What I'm Learning: Audrey Watters asks really great questions.

This post is from a while ago, but I found it again and was compelled to make sure it gets seen by even more people. The questions she asks were originally for EdTech companies, but I wonder if they should apply to those who are trying to leaders in districts who claim to have the best interests of students in mind when they craft strategies for the way forward. 

What do you think? How should these questions be used?

“The Audrey Test”: Or, What Should Every Techie Know About Education?

I want us to set the bar really high when it comes to education technology — both in its development and its implementation. I don’t think it’s too much to ask. I mean, we’re talking about teaching and learning here, and while I believe strongly we should all be lifelong learners, most often when we talk about ed-tech, we’re talking about kids.


  1. Ben

    I’m commenting for two reasons.

    1. I have an affinity for anyone who shares me name; I want to believe that most “Ben’s” have a good grasp of the world 🙂

    2. Audrey asks many great questions. She embodies the spirit of Christopher Nolan’s Batman, specifically when it comes to her role in education. She’s the hero we deserve, but not the one most educational technologists need right now. Audrey has a unique perception into the world of both technology and education, and can see through the “I just want to help people” mantra of many start-ups. She can usually spot those truly wanting to make a difference, and those just trying to make a few million dollars with an eventual buyout.

    I’ve used her questions on numerous occasions; I’ve been blogging enough that start ups will often reach out to me, or notice a significant number of individuals in my school district are using a tool that I’ve recommended; I usually ask them a few of Audrey’s questions to quickly access whether I should tell me teachers to invest time in the product, especially the question about a sound business strategy; the last thing I want to do is popularize a tool that the founders do not intend to stand behind once they’ve sold out or realize has no means of sustainability in absence of a buyout.

  2. Ben Wilkoff

    I’m so glad to hear that you have been using these questions systematically in your work. I wish I could say the same. For me, there has always been a healthy skepticism for the longevity and purposes behind many of the tools that have been created “for teachers”. However, I don’t know that I have done a good enough job asking about whether or not these founders (or the people that use the tools) have the pedagogical knowledge in order to make the decisions for themselves. I think I have assumed that they were doing it for the right reasons too often.

    I wonder what we might do to help embed these questions (or others), into our workshops, our IT departments, and our classrooms. How do we make it easier to get excited about these tools “for the right reasons?”

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