Understanding TPACK

Photo courtesy of tpack.org
Using the TPACK Image. Digital image. Tpack.org. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://tpack.org/&gt;.

In today’s education it is no longer only about an educator’s knowledge of content (the subject matter in which they teach) and knowledge of pedagogy (the practices and methods in which they teach) that makes them an effective teacher. What makes an educator in the 21st century effective is understanding that there is a third domain in play, technological knowledge. These three domains make up TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge).

TPACK operates under the notion that all three domains work together, not separately. “In this model, knowledge about content (C), pedagogy (P), and technology (T) is central for developing good teaching.” (Mishra and Koehler, p.1025).

I hear all the time that “teaching isn’t what it used to be” and “these kids just don’t know what to do with the technology, why are we allowing this to happen?” Recently we read an article and watched a video in ED 7710 on embracing change, where we should embrace the new technology rather than run from it. My thoughts after reading about TPACK is that it is our responsibility as educators to develop and polish our skill sets, just like we ask our students to, and learn new ways to leverage this new technology into our classrooms (pedagogy). This can be done through professional development or simple online exploring. Once we find an effective platform (Google Classroom, Edmodo, Moodle, etc) that students are comfortable working with, we can take our subject matter (content) and use that to enhance student-learning experiences through online discussions and simulations.

In my classes I have found that using a platform that students are comfortable with helps ease the frustration of actually learning the content. If it is easy to find the assignment and readings, then this puts them in the right frame of mind and will most likely make them feel better about completing the assignment. In these assignments, teachers can use their technological skills (C) to use screen captures to annotate important steps in their assignments, screen cast to demo lectures or to even flip the class. By learning new technology and the advantages that come with it, teachers will notice that it fosters collaboration, which creates a social learning community inside and outside the classroom.

Learning about TPACK has made me aware that every lesson and every assignment needs to connect all three domains to provide students with the best opportunity to learn, not only the content of the class but also how to use modern technology to learn and collaborate with others. I look forward to incorporate this further into my teaching through blended learning and using the flipped class model.

-John V

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A Framework for Teacher Knowledge. Teachers College Record, 1017-1054.

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2 thoughts on “Understanding TPACK

  1. We similarly agree that teacher training is important for effectively integrating technology into our classrooms. It is interesting how you parallel its importance to what we expect of our students. Teachers today have such great demands on them that thought of continuously education themselves is sometimes dismissed. TPACK is a great model to keep us on track You have many great ideas of implementing it in your classroom. App Smashing is being talked about a lot today. It can find its place in this model. App smashing allows more creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills we want our students using along with integrating technology seamlessly and effectively. Here is a fun site on App Smashing https://sites.google.com/a/email.vccs.edu/smash-pub/

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