TPACK: Putting it all together

Over the course of the MET classes I have taken so far, discussion regarding the TPACK model has been emphasized. At first, I had never really considered how vital this framework is to the design of lessons that aim to integrate technology effectively. Understanding the way each domain intersects is critical; teachers need to be able to blend technology knowledge, pedagogy and content knowledge together. Mishra, and Koehler extend the research of Schulman, to include Technological knowledge, which seeks to understand how technology is used, selected and integrated into curriculum. Going beyond devices, but diving into the quality of content made available through the use of these devices, do both students and teachers achieve results geared towards mastery of 21st century skill development. Technological tools now allow students to explore concepts through hands-on activities that go beyond the printed page, and enhance understanding. As Mishra and Koehler (2006) state, “At the heart of PCK is the manner in which subject matter is transformed for teaching. This occurs when the teacher interprets the subject matter and finds different ways to represent it and make it accessible to learners.” (1021) For me, this is the most exciting part of the framework because it is evidence that best practice, or differentiation is not only possible, but effective for student understanding. Context, as Mishra and Koehler explain, takes into account these differences whether it be student, classroom, or geographic location, must also be taken into consideration. The symbiotic relationship that TPACK provides, is where learning becomes exciting and transformative. Now as I revisit the framework of TPACK in this course, I appreciate the comments of the authors that no one framework fits all, but that it is better than nothing at all, but for me, this framework is one step forward towards best practice in educational technology design.

 

One example where I see TPACK come to light is through the careful design of the Grade 5 Exhibition, culminating the years students are enrolled in the IB curriculum. This 8 week inquiry-based project asks that students choose an issue of their choice, and spend the next 7 weeks investigating the idea through 8 key concepts. These concepts include form, function, causation, change, perspective, connection, reflection and responsibility. Here, students need scaffolded teacher-directed lessons to introduce effective researching skills, before they embark on individualize, self-guided inquiry. I must have wide content knowledge to help guide the students but also know how each individual student in my class learns best. Having a solid pedagogical foundation is necessary to both motivate and encourage my students to keep going even when things get tough. This is where technology as a tool is implemented because teaching with technology motivates students to show what they know in unique, personalized ways. Some of my students have created stop-motion animation videos which take their guiding questions (framed around the key concepts) and showcase their answers through short, descriptive videos. Exhibition allows for students, alongside teachers to choose the best sources (apps, etc.) to access knowledge, and then transform their knowing and understanding to do great things! This fits nicely with the new BC curriculum model as well. This year, my students collaborated in small groups to research, organize and communicate their learning and shared their inquiry projects through TEDExhibition presentations (similar to a TED talk format). This is definitely one of my favourite units of the year.

 

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

Shulman, L.S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching. The foundations of a new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57(1)1-23. Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. The Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054.

2 comments

  1. Hi Cristina,

    Thank you for your post. How do you find having content knowledge is all of those areas that students choose? How many students are in your class? When I have done a similar capstone, I didn’t have content knowledge in all of the areas the grade 8s chose – at first it was a bit uncomfortable as I couldn’t answer specific questions. I had to model teacher and learner and work alongside them to find out the answers!

    1. Hi Natalie.

      It can be very overwhelming at first but it does require me to do some research along the way to support students. I am fortunate to work in a school with small class sizes (24) as well there are designated mentors (other PYP teachers) that support the students. They are usually paired based on expertise connection. However, much of the inquiry projects are broad enough that I can support through my own connections. Each year that I have taugh Exhibition has been centred around a particular trans disciplinary theme which helps to build my knowledge base as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.