In my previous blog post “Using what I have learned, already, “ my enthusiasm for the content lead to a preemptive post on TPACK. My understanding of TPACK has evolved as I have read more about it these past few weeks. If tasked with teaching others about TPACK I would say it is what teachers do. Teachers know how to teach (pedagogy). Teachers knows subject matter (content). And teachers know how to deliver pedagogy and content to students (technology). Pencils and paper are no longer considered technology but at one point in time they were cutting edge. Today, teachers are using Google Classroom, Edmoto and Kahoot as delivery systems. Because these forms of technology are new and unproven we have refocused our attention on the delivery systems. We are learning by design. We play with these forms of technology while developing our lesson plans and become guides on the side as our students play with the technology to create artifacts that demonstrate their comprehension.
“Learning technology by design also capitalizes on the idea of involving teachers in authentic problem solving with technology,” (Mishra Koehler 2006). I watched a disheartening YouTube video produced by Best Buy that purports technology is scary for adults and teachers should rely on Best Buy (watch video here) for tech expertise. In reality tech expertise can not be separated from content or technological expertise. Teachers have mastered maps, xerox machines and Scantron. Twitter is a breeze compared to a machine that spits toner and staples. Teachers have a long history of making do with what they have. Sometimes the technology we have access to doesn’t fit our objective and we need to bend the technology until it does. Last year I taught an American History lesson in which students “tweeted” the Civil War. We did not have access to Twitter so we made a shared Google Doc, assigned hashtags and kept our posts to 140 characters. Students demonstrated they understood the chronology, causes and effects of the conflict in an engaging manner that related directly to their social lives. They learned a skill required on Twitter, learned how to interact with others on a Google Doc and mastered content. These objectives could also have been accomplished through creating a Prezi, making a paper & pencil timeline or making causing and effect cards on Quizlet. Passive learning is a relic of a bygone era. TPACK forces INQUIRY into the spotlight, highlights the 21st Century skills our students need to succeed and is what teachers do best.
After teachers realize they are already deeply involved in TPACK they may search out additional resources to increase their awareness of how TPACK influences themselves and their students. I would recommend following TPACK on Facebook, Twitter #TPACK and watching the “What Can TPACK Do for You” video on YouTube. The inevitable flux of technology requires teachers to continually connect back to their understandings about teaching, content, technology, and TPACK.
My next objectice….investigate SAMR.