kick off a conference presentation:

    Reyyan: Surely we use technology because we want to become better teachers.

    Me: No, we use technology because it’s bright and shiny, then we think of an educational justification later.

  2. Yeah Tony, why we need to ask all these questions. 😉
    Tech is good, but it is not essential for learning. Learning starts with the person. I keep telling me the rest is just a tool.

    🙂 Rose

    • Rosie,

      True – only LEARNing is essential for LEARNing…and fitness-for-purpose is “key”. Part of the problem is that we focus on the “software” or “tool” (e.g. PowerPoint or Twitter) rather than the more important (human) “purpose” – sharing, presenting, reflecting.

      Human “verbs” are always better than edTECH “nouns” 😉


  3. I didn’t have much time earlier, but I couldn’t leave at just that! And there is one thing that bothers me in all the tech trendy kind of education we have. One side totally afraid of taking advantage of technology and another side totally into it without you know… But is this just about the teachers? What about the students?
    Shouldn’t learners be designing their own learning as well? Shouldn’t they be asking the same questions for themselves? Why do teachers have to do all the thinking?

    For a system where we learned not to be thinkers but to reproduce the system, learners and teachers will have to take this journey together. Is that actually possible in our current model of education?

  4. And by the way, you know the game with powerpoint I had just used (my latest post) I could have gone by totally without it. I experimented with the same game (using the whiteboard instead and few colored boardmarkers) in different groups and in different ways and all of them worked nicely with or without the ppt, the result would have been the same. The result here is how learners felt during and at the end of the competition. However, the possibility of having images and sounds to ilustrate the vocabulary does add something nice to it. What I love about technology is the possibility to enhance senses and connecting learners to the outside world. Thanks a lot, I was suppose to do a follow-up of my journey in understand playfullness and this got me started. 😀

    It’s nice to have the time again to read more blogs.

    • Yes, for me that is the key (are the keys):

      Does the EDtech make the idea more engaging?
      Does the EDtech help me do something more that I had thought possible?

      Engagement & motivation are important – but if a teaching/learning idea “sucks”, not technology will make it better. I like what Dina Strasser said about Technology being a “motivational red herring”! It is a good (human) teaching and learning idea that makes for a great classroom activity – the tech can help it become “sexier” 😉


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