Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TPACK Framework and Spiderweb

Hi Bloggers…

In this posting, I would like to discuss a little bit about TPACK. Do you know what the meaning of TPACK is? What does it look like? How does it work? What is the added value or benefits of TPACK for teachers? Do you think that using TPACK framework can enhance our educational innovation and attainment? And bla..bla..bla…

To answer those questions, let’s start our discussion today about TPACK!
Well, talking about TPACK will relate to elaboration of the elements which combine the word TPACK. As indicated from a wide range of literature, TPACK stands for Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge. From this definition, we can assure that TPACK is composed from three core domains of knowledge: Technology, Pedagogy, and Content knowledge. Therefore, to make it easier to understand, firstly I would like to elaborate each component as follows.

Technology (Knowledge) TK
In this context, technology covers both low-tech technologies, such as pencil or paper which can facilitate teaching learning process and high-tech technologies, such as internet, digital media, interactive whiteboards, and so on. In addition, technology can also be analog or digital, traditional or modern one. From this point, we can say that technology knowledge refers to the teacher’s knowledge to use technology in teaching and learning. It enables and facilitates teachers to understand information technology, apply it properly, identify useful technologies, and continually adapt to changes in technology (Kohler & Mishra, 2009). More importantly, technology knowledge does not posit an “end state” but rather sees it developmentally—as evolving over a lifetime of generative, open-ended interactions with technology (Harris, J., Mishra, P., & Koehler, M., 2009). By mastering technological knowledge, the teachers are expected to be able to create not only authentic, engaging, and collaborative learning tasks, but also can enable students to learn at any time with their peers from outside classrooms as can be seen from TPACK video.

Content (Knowledge)  CK
In this light, content refers to the subject matter that a teacher usually teaches in the class for teaching and learning activities, such as Biology, Language, Mathematics and Chemistry. Therefore, Content Knowledge refers to the teacher’s knowledge about the subject matter that to be learnt or taught. This includes the knowledge of concept, theories, ideas, organizational framework, knowledge of evidence and proof as well as practices and approaches towards developing such knowledge (Shulman, 1986). Teachers must know about the content they are going to teach and how the nature of knowledge is different for various content areas (Schmidt, D.A. et al., 2009). Therefore, when teaching mathematics, the teacher should understand the fundamental issue of content in this subject area. This includes other subjects, such as Science and Art. In other words, Content Knowledge also relates how the teachers can effectively understand the essential content of the subject matter and easily transfer to the students.

Pedagogy (Knowledge)  PK
Pedagogy can be defined as how the teacher uses a teaching method to teach a particular content.  In this case, pedagogical knowledge is the teacher’s deep understanding about the processes and practices or method of teaching and learning which includes knowledge about understanding the nature of the students, strategies for evaluating the students, understanding cognitive, social and development of the theory and how they apply to the students in the class room (Koehler & Mishra, 2009). From this definition, pedagogical knowledge relates to how teachers enable students to construct knowledge, acquire skills, and develop habits of mind toward learning and how the teachers can select and adopt teaching technique including class management effectively in teaching practices.

Figure 1. The Components of TPACK Framework
What is TPACK?    
Well, after we have known the three core domain of knowledge as described above, then we should keep in mind that those three domains can be intersected each other that can also result in the combination of the interaction from those domains. However, when we are talking about TPACK, we cannot separate anymore the three core domains of knowledge one by one; instead, we should bring and combine them together.

For example, the intersection between Technology and Content Knowledge can make combination of “Technological Content knowledge (TCK)”. Also, the combination of Pedagogy and Content Knowledge can create what is called “Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK)”, and “Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK)” can be resulted from the interaction and combination between Technology and Pedagogical knowledge. If those three combination knowledge (“TPK”, “PCK”, and “TCK”) are intersected together, they will create core framework knowledge in the middle of learning interaction which is called Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge (TPACK). To make it clearer, see figure 1 for the illustration and picture framework of TPACK.

For me, the definition of TPACK can be as the knowledge framework for teachers on how to use the technology in teaching for a particular content or subject matter by looking at the school context and specific characteristics of the school settings. This requires an understanding of how teaching and learning can change when particular technologies are used in the particular ways. This includes knowing the pedagogical affordances and constrains of a range of technological tools as they relate to disciplinarily and developmentally appropriate pedagogical designs and strategies (Koehler & Mishra, 2009).

Finally, it can be concluded that TPACK is knowledge emerged from the interactions among content, technology and pedagogy. TPACK is the basis of effective teaching with technology; requiring the understanding of using technology; pedagogical ways of using technology in constructive ways to teach the content: knowledge of what makes concepts are easy or difficult to learn and how technology can help redress the problem students face (Koehler & Mishra, 2009).

What is the added value of TPACK?
Frankly speaking, TPACK is new term for me. I have not known this amazing word come from before. Therefore, I just felt strange hearing that word from dr. Petra Fisher when I followed the lecture of Themes and Approach of CIMA. Between the lectures, dr. Petra Fisher was invited to introduce one of the elective courses in CIMA, namely “Pedagogies Flexible Learning supported by Technology”. And this is the starting point I acquainted with TPACK. From her explanation about her course, I firstly recognized the word TPACK.

Since then, I just wondered and eagerly wanted to know what TPACK is. I was really interested to know more about this. Why is it so? For me, I realized that as a teacher in developing countries, learning with technology is something promising to generate student-centered learning. By technology, as I said earlier, it can ease the students to be more engaged and enjoyable. The students can learn not only in the classroom but also from outside-class settings. In this respect, I personally believe that with TPACK teachers have the flexibility in teaching and learning. The process of teaching itself becomes varied and interesting to the students. Teachers have many options of teaching to teach a certain topic. As a result, the topic that seems hard to be understood by the students becomes easier to explain. Teachers can use the hand of technology to support the subject matter they teach and pedagogical approach they use.

From the lectures and literature about TPACK, I get a fruitful inspiration that integration of technology in the classroom will not yield many beneficial contributions in educational prospects. What I mean here is that technology alone-- without being adjusted by other teachers’ capabilities, skills and knowledge-- tends to be fail and ineffective for teaching and learning experiences. Therefore, I personally agree that TPACK is not just imposing the technology. No!!!! Further, it combines all elements which are interrelated. By following TPACK framework, I learned not only about technology, but also about what is the subject matter and the way of teaching that I must use in order to be appropriate with the learners’ characteristics.

Indeed, with the rapid advances of technology today, there are various options of technology that we have to select best. In my opinion, it is impossible to take all for granted. As a good teacher, we have to be able to select the best and the most appropriate tools or a kind of technology which fits with the content and our pedagogical views and skills. Importantly, we have to think and consider the development of social and psychological growth of our students. I realized that if I do not follow this TPACK course, perhaps I cannot perceive those combination aspects of knowledge and how to adjust them. I think TPACK is really important for beginning teachers to have scaffolding at least in considering and thinking about what kind of preparations that the teacher should have to implement the lesson plan, what kind of technology should add to implement the lesson, what is the learning activity or role grouping which fits with the lesson, what kind of assessment which suitable to assess student performance in this lesson, and so forth!! 

Figure 2. TPACK Spiderweb
From many activities that I have followed during the lectures, I gained enjoyable experiences when I was conducting game and using or selecting some technological tools to support our teaching and content of learning. During the game, I experienced that by integrating technology to teach in subject matter in the way of inquiry learning with games, the students felt more tempted to learn in authentic tasks. They can also build collaborative capacity in solving the problems. The problem here can be solved well if the teacher can manage the class and know the best strategy to teach and the appropriate technology to use. I believe that TPACK can mediate teachers to stimulate and create all those kind of experiences.

To conclude, the most striking point that I got from TPACK is the interrelated part of the elements or knowledge. In this context, we have to be able to adjust all those kind of things. We cannot emphasize or think only one element or knowledge, but we also have to think the other elements. Therefore, teachers should have understanding of the complex interplay between the three basic components of knowledge and their interactions or combination by teaching content using appropriate pedagogical methods and techniques (Schmidt, D.A. et al., 2009). If I can draw my reflection, I will make the interrelated components of TPACK similar with the component of spider web as you can see from figure 2 above. It means that when using TPACK framework, teachers should have inter-consistency among the knowledge of TK, PK,CK, TPK, TCK, and PCK.

Harris, J., Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2009). Teachers' technological pedagogical content knowledge and learning activity types: Curriculum-based technology integration reframed. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 41(4), 393-416.

Koehler, M.J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70. 

Schmidt, D.A. et al. (2009). Technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK): The development and validation of an assessment for pre-service teachers. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 42(2), 123-149.

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

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your post and reflection! Interesting to link the TPACK model and its interrelatedness to the curricular spiderweb. I agree with you that changing one aspect of your teaching changes the other parts. But.. this makes it even more complicated for teachers. How to support them in this?