Author Archives: Cristina Leo

Equivalent Fractions & T-Gem

According to Finklestein et al. (2005) students who use computer visualization simulations are better able to understand concepts and knowledge regarding a particular subject matter. One area that students have demonstrated consistent difficulty in has been the understanding of equivalent fractions in math. Through the use of Illuminations visual simulation, students can begin to explore this concept as an extension of hands-on activities done in class. As Clements (2014) notes, within the field of mathematics there are many different definitions to describe visualization. Zimmermann and Cunningham (1991) describe visualization as, “we take the term visualization to describe the process of producing or using geometrical or graphical representations of mathematical concepts, principles or problems, whether hand drawn or computer generated.” Therefore to aid in the understanding of equivalent fractions I have used the T-Gem model along with Illuminations.

Math learning log
Computer to log onto site
iPad to document reflection (App-pic collage)

Step One (Independent reflection)

To begin the lesson, have students record their definition of what an equivalent fraction is (IB Key concept of form) and what the function of an equivalent fraction is (IB Key concept of function*) into their learning log. Have students write or draw pictures of times they may have used equivalent fractions in their day to day life. Students essentially are completing a KWL of what they intend to learn about equivalent fractions before exploring the web-based site.

*Within the IB Curriculum framework, students in the PYP explore the central idea of the unit (similar to BC’s Big Idea) from one of the 8 key concepts. Through the use of the key concepts often used in science and social studies curriculum, students continue to learn about the key concepts in math class, and reinforce the connect to the big ideas.

Possible extension is to have students share their KWL in small groups of 2-3. Providing opportunities for students to express confidence and misconception with their peers is important part of the scaffolding process, so that all learners feel confident and willing to take risks in their inquiry process.

**Students can take pictures of their written work to include in the reflection piece where we use Pic Collage to create an image consolidating their thinking and learning.

Step 2- Evaluate

Students log onto the Illuminations site

Working independently at first they begin to explore the different options, either choosing the automated option or creating a fraction of their choice.

Afterwards, have students work together in pairs to choose their own fraction. One student chooses and the other attempts to find equivalent fractions. Part of the process should be verbal discussion explaining their decision making. The student who chose the fraction should record the other students thinking in their learning log. This can be used as part of the reflection piece as well as class discussion. Switch so that both partners have a chance to visit site and record thinking and learning.

During this time, teacher circulates around to groups to discuss the form, function, accuracy and misconceptions. Provide timely and meaningful feedback for students to attend to their understanding.

Step 3 Modify

Students then return to their seats to work on completing an equivalent fraction of their choice. Students take a picture of their computer simulation to include in their reflection piece.

Step 4 Reflection

Students return to their KWL in their learning log to amend any ideas thoughts in a different colour pen. They then begin working on their pic collage to include all elements of the learning engagement (KWL, partner notes, etc.) Teacher circulates to read the changes in student thinking, taking note for next lesson’s hook.

Step 5-Exit Ticket

Students share their Pic Collage with the teacher, allowing the teacher to look over their work and revisit any misconceptions for the next class. The reflection piece will be included in their student portfolios.


Clements, M. K. A. (2014). Fifty years of thinking about visualization and visualizing in mathematics education: A historical overview. In Mathematics & Mathematics Education: Searching for Common Ground (pp. 177-192). Springer Netherlands.

Finkelstein, N.D., Perkins, K.K., Adams, W., Kohl, P., & Podolefsky, N. (2005). When learning about the real world is better done virtually: A study of substituting computer simulations for laboratory equipment. Physics Education Research,1(1), 1-8. Retrieved April 02, 2012.

Khan, S. (2010). New pedagogies for teaching with computer simulations. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 20(3), 215-232. Khan, S. (2012). A Hidden GEM: A pedagogical approach to using technology to teach global warming. The Science Teacher, 79(8). This article was written about T-GEM with middle-schoolers.

Start with Why: The importance of choice


  • How is knowledge relevant to math or science constructed? How is it possibly generated in these networked communities? Provide examples to illustrate your points.


Intrigued by the article entitled “Mathematics in the streets and in schools” by Carraher, Carraher, & Schliemann this week, I couldn’t help but think about some of my previous math students and their infamous question, “Why do we need to know this?” Often the first question to come out of a burgeoning teenager is the inquiry into why a particular subject matter is relevant to their lives. This article revealed that students in Brazil were able to come up with their own strategies in computational thinking when they had no choice but to do so, in order to succeed in their family business.

According to Carraher, “Context-embedded problems were much more easily solved than ones without a context” (1985). When students learn a concept within the correct context, they become engaged and motivated to understand, construct knowledge, and are willing to extend problem solving strategies to tasks they are invested in. This was something I found to be true while leading students through the culminating project of the Exhibition in the PYP. Here students, working collaboratively together in small groups of 3 or 4, spend time exploring a particular subject area that they are personally interested and invested in. For example, one group of students looked into the effects of ocean acidification on marine life in the Pacific Ocean. This is often a topic geared toward senior high school students or university students, but for my Grade 5 students the why was already understood, it was exploring the causes and their role in making a difference that mattered most.

Exploratorium defines itself as “The Exploratorium isn’t just a museum; it’s an ongoing exploration of science, art and human perception—a vast collection of online experiences that feed your curiosity.” This exciting resource provides both teachers and students with the opportunity to access videos, information, and experts with the touch of a button. According to Yoon et al., AR is defined as “virtual objects in the real environment, alignment of real and virtual objects with each other, and their interaction in real time.” AR provides those interested with the access to information that may otherwise be limited due to cost or distance. Yoon et al, note that specific scaffolding helps to enhance learning such as collaboration, prompts, collective cognitive responsibility. Fascinating to me was the point in the article that the observed students failed to read the instructions on the task card, something I have noticed occur in my own classroom. This made me realize the importance of TELEs such as Jasper, where instructions are part of the video.

However, it wasn’t until Hsi’s article that I really began to change my thinking about the importance of information technologies for informal learning. Hsi describes the advantages of information technologies in museums and out-of-school settings by explaining that the learner holds the power in their quest to understand what is important to them. With RSS tools, for example, students can tweet or email interesting facts or ideas to shared communities to continue the conversation with peers. Even more exciting is that the learner can begin to collect data as part of a team, aiding researchers from universities. Hsi sums it up best by saying, “As more IT becomes widely available, research and development will need to view IT not only as a tool for productivity and training in formal settings, but also as a context for designing meaningful informal learning experiences: creating interactions, online social spaces, media-rich representations, interest-driven activities, and communities for learning as bridges to formal schooling and to personal interests and everyday hobbies.” With sites such as Exploratorium, students don’t whine about why they are learning a particular context because they are in the driver’s seat when it comes to learning. Students are constructing knowledge because they were given choice, which is just differentiated learning at its best!



Carraher, T. N., Carraher, D. W., & Schliemann, A. D. (1985). Mathematics in the streets and in schools. British journal of developmental psychology, 3(1), 21-29.

Hsi, S. (2008). Information technologies for informal learning in museums and out-of-school settings. International handbook of information technology in primary and secondary education, 20(9), 891-899.

Yoon, S. A., Elinich, K., Wang, J., Steinmeier, C., & Tucker, S. (2012). Using augmented reality and knowledge-building scaffolds to improve learning in a science museum. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 7(4), 519-541.

Movement and Understanding

While reading the Winn article (2003)I couldn’t help but think about the term symbiotic relationship to describe how learning occurs. Over the course of the term, we have inquired into the various frameworks to describe how educators can better prepare themselves to understand how students learn best. As Winn suggests, learning does not occur exclusively in the brain, but rather is the process of engaging the whole body (2003). I love this thought because it reminds me of how learning has evolved over the course of history, no longer must students sit in lecture style  seating to understanding what the expert at the front of the room has to say. Learning involves inquiring with our body and minds to understand connections and applications into real-world instances. According to Winn, “A student’s Umwelt is the environment as the student sees and knows it–a limited view of the real world, ever changing as the student explores it and comes to understand it” (p.12) When educators provide students with opportunities to experience with all their senses new experiences students are more engaged and motivated to involve themselves in learning what they are curious about. Therefore, educators may study various frameworks independently but when we understand learning to be a consolidation of how the brain and body are involved in learning do we come to understand this framework.

Roschelle et al. article “Handheld tools that ‘Informate’ assessment of student learning in Science” article they bring up a good discussion about the inconsistency of how assessment is defined across educators. The importance of providing current formative feedback for students is critical in the cycle of learning, so that students can revisit misconceptions and re-learn concepts. By using handheld technology students will be better able to access and incorporate feedback into their learning rather than waiting until the summative assignment is returned, only to find out it is too late to demonstrate their understanding authentically.

Finally, Novack’s article “From action to abstraction:Using the hands to learn math” we learn that utilizing gestures in learning outperforms actions in the classroom. By involving the body into the learning process we see that students are better able to retain information and make valuable connections that provide longevity in their understanding. The connection between Winn’s article and Novack’s research are exciting and hopefully more teachers are aware of the research in the benefits to get kids moving in order to understand better.


My questions for this week include the following:

  • Assessment: How do educators ensure that through the use of handheld devices students are actually reading feedback in a timely manner that is user friendly?
  • What support systems exist for educators to collaborate with physical education teachers to teach mathematical and science concepts for students in a K-12 system?




  • Roschelle, J; Penuel, W.; Yarnall, L; Shechtman, N; Tatar, D. (2005). Handheld tools that ‘Informate’ assessment of student learning in science: A requirements analysis. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 21(3), pp. 190-203.
  • Novack, M. A., Congdon, E. L., Hemani-Lopez, N., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2014). From action to abstraction: Using the hands to learn math. Psychological Science, 25(4), 903-910.
  • Winn, W. (2003). Learning in artificial environments: Embodiment, embeddedness, and dynamic adaptation. Technology, Instruction, Cognition and Learning, 1(1), 87-114.

TELE Synthesis: What I Know, Wonder, and Learned

Throughout Module B and the exploration of the Technology Based Learning Experiences I have come to understand that design framework requires a particular awareness not only of the desired outcome for student learning but for teachers as well. Each of the design frameworks explored focused on the role of the student in the learning process as well as the role of the teacher in the teaching design, as one cannot occur without the other. When I reflect upon my own teaching style, I often look to see how the learning engagements I have chosen provide opportunities for students to become, remain, and sustain motivation and curiosity.


Within the IB framework of inquiry based learning, I saw many parallels with the TELEs explored, drawing upon collaboration, inquiry based projects, and student centred learning. Anchored Instruction, provides students with opportunities to explore videos that are exciting, challenging, and interesting. Students in my own classroom would love the various challenges presented. Benefits of this design framework provide a differentiated approach where students of all abilities can find success, but more importantly can personally challenge themselves to excel through problem solving and critical thinking. Within my math and science classes, I would like to see a partnership between senior grades and intermediate classes creating videos together to be used in future classes (a possibility in a K-12 school). Real-world videos, as an example of visible thinking routines, leaves an everlasting memory for students to access this knowledge construction in the future.


The WISE framework also drew parallels with the IB inquiry based model of instruction. By providing opportunities for students to express their prior knowledge, myself as a teacher need to ensure that these learning engagements are not merely for show, but that students take time to complete, and that the teacher returns to this activity for reflection. Students learn best when they review what they have done, even if it is a KWL chart! Students construction of understanding and meaning was very much possible through the WISE project, something I would consider integrating into my own classes in science in the future. I especially found the use of technology critical for the action component in the inquiry cycle, as students can take meaningful action based on what others have done, and what motivates them.


The Learning for Understanding design framework provides students an opportunity to construct meaning along the way. This framework was one of my favourite as it took into account the fact that students learn best when they can communicate and collaborate with peers and teachers. When students are motivated and encouraged to take-risks in their learning by making predictions and thinking critically the best learning occurs. Again, this model supports the importance of teaching and learning from both the student and teacher perspective. In my own science and math classes I would continue to consider using technology that allows for opportunities of exploration as well as interaction with experts.


Finally, the T-Gem model also fits nicely with the IB model of inquiry based learning. Here both the role of the student and teacher are critical for the success of student understanding. Again, students play an active role in their journey towards understanding, and can many times offer insight for the teacher. In my own science classes I would continue to design learning engagements that involve this cycle of generate, evaluate and modify.


Reviewing each TELE allowed me to synthesize my own journey throughout this module by providing me with an opportunity to reflect upon my original knowledge, areas I wondered about, and now what I have learned throughout the process. This simple KWL learning engagement allowed me to meaningfully construct knowledge while reviewing what I had explored. Therefore, it is critical that teachers design learning opportunities that are motivating and engaging for their students. In today’s classroom, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication are the cornerstone of 21st century learning and very possible when teachers find ways to integrate technology in meaningful ways.

Included is my visual synthesis of each TELE explored.


Edelson, D.C. (2001). Learning-for-use: A framework for the design of technology-supported inquiry activities. Journal of Research in Science Teaching,38(3), 355-385.

Hattie, H. & Timperly, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81-112.

Hasselbring, T. S., Lott, A. C., & Zydney, J. M. (2005). Technology-supported math instruction for students with disabilities: Two decades of research and development.

Khan, S. (2007). Model-based inquiries in chemistry. Science Education, 91(6), 877-905.

Khan, S. (2010). New pedagogies for teaching with computer simulations. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 20(3), 215-232.
Khan, S. (2012). A Hidden GEM: A pedagogical approach to using technology to teach global warming. The Science Teacher, 79(8). This article was written about T-GEM with middle-schoolers.

Kose, Sacit. Diagnosing Student Misconceptions: Using Drawings as a Research Method. World Applied Sciences Journal 3 (2): 283-293, 2008

Linn, M., Clark, D., & Slotta, J. (2003). Wise design for knowledge integration. Science Education, 87(4), 517-538.

Perkins, N., Hazelton, E., Erickson, J., & Allan, W. (2010). Place-based education and geographic information systems: Enhancing the spatial awareness of middle school students in Maine. Journal of Geography, 109(5), 213-218.

Shyu, H. Y. C. (2000). Using video‐based anchored instruction to enhance learning: Taiwan’s experience. British Journal of Educational Technology, 31(1), 57-69

Williams, M. Linn, M.C. Ammon, P. & Gearhart, M. (2004). Learning to teach inquiry science in a technology-based environment: A case study. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 13(2), 189-206.


Exploring the Circulatory System Through T-GEM

To launch the beginning of our units of inquiry in Grade 5, we begin by exploring the big idea of Multicellular organisms have organ systems that enable them to survive and interact within their environment. Before students begin to piece each system together, to understand the interrelatedness we explore each system in isolation, while providing opportunities for students to write and generate questions when hypothesis to connections occur. Students participate in the inquiry cycle by finding out, sorting out, making connections to information. When exploring the form and function of the circulatory system, and the human heart, many students struggle with understanding how oxygenated blood is transported throughout the body, and in particular are often confused by the use of blue blood on models to represent deoxygenated blood. The following 3-Step T-GEM cycle is included below to explain how digital technology supports student understanding.


During the first phase of the T-Gem Model the teacher provides opportunities for the students to express their understanding. Students are given a blank model of the human body to record their knowledge and predictions of the circulatory system, including veins and the heart. Students then watch the Brainpop video on the Circulatory System to record additional information.

Students generate ideas about what they know regarding the circulatory system by labelling the blank human body template. Students then have opportunity to share their ideas in a gallery walk first, then in small groups of 3-4 students. Students discuss, compare, and explain concepts and questions.


After watching the brainpop video on the circulatory system, as well as investigating the heart and circulatory through the Heart | 3D Atlas of Anatomy app allow to spin a highly realistic 3D heart model as it was in user hands.

As a class, we discuss our initial predictions and human body diagrams.

Working in small groups of 2, students evaluate what they now know about the circulatory system. Teacher circulates and provides an opportunity to discuss and guide student inquiry. Opportunities for the GEM cycle occur.


After exploring the videos, working through the 3D Atlas of Anatomy apps, including the dissection options, as well as class discussions, students are then able to go back and sort out their new knowledge by redoing their human body template.

Students redo their human body template based on discussions with the teacher and classmates. As an extension, students can work with the EdTech teacher using the 3D school printer to create their own model of the human heart. Students complete a reflection piece to solidify their learning journey, accounting for all growth in understanding.


Khan, S. (2007). Model-based inquiries in chemistry. Science Education, 91(6), 877-905.

Khan, S. (2010). New pedagogies for teaching with computer simulations. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 20(3), 215-232.
Khan, S. (2012). A Hidden GEM: A pedagogical approach to using technology to teach global warming. The Science Teacher, 79(8). This article was written about T-GEM with middle-schoolers.

LFU & Human Migration Data

What I really liked about this week’s reading was the direct connection between Edelson’s Learning-for-use technology-supported design framework and the parallel with IB Inquiry based curriculum. Edelson notes that for learning to take place, students need to construct meaning. The constructivist approach to teaching and learning is research based and clearly best practice when it comes to engaging students in the learning process. Edelson continues to note that”Knowledge construction is a goal-directed process that is guided by a combination of conscious and unconscious understanding goals.” This to me is exactly what backwards by design thinking includes, teachers and students need to know what exactly they are working towards. Often students are working towards completing projects where they have a general idea of what they need to do, but the most important part is their unconscious understanding of what needs to be found, explored, and only occurs as they continue through the inquiry cycle. Edelson also points out that “the circumstances in which knowledge is constructed and subsequently used determine its accessibility for future use” and “Knowledge must be constructed in a form that supports use before it can be applied.”
When the 3 steps for learning-for-use are woven into the inquiry cycle, student investment in their search for understanding grows. Students as Edelson state require motivation, knowledge construction, and links to previous knowledge.

Understanding the framework lends itself to the IB model of inquiry based instruction, where students guide their curiosity towards understanding. I would consider using this design framework for my migration unit. Not a typical science or math unit, but I see the value in using the My World GIS when connecting math concepts such as distance, longitude and latitude, and overall geographical understanding when students are exploring the patterns of human migration. When students can explore the patterns, areas, and go further in their search for data and understanding do they then become motivated to find out their missing information. This would be particularly useful when students are working towards their summative assessment and then can explore the specific geographical pathway of their ancestors or major groups of migrants. I found it interesting the My World GIS is also partnering with the University of Illinois to teach American History, and bringing Historical Census Data Alive. As Perkins (2010) states, “A spatially literate workforce and citizenry able to access, manage, visualize, and interpret information, also capable of multidimensional thinking, are vital to advance science and technology and address the world’s complex problems.” Therefore, through this hands-on tool, students are not only motivated to construct knowledge, but they are curious to explore the links to previous knowledge of their family and relatives, making the connection to learning even more meaningful. Perhaps with a personal connection to the hard realities of mass human migration, especially today, will students begin to take meaningful action.


Edelson, D.C. (2001). Learning-for-use: A framework for the design of technology-supported inquiry activities. Journal of Research in Science Teaching,38(3), 355-385.

Perkins, N., Hazelton, E., Erickson, J., & Allan, W. (2010). Place-based education and geographic information systems: Enhancing the spatial awareness of middle school students in Maine. Journal of Geography, 109(5), 213-218.

Padlet to the Rescue: Taking Action to Reduce Plastic in the Ocean

I chose to look at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (13220) as this was one of the topics explored in one of my units of inquiry this year under sharing the planet. The video links were appropriate for students, and the mockumentary was very engaging. What I really liked about this WISE project was that it was carefully scaffolded to look at the elements in the GPGP, such as the plastic, the environment, and what can be done. For me the most important part of the learning cycle is when students take action, and consolidate their learning by making meaningful change. Therefore, I decided to include a padlet which allowed students to post ideas of what they can/did do to reduce the amount of plastic in their own lives. This was divided into thirds, an area for students to discuss their home, school and community levels. Students could also use the padlet to post links to videos, twitter, or other social media accounts that document examples of how they have taken action from their learning to make a difference.

These WISE projects follow the constructivist model of learning, where students are given the opportunity to make meaning of their learning throughout each phase of the project. As stated in the article, “The Power of Feedback” Hattie and Timperly note that “Feedback is among the most critical influences on student learning. A major aim of the educative process is to assist in identifying these gaps and to provide remediation in the form of alternative or other steps” Feedback is only part of the equation, when students are given time to discuss their thoughts along with the teacher misconceptions and guideposts are provided. Students then have a better understanding of where they are going next in the learning journey. However, the authors also note that providing feedback is much a skill that requires practice, and the importance of feedback and assessment are no different. Hattie and Timperly point out that, “Feedback can only build on something; it is of little use when there is no initial learning or surface information.” Therefore, understanding what the goal of the learning process must drive instruction.



Hattie, H. & Timperly, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81-112.

Linn, M., Clark, D., & Slotta, J. (2003). Wise design for knowledge integration. Science Education, 87(4), 517-538.

Williams, M. Linn, M.C. Ammon, P. & Gearhart, M. (2004). Learning to teach inquiry science in a technology-based environment: A case study. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 13(2), 189-206.

Motivating and Engaging Students of all Abilities

When it comes to visible thinking routines and the integration of technology, Jasper provides many opportunities for students to find success. Within a constructivist approach, Jasper sets students up for success by providing a framework that is student centered. Looking at the work of the Jasper Project based out of Vanderbilt University, there is much research and reporting regarding this method of constructivist teaching. Through Anchored instruction educators use video narratives or stories, which provides a specific context, that aim to motivate and engage students during the learning process. Evidence suggests that when students are presented with anchored videos that are interesting, realistic, and require active involvement that opportunities for deep-thinking occur. Projects similar to Jasper situate learning in a real-world context, these videos provide both the what, how, and why.

According to Hasselbring, et. al, in Technology-Supported Math Instruction for Students with Disabilities, “Students with math difficulty can be successful in attaining high levels of fluency in mathematical operations with the appropriate assistance of technology; however, this assistance must go beyond simple drill and practice if students have not stored the problem and the associated answer in long-term memory.” Therefore, when considering current technologies and software for math such as Mathletics, it is necessary that a balanced approach be taken into consideration. The three types of knowledge, declarative, procedural, and conceptual, as Hasselbring, et. al reference, will only come to life when a solid foundation of declarative and procedural understanding are in place. Anchored instruction provides this real-world scenario where students are motivated and compete to solve the answers. As well, it provides opportunities for students to expand their thinking skills and ask further questions. Inquiry-based approaches to learning also allow for this teaching and learning to occur, and videos such as Jasper make it possible for students to engage in exciting opportunities of learning.

Therefore, within a TPC framework, “Instead of having teachers “transmit” information that students “receive,” these theorists emphasize the importance of having students become actively involved in the construction of knowledge.” (292) Anchored instruction again provides students chances to engage in activities that are meaningful.

However, as technology within the last few years have become more accessible for students to use within the classroom, as well as the ability to easily create such videos, how often does this practice come into fruition? Especially when we consider a differentiated approach to teaching, to meet students with all ability levels. Within elementary schools where teachers are expected to teach all subjects, should there be more emphasis on specialist teachers in math and science to ensure that best practice is possible? What role does administration play in supporting teachers who aim to integrate intricately woven concepts that provide chances for students to extend their thinking through narratives in anchored instruction? For myself, I believe that students will always rise to meet a challenge when given the opportunity. Meaningful action is possible when students are engaged and motivated.


Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (1992b). The Jasper series as an example of anchored instruction: Theory, program, description, and assessment data. Educational Psychologist, 27(3), 291-315.

Hasselbring, T. S., Lott, A. C., & Zydney, J. M. (2005). Technology-supported math instruction for students with disabilities: Two decades of research and development.

Kose, Sacit. Diagnosing Student Misconceptions: Using Drawings as a Research Method. World Applied Sciences Journal 3 (2): 283-293, 2008

Shyu, H. Y. C. (2000). Using video‐based anchored instruction to enhance learning: Taiwan’s experience. British Journal of Educational Technology, 31(1), 57-69

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.