Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Week 3 (February 15 – 21, 2011)

This week we got our first look into approaching technology integration in instruction. The methodology we examined is known as the technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge (TPACK) framework. The model recognizes the aforementioned knowledge components as “interdependent aspects of teachers’ knowledge necessary to teach content-based curricula effectively with educational technologies” (Harris, Mishra & Koehler, 2009, p. 393).

Content Knowledge (CK) refers to “knowledge about the subject matter that is to be learned or taught” and includes such things as concepts, theories, proofs and ideas (Harris et al., 2009, p. 397). Teachers with insufficient CK can lead to student misunderstanding of content area.

Pedagogical Knowledge (PK) is “knowledge about the processes and practices of teaching and learning” including instructional purposes, goals and strategies (Harris et al., 2009, p. 397). Teachers with strong PK are usually well-versed in “cognitive, social and developmental” learning theories (Harris et al., 2009, p. 397).

Technological Knowledge (TK) is difficult to define as developments are constantly taking place and as such, associated definitions can easily become outdated. Therefore, Harris et al. (2009) advise to instead think about ways of working with technology, applicable to all tools, past, present and future (e.g. Fluency of Information Technology – “FITness”) (p. 398). As TK is constantly evolving (has no “end state”), teachers must try and keep up to date with developments, which is probably easier said than done (Harris et al., 2009, p. 398).

When combined together, we get the TPACK framework which, as stated earlier, considers the three knowledge domains (CK, PK, and TK) as being related and necessary to work together in order for “meaningful and engaged learning” to occur (Nelson, Christopher & Mims, 2009, p. 82). However, it should also be noted that as all three domains “co-exist, co-constrain and co-create each other,” there will never be a technological solution able to work the same in every instructional setting so teachers need to be very flexible (Harris et al., 2009, pp. 401-402).

Furthermore, teachers who excel in TPACK clearly understand that the aim is to adapt technological tools/resources “to fit the goals and objectives of their classrooms and curricula” and not vice-versa (Nelson et al., 2009, p. 82). Various Web 2.0 technologies exist today including blogging, social bookmarking and digital storytelling that afford TPACK-minded teachers new opportunities to help facilitate student learning and higher-order thinking (Nelson et al., 2009, p. 82).

Overall, I feel the TPACK framework is a good model for helping both teachers and administrators alike learn to integrate technology into their curriculum. Although I personally never heard of TPACK before reading these papers, the concept as whole seems intuitive. I have used Web 2.0 tools with students before and can appreciate the value-added benefit they bring to the learning environment. Students are viewed less as simply receivers of knowledge (as in behavioral and cognitive learning theories) but instead, constructors of knowledge (as in constructivist theory) via self-ownership and collaboration in problem solving. In the end, students will ideally be more “creative, skilled, life-long learners” who are “prepared for innovation and advancement of society” (Nelson et al., 2009, p. 82).


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. Retrieved from

Nelson, J., Christopher, A., & Mims, C. (2009). TPACK and Web 2.0: Transformation of teaching and learning. TechTrends, 53(5), 80-85. Retrieved from

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