Sample Focus Group or Interview Questions

The questions on this page are focus group or interview questions. As such, they are intended to be used for discussion where an interviewer asks the question and likely follows up with another question in response. These questions are also good for building consensus or focusing in on particular issues in a group interview (focus group).

For questions and sample instruments that are not focus group/interview questions, please see our page on other data collection tools.

Teacher Questions on Curriculum and Pedagogy

Student Use of Technology

Describe how your students typically use lab or classroom computers (specify lab or classroom).

Please describe the relationship – as you see it - between technology and your curriculum.  For example, how integral are technology tools for you and your students in mastering curriculum objectives?

Technology’s Overall Impact on Teaching and Learning

How do you know when your students are using technology as an effective tool for learning? What do you see?

What role does technology play in helping you achieve your overall curricular objectives. Could you give an example of something from your classroom that illustrates how technology impacts student learning?

Can you provide any examples of how you or your students utilize technology to support individual learning styles?

What role does technology play in helping you achieve curricular objectives? (probe for any more general role in meeting student learning in general)

What barriers do you face in achieving your objectives related to using technology as a tool for teaching and learning?  (probe for barriers related to PD, Policies, Administrator actions)

21st Century Skills

How would you define a 21st century learning environment?  How does your classroom and what happens in it reflect this definition?

What 21st century learning skills do you believe are important for your students to develop? Can you give an example of how these are encouraged in your classroom?

What elements of project-based instruction have you incorporated into your classroom? (make clear that this is with and without technology)

What does the term “technology integration” mean to you, and what does it look like in your classroom?

What technology skills do you feel are important for your students to develop? (i.e., what skills do students need to be considered technology literate)?  And how do your students currently develop their technology skills?

Through what classroom activities/courses/assignments do your students currently develop these skills? (probe for any info on particular technology tools or applications used.)

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Professional Development

What sorts of technology professional development are available to you? (probe for general opinions about PD as well as the kinds of “sharing”, “flexible” etc. models that are spoken of in the indicators)

Please describe the type of PD that best helps you learn about and implement new teaching methods. How could the district more effectively meet your professional learning needs? (probe for ideas about how PD has – or could – impact student learning in their classrooms)

Can you describe some specific ways that your PD experiences have impacted student learning in your classroom?

What portion of your common planning time would you estimate is used for issues related to technology? (try to get a feel for whether this works for them and/or do they get adequate time to do what they need to do with technology)

Do you have any ideas for how your school or the district could be more helpful in helping you develop curriculum ideas/activities that utilize technology?  (Probe for ideas related to professional development, support, curriculum requirements, etc.)
What if any incentives exist for motivating you to integrate technology into your curriculum and other classroom learning activities?

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Policies/Administrator Questions

What do you feel has been the greatest catalyst – and why – for the use of technology as a tool for teaching and learning among the teachers?

What 21st  century learning skills do you feel are important for your students to develop? Could you give an example of how these are encouraged in your school?

Role of the Administrator

What do you see as your role as an administrator in helping move forward the work of technology integration?

What’s your vision – your ideal - for the role of technology in teaching and learning? (make sure that they understand that we’re not asking about day-to-day reality, but the IDEAL.  PROBE for 21st  century skills…even if you don’t use that term.)

How is this vision conveyed and demonstrated to your teachers and the parent community?  Do you feel that your vision is shared by all teachers and the parent community?

What, in your opinion, do you and your teachers need in order to fully realize this vision?

What can you as a building principal do to support integrated, effective use of technology throughout your school and parent community? And specifically, how do you motivate teachers to implement your vision for the use of technology as a tool for teaching and learning?


Is the use of technology included in your teacher evaluation procedures?  Please explain.

What sorts of policies exist to encourage teachers to partake of professional development and implement new strategies in the classroom?

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Infrastructure and Support

Within your current school/district, do you have access to the technology and support necessary to accomplish your curricular goals?  (Even if the technology is not present in your classroom, is it available when and where it is needed?  E.g., are laptop carts available when necessary?  Lab time/space?  Other devices?)

Do you feel that you have access to the technology that you need in order to incorporate it in all ways that you wish?

Please define the term "technical support."

Now describe for us the type of technology support you receive from your school/district.

What barriers have you encountered in trying to use technology with your students in your school?

Are there other technology tools that you would like to incorporate into your classroom or have access to?  What would those tools allow you or your students to do…or do better?

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Parent/Community Questions

Do you have a sense for what your school’s “vision” is for how technology is used as a tool for learning..and how is this communicated to you as a parent?

What learning skills do you feel are important for your students to develop? (It’s ok if they start by taking about “tech skills”, but then probe for things beyond .  Probe for things like communication, collaboration, thinking skills, etc.)

To what extent do you feel that your children are developing those skills – technology and other - through their school experience?

What “21st century” learning skills do you feel are important for your students to develop? (probe for things beyond “tech skills” or PPT……)

Can you recall specific student projects or activities that promoted or encouraged the development of these skills?

How satisfied are you with the amount and type of technology that seems to be available for your children to use at school?  Any suggestions for changes or improvement?

Are there any other specific technology skills or experiences would you like your children to have while at XXXX Public Schools?

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Students Questions (Secondary)

I’d like to start by getting a feel for the kinds of things you have been doing with technology as part of your schoolwork in high school…could you describe something you’ve used technology for this year?

So, in thinking about the kinds of work you have been assigned in high school, as well as what you may be doing beyond high school, what kinds of technology skills do you feel are important to have?

How helpful was the 9th grade “21st Century Computing” course in developing the skills you need?

Thinking back over the years that you’ve been in WP schools, do you feel that you’ve consistently been assigned work that involves technology? Or, were there some years where there was a lot more or a lot less ? Why do you think there was this variation?

Do you believe that you have sufficient access to technology at school to those things that you want and need to be able to do with technology?  Has this been consistent over the years you’ve been in WP?
(try to probe for differences between secondary school where they are now and their experience in lower grades/elementary)

Do you feel that what you’ve done in school with technology (what you’ve used, what you’ve learned) has prepared you for your future after you leave school? Why or why not?

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Last updated, February 14, 2012