donderdag 20 oktober 2011


Figure 1. TPACK model
Today I will talk about TPACK. This is a model designed by Koehler & Mishra (2009). Like you can see in figure 1 there are 3 parts in the TPACK model. 
There is the Technology part (T),  the Pedagogy part (P) and the Content part (C). The K stands for Knowledge and the A stands for And, to put the different parts together. So if you say it you get: Technology, Pedagogy And Content Knowledge. But what does this all mean? Well the model is about the knowledge teachers must have when they want to use technology in their classroom. Like with the spiderweb of Akkerman (2009), if one thing changes all the other things change too. So adding a technology into your lessons will also affect your pedagogy and the content.  According to the model, the teacher should have knowledge about the technology. This is knowledge about how it works and what you can do with it. Also the teacher should have knowledge about the pedagogy. Which pedagogy will the teacher use, how does this pedagogy work and when will you use it? And of course the teacher should know the content. What must the students learn? So there are three kinds of knowledge the teacher should have and the most important thing is, the teacher has to combine these three. As you can see there is overlap between two parts which gives you: Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK), Technological Content Knowledge (TCK) and Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK). To explain what these mean I will give you an example we came up with in our lecture.
Figure 2. Seek 'n Spell game
As content we choose spelling. As technology we choose de game ‘seek ‘n spell’. We knew this game because of the previous lecture, where some students tried the game. In this game the student has a Smartphone with GPS. With this phone he walks around for example a park. With the GPS the student can find letters in the park, as you can see in figure 2. With these letters the student has to make words and earn points. So the game is about finding letters and making words with it, perfect for practicing spelling. The pedagogy we choose is collaborative learning and discovery learning. Collaborative because you play it in a group. Discovery learning, because you have to discover words yourself and find them yourself. So we have spelling, the game seek ‘n spell and the pedagogies collaborative and discovery learning. Now if we combine these what do we get? We came up with this:
TPK: the teacher has to know how to work with a Smartphone in groups. There probably won’t be a Smartphone for everyone, so the students will use one phone with two or three people. The teacher has to figure out how to do this with switching roles or working together.
TCK: the teacher has to know how the technology works with the content, so how to make a word from the letters on the screen. What do you have to do?
PCK: there should be discussions and problem solving during the lessons to solve the problem to make a word from the lessons. 
And combining these all together you get TPACK: the teacher should play it for itself, to figure out how the technology works. Also must the teacher figure out how to work together and what the added value of the lesson is. To totally make sure it works the teacher has to try it out in a lesson and after that reflect. Then the teacher can decide making the lesson better and using it again or never do it again because it failed. This way the teacher gets knowledge about the technology, the pedagogy he uses and the content.
So TPACK is really about combining the knowledge from all the different domains. But as you can see in the picture, is this all within the context! This is a real important part of the model. If something works in one situation, this does not mean it will also work in another situation. With young children you will use other technology or pedagogies than with adult people. So when adding technology and thinking about all the aspects of TPACK, it is important to think of this within the context you want to use it.

But what is the added value of the model? I think it is mostly the insight into the importance of the different domains. Many people think technology is only used as tool. So a normal lesson and the technology to support it. Like the Koehler & Mishra gave as an example in this video:
Adding technology to your education is not just the normal lecture now showing online. It is not just a pipeline. Technology should be used to improve education and changing it and that is what the TPACK model explains. It shows that the T, P and C all hang together. If you change one thing, the others should adapt to that, otherwise it won’t fit with each other.
Trying to use the TPACK model yourself will be the best way to experience what TPACK means and what the added value is. In my previous blog I talked about combining flexibility, technology and pedagogical approaches. I then thought that is quite easy. But now in the lecture I had to think about a lesson with TPACK. This is also about technology and pedagogy. Only content is added and TPACK isn’t really about flexibility, but this is part of the pedagogy part of the model.  So the TPACK model is a way to combine flexibility, technology and pedagogical approaches. When I tried this, it was quite hard. Coming up with the technology, content and pedagogy is not that hard. But combining them into TPK, TCK and PCK and at the end in TPACK was quite hard, I think. So for me the added value of the TPACK model is realizing how hard it is to make a good lesson with technology. And how much time it cost a teacher to do this. As educational scientist it is easy to say what the teachers should do and know, but by trying to use the TPACK model you realize how hard it is and how much time it takes. The example I gave was pretty easy. We figured it out in 10 minutes, so it isn’t really thought through. Although in the TPACK model the TPK is about how pedagogies change because of the technology you use or the other way around. In my example we first choose the technology and then looked which pedagogy fits with it. But did the pedagogy change because we used that technology compared to not using the technology or using another technology? The same question for the technological content knowledge. We choose a game that is about making words, but that is not all about spelling students have to learn. So does the content now change because of the technology?  It are both questions we didn’t think about yet, but you do have to think about when using TPACK. The way we thought of it is thus not all, TPACK is a lot more. This shows how difficult it is and time it cost, I think. But also how good it makes you realize what you have to think about.

Conclusion, I think the TPACK model is a way to emphasize the importance of the integration of the different domains. Also it gives you something to hold on when designing a lesson. It is hard and takes a lot of time, but you also better think about the different parts then without the model. It is a way to combine the things I learned in the previous lectures, about technology, pedagogy and flexibility.

If you ever tried to use it, I’m curious how you felt. Did you also think it was hard, or not? Please let me know if you have experience with it!

Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70.
Thijs, A. & Van den Akker, J.J.H. (2009) Curriculum in development. Enschede: SLO.

1 opmerking:

  1. Hi Mila, nice post with your examples! I agree with you when you say "trying to use the TPACK model you realize how hard it is and how much time it takes". But.. this is not a very good selling point toward teachers :-) How can we make it better for them? Any ideas?