Developing In-Service Teachers’ Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge

I chose this session because I’ve heard about TPACK but haven’t really learned what it is. This session had four papers on TPACK:

  • Supporting Adaptive Expertise for Teachers Through a Customized Graduate Degree Program Meghan McGlinn Manfra, North Carolina State University; Hiller A. Spires, North Carolina State University
  • Identifying Effective Pedagogical Approaches for Online Learning: Exploring Educators’ Experiences in a Graduate-Level Course Erica C. Boling, Rutgers University; Erica Michelle Holan, Rutgers University; Brent Horbatt, Rutgers University; Mary Hough, Rutgers University; Jennifer Jean-Louis, Rutgers University; Chesta Khurana, Rutgers University; Hindi L. Krinsky, Rutgers University; Christina Spiezio, Rutgers University
  • TPACK (Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge) Development in an Online Masters Program: How Do Teacher Perceptions Align With Classroom Practice? Nancy Staus, Oregon State University; Henry Gillow-Wiles, Oregon State University; Margaret L. Niess, Oregon State University; Emily H. Van Zee, Oregon State University
  • Affordances of Digital Technologies for Practicing Teachers by Beth Bos, Texas State University-San Marcos

What is TPACK?

  • It stands for technological pedagogical content knowledge
  • It is a framework for using technology with curriculum
  • Teachers may struggle with theoretical frameworks – they want the practical
  • The intersection of technological, pedagogical and content knowledge is where the transformative learning occurs
  • Neiss, (someone there called her the founding mother of TPACK) was there. At the very end she talked about how the knowledge in the middle – the center of the TPACK graph – is actually different knowledge. It’s like a chemical change where what is created is actually different – not that you can separate out the pieces and identify them like some people are doing with TPACK. If that is the case, what are the characteristics of that transformed knowledge? What does that really mean?

Identifying Effective Pedagogical Approaches for Online Learning

  • Not innovative is “linear text-based format”
  • Cognitive apprenticeship model as a framework to think about teaching online – because it focuses on the LEARNING not the technology
  • The courses in the study focused on project based learning and discussion forums
  • The courses consisted of modeling and coaching – in the form of video interviews, guest speakers in the discussion area
  • Instructor modeled using tools such as Animoto making videos. Then the introductory videos were embedded into the discussion forum.
  • Project proposals went to both the instructor and the participants
  • Very specific rubrics for participants
  • Their course was in ThinkFinity in a private community; and then using tools all across the web no evidence of being in an LMS – so that’s interesting – like the digital storytelling course community ds106.
  • They used Screenr to do tutorials for the teachers; and then teachers in the class would make screencasts to show the progress on their projects. (Screenr is free for 5 minutes and very simple to use because teachers don’t have to download software.)
  • They had to do critiques of tools such as Prezi – sharing with screencasts  – I like this idea of critiquing tools – I’m not doing this in my online classes right now – but it ends up in the discussion area.
  • The importance of instructors giving modeling and prompting students to elaborate further and to dig deeper in their conversations

Take-aways: I need to help our faculty see how they can use video and screencasts in their online teaching; to push teachers harder in my own classes to critique and think more deeply about the use of technology.

TPACK (Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge) Development in an Online Masters Program: How Do Teacher Perceptions Align With Classroom Practice?

  • Levels of TPACK: Recognizing (knowledge), accepting, adapting, exploring, and advancing (Niess, 2009)
  • This study looked at three teachers and their perceptions and classroom observations – and looked at how the teachers were using technology in their classrooms.

Questions Raised:

  • Is TPACK easier to do in some content areas than others? Thinking of the comparison of the math teachers vs. science teachers?
  • The presenter alluded to the tension among the three types of knowledge within TPACK. What is that and how does it work? Does trying a new technology drop teachers down to a lower level of implementation (thinking of Fullan’s work where the management of the new method is the main focus at the beginning of implementation)? Is it only the really technically comfortable teachers who can easily add a new technology and use it at a high level?

Affordances of Digital Technologies for Practicing

  • There’s a TPACK survey. I found this online but am not sure it’s the same one they are talking about.
  • The center of TPACK is the sweet spot – where all three types of knowledge interact.


Natalie B. Milman, The George Washington University

Interesting questions and comments from Natalie:

  • What are the best ways to study “effective online pedagogical practices”?
  • She has a bias for mixed methods – that when studying technology we need both types of data
  • How do you determine when to collect what and what to collect? And what are the ramifications of those choices?
  • She sounds like she’d be an amazing research coach – has really good process and research questions for each paper presented…
  • There’s a document called Standards for Reporting on Empirical Social Science Research in AERA Publications. A good guide for publications both at AERA and when submitting to journals also.
  • Why is TPACK important to study?  Is TPACK a theoretical or a conceptual framework? Is TPACK measurable?
  • The instruments were developed for pre-service teachers… should it be used for in-service teachers? The instrument hasn’t been validated for that other population.
  • Context is really important to share with the research study – what is the context of the study?
  • Koehler & Mishra, 2008 said that technology is a “wicked problem”.  How do we factor in those challenges as we design research on technology in the classroom?

I thoroughly enjoyed Natalie’s questions and want to learn more about her work, particularly her research and portfolio work.

Last Thoughts

Now that I’ve had a chance to link some resources to this post, I can see more of what TPACK is. I can see it fits well with my idea of teaching instructional strategies at the same time as teaching the technology tools. I attempty to do that in my latest Integrating Technology with Pathways classes. But what I’m missing in my work is the focus on the content knowledge. Hmm. I can see that I want to think about this much more.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.