PCK & TPCK- There Is Theory Behind It!

Shulman’s (1986) PCK (Pedagogical Content Knowledge) theory and Mishra & Koehler’s (2006) more developed TPACK/TPCK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) framework are two acronyms that I had never heard prior to these articles. Mishra & Koehler (2006) delve into both of these terms and explored, during a five-year period, ways in which technology can be added into a teacher’s educational pedagogy. They suggest, as has been mentioned in previous articles throughout this course, the implementation of technology into a classroom is not sufficient enough to make an educational impact.

Shulman (1987) began his research by comparing the teaching practices of new and experienced educators and recorded the ways in which their pedagogy dictated what was (or was not) taught in their classes

Mishra & Koehler (2006) discuss that in order to obtain a proper understanding of “thoughtful pedagogical use of technology” (p.1017), one must develop Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK). They realized that technology was being added into lessons but not pedagogically thought out as to its usefulness for the students. In a quote from the Mishra & Koehler (2006) article, they state, “In other words, merely knowing how to use technology is not the same as knowing how to teach with it” (p. 1033). Educators have to have a purpose for adding/using technology in their class. As the diagram I added in the previous post demonstrated, technology has to be added for a number of reasons.

One example of PCK in my classroom is by using the Jigsaw Method. The Jigsaw Method is a cooperative learning strategy that allows students to become well versed in one topic and then break off into mini groups to teach the concepts to their peers. This concept allows students to understand a larger concept but taught by their peers. I find that when my students are engaged in the content with their peers, as opposed to me ‘being the sage on the stage’, the learning curve that occurs is significant. I act as a facilitator and can then roam around to the different groups checking for understanding. While I have not yet added technology to the Jigsaw Method, I could get students to prepare mini summaries of their topic on a Google Doc where they could then share with their peers. The students could add their own thoughts to the shared document and it would expand on this collaborative learning method.


Shulman, L.S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4 -14. Text available on Connect.

Shulman, L.S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching. The foundations of a new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57(1)1-23. Text accessible from Google Scholar.

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. The Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054. Text accessible from Google Scholar.


  1. Hi Kirsten,

    What a great idea to jigsaw some of the contents in the course. I have found that students will often say they understand a concept but when asked to explain it to a peer, they cannot express their thoughts. I attribute this to not having a deep understanding of what you are trying to teach. This mirrors your comment related to technology – it is one thing to know about it, but another to know it well enough to incorporate it into our classes. Often times a fear of failure can prevent educators from incorporating technology into their pedagogy because they feel they do not have a deep understanding of it. If administrators can assist in creating a culture of failing forward (its ok to make mistakes as long as we learn from them and improve) in their schools, then educators could feel more comfortable exploring different options to utilize in their classrooms.


    1. Hi Baljeet,

      Thanks for your comments. I love what you said about encouraging students to “fail forward”. I’ve never heard of that phrase before but it is such a great one. As an educator, I want to make my students feel comfortable in the classroom and part of that state of mind is being comfortable enough to make mistakes. Through mistakes learning occurs. I always own up to my own mistakes in the classroom because I feel it is important for my students to realize that even though I am their teacher, we ALL make mistakes and it is from those mistakes that we grow our understandings. Students are always surprised when I admit to being wrong and I think that demonstrates the pressure in our society to maintain a certain persona by acting a certain way all the time. By encouraging our students to “fail forward” we are encouraging them to be open about their learning experiences rather than hide behind them ashamed.

  2. Hi!

    I think the jigsaw activity is a such a great strategy! It would be interesting if the kids participated in a gallery walk as part of the reflection tool, similar to an exhibit. One way to integrate technology is to use google forms to have students provide feedback to the groups, such as two stars and a wish, clarify questions, etc. This data can then be used by each student to edit their work before the publishing phase. The TPACK method, as a learning design framework is great, because it allows for students and teachers to collaborate together. Thanks for your thoughts this week!


    1. Hi Cristina,

      Jigsaw is a great method that works well when the students are all active participants. I have also done many gallery walks and it is great to see those light bulbs go off when they see how a peer answered the question differently. I love the idea about using google forms to provide feedback to the group- I’ll definitely use that in the future!

      TPCK absolutely encourages collaboration in the classroom, especially when using technology that allows for open communication between peers and teachers. Your comments about collaboration made me think about how we collaborate not only for projects but also for assessment as well. I’ve utilized Seesaw for ways of organizing and recording assessments and I am very fond of it. Students are engaged in sharing their learning with their peers and teachers by adding items to their folders and commenting on their work. I recently came across another way Seesaw can be used for collaboration which is to add in another class as a version of Pen Pals. With the difference in time zones, communicating with a class across the world can sometimes be difficult but by adding work to Seesaw so the other class can view and comment on it whenever, allows for an open and ongoing communication between the two classes. Here is a video with more details about it (skip to 8:40).



      Algie, A., & Algie, P. (2017). K-5: Global Collaboration with Seesaw. Seesaw Help Center. Retrieved 15 June 2017, from https://help.seesaw.me/hc/en-us/articles/211368086-K-5-Global-Collaboration-with-Seesaw

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