TPACK is a framework that supports the integration of technology for effective classroom teaching. It combines technological, pedagogical and content knowledge as a way of thinking to support teachers in ensuring the use of technology is appropriate, thoughtful and effective during the planning stages. As a technology coach, my expertise lies in technological/pedagogical knowledge, where I support teachers in integrating technology for their specific content in a specific context. It is also important that I balance when digital technologies are appropriate and maybe not so appropriate to ensure that teachers move beyond just using a tool.
It is not enough for teachers to use technology for the sake of using technology; rather, technology should allow new learning opportunities that would not have been possible before (Mishra & Koeler, 2008).This makes me think of the SAMR model.
Dr. Ruben Puentedura created this idea of SAMR model for technology integration to help teachers understand that technology can reach many levels of higher-order thinking and create opportunities for our students to use technology to do things that traditional methods failed to allow for. As technology use moves up the chart, it moves from enhancing the learning experience to truly transforming the experience for students. This is where we allow students to really push their thinking and abilities through the use of technology.
Some examples of each of the components of this model are listed below:
- Typing a story in a word document
- Completing an online task, print it and submit to the teacher
- Using Padlet as a wonder wall with students including images to enhance
- Text-to-speech function for students writing a paper
- Screencasting on the iPad to explain a mathematical concept
- Students using Edmodo to communicate online at home and at school
- Students bringing their stories to life by animating and recording voices
- Students creating an e-Portfolio full of videos, web 2.0 tools and documentation of experiences with reflections by self, peers, teachers and parents
For the SAMR model, it is understood that the use of technology may vary across all four but it is important for teachers to think about what the real purpose is of the technology. If teachers are only ever using technology for substitution, is this really a good use of technology? Would the students simply be able to not use technology and achieve the same desired learning outcomes? When we move towards modification and redefinition, we are allowing students to develop their critical thinking and creativity skills as they show their learning and understanding in new and complex ways. The more we think about technology integration through TPACK and SAMR the more our students will be able to have meaningful learning experiences.
When technology, pedagogy and content knowledge all exist, it is about understanding the balance with the ever changing technology to ensure that best practice of teaching is always being exemplified in the classroom (Koehler & Mishra, 2009).
Koehler, M., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK)?. Contemporary issues in technology and teacher education, 9(1), 60-70.
Mishra & Koehler (2008). Keynote address [YouTube]. Available from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iCPLTz7Z-Q
TPACK framework is a well-known framework in the education technology realm that connects technological, pedagogical and content knowledge.
In my role of an educational technology coach, I believe that I sit mostly on technological/ pedagogical knowledge. I believe this is where I fall because I understand how to teach and good teaching practice and have to regularly stay up to date in education technology. However, I do not always know all of the curriculum in depth across the primary school. My role is to help teachers connect the content knowledge or their pedagogical content knowledge to the technological knowledge.
I believe that expanding to tech with tech-PACK helps to emphasize the technology knowledge needed to integrate technology as mentioned by Roblyer & Doering (2014, p. 53). However, it is important to remember that as a teacher leaving out the digital technology is okay when it doesn't make sense to use it. Thus, an important role of a teacher is to make conscious decision of when to include technology and when to just stick to content and pedagogy knowledge.
To do this, I plan with teachers on a given unit they are working on and provide suggestions for technology integration. From there, I may upskill the teachers in small groups or co-teach the lesson with my focus of technology and pedagogical knowledge . This is what Koehler & Mishra (2009) would describe as “An understanding of how teaching and learning can change when particular technologies are used in particular ways. This includes knowing the pedagogical affordances and constraints of a range of technological tools as they relate to disciplinarily and developmentally appropriate pedagogical designs and strategies."
Whereas most homeroom teachers would be developing the technology from me, I develop my understanding of the content from them. From there, our knowledge is completed as TPACK. My role is really to help teachers to become confident in integrating technology and providing them the knowledge and support to add this third component of knowledge to their teaching. I believe that supporting teachers in having all three types of knowledge is important before implementing technology into the classroom as they plan a unit/lesson. Adding the technological knowledge where appropriate in their units/ lessons allows them to provide a 21st-century learning community for their students.
Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70.
Mishra, P., & Koehler, M.J. (2008, March). Thinking creatively: Teachers as designers of technology, pedagogy and content (tpack). Keynote address at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE), Las Vegas, NV, March 3-7.
Roblyer, M., & Doering, A. (2014). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching: International Edition, 6th Edition, Pearson.