Help Create The 12 Killer Questions To Innovate US Education

Killer Questions that lead to breakthrough innovations

I've been asked (more like challenged) to create a dozen or so killer questions that could be used by teachers, schools, districts, state education agencies, federal agencies, etc. to help  innovate the educational system in the US.  I took up the challenge as a “pay it forward” project to help the officials think differently about the problem they are facing.

As a starting point, I've adjusted a few of the killer questions already in the killer question card deck such as …

Under what assumptions does my [classroom, school, district, state education agency, etc] operate?  Why?  How could we change each of the assumptions?

Using this question as an example, I brainstormed the following assumptions (keep in mind that I'm a technologist/innovator and not an expert in the education):

  • Students have to go to school a certain number of days per year
  • Teaching is done in classrooms of between 20 and 40 students
  • School hours are from 8:00am to 3:00pm Monday through Friday
  • Students are grouped in classes based on age
  • The percent of students who graduate from high school is “the” measure of a success for the educational system
  • etc.

Here is the ask:

Killer Questions For Education

The killer questions would be asked during brainstorming/ideation sessions/workshops with the different participants of the educational system [students, parents, teachers, administrators, politicians, etc]

Here are some of suggestions for creating great killer questions:

  • A given question should cause the team to look beyond the obvious and challenge their assumptions.  A weak example: What are the metrics to encourage better teaching?  A better example question would be: What do [students, parents, teachers, principals, etc] not like about [learning, teaching, administrating, etc] ? Why?
  • Wording of a question should be clear and avoid any confusion or inherent assumptions.  An example of an ambiguous question: What could we do to improve [what does ‘improve' mean?] classroom learning [how do you define learning]?
  • Test your question.  Ask the question to someone (spouse, friend, co-worker, etc) and get their reaction.  If they aren't challenged to look at the problem differently, then keep working on it.

How can you get involved?

  1. Submit a killer question (via the comments below) you think should be submitted as one of the 12.
  2. Review the questions proposed by others and make them better by suggesting improvements/enhancements (edit, challenge, etc).
  3. Vote for questions you like by replying to the comment.

I will choose 12 questions to forward on to the officials who made the request.  If your question is chosen, you will be added to the list of contributors.

Incentive:  If you are the first one to submit a question that I select, you will receive a free copy of the “Creating Killer Innovations” CD.  I will also award CD's to those individuals who contributed the best “improvements” of someone else's killer question.

Deadline:  Two to three weeks from the date of this post . . .

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