I have just started attending the coursera course “E-learning and digital cultures” . You may want to join it, since it is free and really interesting. Today I would like to share with you my first reflection.
Are you trying to incorporate the latest technology into your classroom without giving too much thought to it? Are you always too eager to bring into your next class that new tool you have just come across through twitter? Do you design a whole class around that flashy new online tool your colleague has told you about in the teachers room? If you answer yes to more than one of these questions, then you are another technology worshipper (You do not differ too much from the characters depicted in the YouTube video)
As you all may know, I’m a big fan of incorporating technologies in the classroom. However, I believe that we have to be more concsientious about the decisions we make, when we bring them into the classroom, in order not to fall into the trap of becoming a fanatic. The fact that we have found a fantastic new online tool, doesn’t mean that we MUST use it as soon as possible. Technology is not the answer to all the questions and the solution to all the problems we may encounter in our teaching practice. Technology in itself, is not going to revolutionise education. That is a utopia.
As Judy Harris explains in the video presented in this post about TPACK , we should not build a house around a faucet. On the contrary, we should incorporate technology in order to enrich our classes taking into account our curricular and pedagogical needs. That’s why I find the TPACK approach so interesting. If you are not familiar with it, here I can summarise the main ideas proposed by Koehler and Mishra (2006) in this model.
According to this model when we design a class we need to make 3 THREE important decisions in the following order:
- Curricular knowledge; i.e deciding on the topic to be covered and the objectives to be achieved by the students
- Pedagogical knowledge; i.e selecting the type of activities we want to do, the final product, the teacher and students role, assessment strategies, and so on and so forth.
- AND ONLY AFTER ALL THESE HAVE BEEN SET, TAKE DECISSIONS ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY KNOWLDGE; i.e choosing and looking for the appropriate technological resources that will help us to achieve our aims for that class.
Even though these three elements are very important, the TPACK approach goes beyond taking them into account in isolation, emphasizing the new kinds of knowledge that lie at the intersections between them, resulting in four more knowledges teachers need to take into account when teaching with technology. In this graph you can clearly see them:
Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK): Knowledge that allows you to organise and adapt the content in the best way to be taught.
Technological Content Knowledge (TCK): Knowledge about how content and technology influence each other. It implies knowing what type of technology is the best for teaching the content and how to use technology effectively in the classroom.
Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK):Knowledge about how education and technology influence each other. It implies knowing what type of technology is available at the momento, and how it can be adapted for educational purposes, since most of it has not been created for pedagogical purposes.
Finally, the intersection of all three circles results in: Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK).
Effective technology integration for pedagogy around specific subject matter requires developing sensitivity to the dynamic, transactional relationship between these components of knowledge situated in unique contexts. Individual teachers, grade-level, school-specific factors, demographics, culture, and other factors ensure that every situation is unique, and no single combination of content, technology, and pedagogy will apply for every teacher, every course, or every view of teaching. http://www.matt-koehler.com/tpack/what-is-tpack/
Let’s incorpórate technology into our clases, but only after we have taken informed decisions about why and how we are going to use it. Technology is not a sacrd object to be revered, it is just another tool we should have at hand to be used when needed.