In this posting, some experiences about designing TPACK lesson plan will be elaborated and reflected. At the first time, I would reflect what I have learned from TPACK and describe or share ideas about my experiences in design TPACK lesson plan in this course. At the end, I try to reflect and share ideas how to stimulate teachers in integrating technology in education or classroom contexts. Interested in TPACK and my design experiences in TPACK??? Don’t stop reading this post!!!
What was I expected and learned from this course?
This course is entitled “Pedagogies for Flexible Learning supported by Technology.” From its description, it is stated that several scenarios for more flexible learning will be identified, along with characteristics pedagogical approaches and ways of using technology. In addition, different theories, models and approaches will be discussed, for example the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) as a framework for teacher knowledge for technology integration. When I chose this course at the first time as one of my elective courses in CIMA track of Master’s program in Educational Science and Technology (EST) at the University of Twente, I had some big expectations to follow this course, some of which are how I can integrate technology to support flexible learning in my teaching experiences later on and how I can best select technological tools for learning activity to achieve learning goals that also make sense for my diverse students in my classrooms someday. Finally, after following this course, I have gained what I have expected for my professional development as a teacher in Indonesia from learning experiences. I feel that now I am more confident to teach in the real class after following this course. For me, this course is not focusing on the use of technology in education, but it goes further on how technology is used as supplement to foster learning by choosing appropriate learning activities. In other words, although we use a simple technology, but how we can manage this simple technology to greatly add and affect to the knowledge construction of the learners.
The process of designing TPACK Lesson Plan
At the end of this course, I was requested by the teacher to make a TPACK Lesson Plan in Science for primary education in the course of “Pedagogies for Flexible Learning supported by Technology”. This design task was intended to prepare the students to be familiar with the real life of teachers in the educational school contexts and to integrate technology in teaching activities to foster learning outcomes. This task was design-based lesson, meaning that we create and design learning scenario by integrating TPACK model. To make this design product, we formed a group consisting of two Dutch students and two Indonesian students. This combination was really nice and challenging for self-study and group experiences.
There were some steps which I followed in making this design process. First, our group should decide the context in which this design would be implemented. This context decision is very important to make our design applicable in the realistic setting and situations. In this design, my group came up with one idea to choose the context in Indonesia. The reason why we chose Indonesian context is because of familiarity and variability. There were two members of the group coming from Indonesia. We were sure that they have been familiar with Indonesia’s education system, curriculum, and its characteristics. For this reason, it was expected that it can ease our work in design project. Besides familiarity, variability is also taken into account for context decision. I was certain that designing Indonesian context can enrich and add more perspective from developing Asian countries which differ from Dutch or European countries in which this task was formulated.
After determining the context, the second step is decide what the appropriate technology and pedagogical approach which suit best with our content or subject matte—in this case, Science. This step aims at integrating those three domains of knowledge in TPACK framework: Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge. During this step, I still remembered that this part of designing process was the most difficult to establish consensus among team members. Every member gave their opinion and argument for their choices. Then, we reached an agreement to choose what the content knowledge for our design lesson plan. Upon considering the context analysis, especially in the curriculum content for primary education in Indonesia, we decided to make Lesson Plan for the fifth grade of Primary education in the specific content: “Parts of the Plants and their function”. From this point, then we decided to preferably choose “smart phone” as the technological issue combined with “collaborative inquiry learning” as the pedagogical approach in this design. As one of the members of the design team, I concluded that this decision in choosing the three element s should be made in careful decision. The wrong or inappropriate choice of one element can lead to ineffective for other parts. The three elements are integrated. They can affect and influence one another. If we fail in one aspect, it can make our design ineffective and lead to fail in achieving the learning objectives.
Then, the final step is making the lesson plan as the learning scenario for the realistic implementation in the classroom settings. In this phase, we first establish the learning objectives from our topic in the TPACK design model. After that, we came up with the ideas to make learning scenario in which all instructions for teacher and the students was clearly presented. In addition, there was also time allocation to reach time limit for each activity in order not to distract other subjects. From this experience, I gained fruitful insight that being teacher is not easy. Not only do I have to be able to manage time well so that teaching activities can be conducted, but also I have to consider other aspects, such as good instructional strategies blended with technological media for knowledge construction to foster learning experiences and enhance students’ motivation in learning activities.
To sum up, I personally believe that being involved in this design team greatly enrich my design experiences in TPACK perspectives. I feel enjoy and happy to get and accomplish this design task. I attained many invaluable experiences how to integrate technology (QR codes and mobile phones) which I did not know before. Even QR code is still unfamiliar in my country. Hopefully, after finishing this course, I can implement and spread use of QR codes in the sake of educational learning contexts.
Working and Experiences with TPACK
In this design experiences, I always worked with TPACK model. As a team member of the designer, I was involved in the TPACK design activities. I had to be able to integrate technology for teaching and learning activities. However, integrating technology is not the end-product of this design. It is indicated that many technological approaches have been integrated in teaching practices with insufficient results. Why this is so? I think the answer is technologically pivoted. For me, in education or learning activities, the focus is not only integrating technology in education as delivery view, but how can technology adapt to foster learning and aid knowledge construction of the learners. Therefore, in my opinion, working with TPACK can enhance our perspective not only pivoted from technological delivery. Rather, within TPACK framework, I should also consider the right way of pedagogical issue and subject matter perspectives. This combination intersects each other to foster learning with considering local contexts and characteristics of the students as its added value.
From this design experiences, I think and conclude that working with TPACK is really enjoyable, although it is also difficult to some extents. For me, as an English teacher in Indonesia, TPACK can be a promising solution (although not the only one solution) to teach English in my school contexts. I am pretty sure that by integrating TPACK into my teaching model it will mediate and foster students in learning English. Of course, it is expected that by using TPACK model, the students can feel the difference from the traditional way of teaching in regular activities which are reflected from their learning outcomes at the end. To my mind, I am optimistic that TPACK can be conducted in my school contexts and students will enjoy it if I can implement it successfully. How to implement TPACK framework successfully in school? I think there are some important issues here. First, it is important for the teachers of the school to have sufficient skill in using technology. Therefore, promoting teachers’ attitude towards technology is also important. Second, it is essential that teachers have been equipped with pedagogical weapons with which teachers can adapt and adjust their teaching approach based on different contexts and situation. Third, the teachers should have mastery of the content being taught to the students. For example, the teacher of English should know about enhancing four English language skills or its grammatical issues. In my opinion, teachers’ mastery of the subject can build up self-confident when teaching.
When working with TPACK model, I felt that TPACK is proven as the total package in teaching. I can learn from this TPACK model that we should keep in mind some important questions to be considered, such as (1) is the tool simple enough for teachers and students to use? (2) Do the task activities suit with the learners and learning outcomes? (3) Do the students need any scaffolding to complete the tasks and follow learning activities? Is the TPACK learning activity well balanced?, etc. In my opinion, working with TPACK can greatly enrich my knowledge perspectives about how to integrate technology in education to support flexible learning and achieve desired learning outcomes in the classroom learning experiences.
How to stimulate teachers to integrate technology in education
The next important issue about TPACK is how to stimulate teachers to integrate technology when teaching. Integrating is slightly different from just using technology in classroom. Rather, it is used as integrated part in our teaching activities as daily issues. Therefore, in integration, we should be able to consider other related issues, such as content and task activities well-balanced. To discuss this part, let me bring you to Indonesian context in my country. In my country, there are still many “old” teachers who can’t use technology and they even sometimes are technophobia. How they can integrate technology into their teaching activities if they even can’t use the technology or afraid and allergic to the word technology. Therefore, in my opinion there are some strategies and attempts how to stimulate those kinds of teacher to integrate technology in education.
First, there is clear ICT policy which has been incorporated in the written and formal school curriculum. It means that it is obliged for the teacher to greatly integrate technology into teaching practices. However, before being truly implemented, the school should provide technological facilities in school and conduct teachers’ training in the use technological tools into implemented curriculum in the classroom practices.
Second, there is a sustainable professional development to support this integration. It is non-sense if the training program is conducted just once. It is advisable that training to support teachers’ professional development in integration technology should reach the continuation over time.
Third, it is encouraged to promote teachers’ attitude in integrating technology when teaching. I personally believe that teachers’ technological acceptance need to increase. If the teachers have positive attitude towards technology, they will accept, use, and integrate it into their teaching practices. This phase is called adoption step. In this phase, the teachers are attempting to accept educational change and innovation before they will implement and incorporate the change by integrating technology into their teaching experiences in the next steps. They know the advantages and benefits when integrating technology from their desire and intention to use it.
Fourth, there is enough technical, financial, and managerial support from school management. I think teachers will be welcome and kindly use and integrate technology if the school provides enough support. In this situation, if they encountered problems dealing with technical problems when using technology, the school quickly responses with the availability of technicians who can help the teachers and can be contacted during office hours. This will make the teachers satisfied and not make them worried anymore in using and integrating technology into their teaching practices.
Fifth, there is scaling-up for this implementation. It means that the integration technology in the classroom activities should spread over other parties and contexts. I think if the integration of technology has been widely use, collaborative teaching and discussion can be enhanced to promote integration technology.