TPACK Explained for Teachers

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Technology is increasingly occupying a central place in today's classrooms. More and more teachers and students are embracing it and using it almost on a daily basis. This is definitely good news, the power of technology is being leveraged to advance education. We have seen this and experienced it first hand especially during the pandemic. Web technologies were our saviour when all of a sudden schools and classrooms were closed and we were forced to socially isolate. Video conferencing tools were to the rescue.

That said, a pedagogically informed use of technology remains a goal that we all need to work towards. We don't want to use technology for the sake of technology but we want to turn it into a transformative force, a catalyst for profound learning experiences in and out of class. To do so, teachers need to familiarize themselves with EdTech theory and more specifically those theoretical EdTech frameworks that have direct practical application in our teaching namely SAMR model and TPACK. As for the SAMR model, I have already discussed it in a previous post which you can refer to for more information. In today's post, I want to briefly introduce you to TPACK.



TPACK
Snapshot from video below

What is TPACK?


TPACK, which stands for Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge,  builds on Shulman's concept of pedagogical content knowledge to conceptualize a framework that helps teachers better integrate technology in their instruction. TPACK is a theoretical framework that, as Koehler stated, "attempts to identify the nature of knowledge required by teachers for technology integration in their teaching, while addressing the complex, multifaceted and situated nature of teacher knowledge".  

According to Harris et al. , a TPACK-based approach ‘goes beyond technocentric strategies and emphasizes the importance of helping teachers develop and apply integrated and interdependent understandings of technology, pedagogy, content, and context.’(p. 396).

TPACK is composed of three interrelated components of teacher’s knowledge: content knowledge (CK), pedagogical knowledge (PK), and technological knowledge (TK).

Here is a brief overview of what each of these components mean. For a detailed explanation of TPACK, please refer to Hariss et al.'s article referenced at the bottom of this post.

1- Content Knowledge (CK)
This is the subject or discipline related knowledge. This is the knowledge  contained within each core subject area. For instance,  "in the case of art appreciation,  such knowledge would include knowledge of art history, famous paintings, sculptures, the influence of artists’ historical and social contexts, as well as knowledge of aesthetic and psychological theories for understanding and evaluating art.” (p. 397)

2-Pedagogical Knowledge (PK)
This is a form of 'metalearning', that is learning about how we learn. Pedagogical knowledge  is concerned with the processes, methods and techniques used in teaching and learning. These methods include teaching strategies used in class, lesson planning, classroom management, assessment strategies, comprehension check techniques and many more.

3- Technological Knowledge
Harris et al. describe technological knowledge as being in ‘state of flux’ for technology is constantly evolving making it hard to exactly formulate a self-contained definition of what technology knowledge really signifies. Shunning from equating it with a certain set of tools or literacies, a general conceptualization of TK can be formed to refer to the productive use of technology for ‘information processing, communication, and problem solving’(398).

To learn more about how TPACK works and how you can use it in your teaching, watch this helpful short video from Candace M.


                                        

References:
Harris, J., Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2009). Teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge and learning activity types. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 41(4), 393-416, DOI: 10.1080/15391523.2009.10782536