Last time when I posted a reflection on the three topics covered so far; flexibility in learning, pedagogical approaches and technology, I showed some hesitates on how easily can technology be integrated with the first two parts (flexibility and pedagogy). My view has finally changed; there is a close relationship between flexibility, pedagogy and technology. When discussing about the flexibility for learning, pedagogical approaches and Technology in education, you realize that they are all interdependent. In every part you find the need to integrate content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and technological knowledge. Thus,TPACK appears in all the previous three lectures covered.
Flexibility in learning
In my first post I described that, learners have flexibility related to time, content, entry requirement, instructional approach and resources as well as the flexibility related to delivery and logistic. From the TPACK point of view, all flexibilities require technological, content and pedagogical knowledge (TPACK) of the teacher for successful implementation. For example, learners’ choice of the content requires teachers’ competency on the subject matter (CK) he teaches so as to cope with learners choices. Also, since students have flexibility related to instructional approaches, teachers are also ought to have the necessary competencies in pedagogy (PK). Also, since learners can choose to learn from any, topic from any location and at their prefered time a teacher need to be competent enough on using various information and communication technologies (ICT). Thus, teacher's need flexibility in Technology (able to use different kinds of technology), Pedagogy (able to abide to learners’ choice of instructional approaches) and content (to abide to learners' choice of content).
The added value of TPACK in learning flexibility
According to Marino, Sameshima & Beecher (2009) there are various added values of TPACK in learning flexibilities;
1.Multiple means of representation: a teacher with a good TPACK, can provide diversity in learners’ recognition network through multiple ways of presentation which reach the wide range of the audience's learning styles.
2. Multiple means of expression: with TPACK a teacher can allow the diverse group of learners to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways (multimedia, plays or writing)which can give students an opportunity to learn and practice skills.
3. Multiple means of engagement; through TPACK students are offered varied levels of scaffolding throughout the learning tasks. “A flexible curriculum design stimulates a wide range of student interests, motivation, and promotes positive interactions with the learning environment” (Meyer & Rose, 2005, sited in Mariano et al., 2009).
There are various pedagogical approaches available for teachers to facilitate teaching and learning process. The decision to use any of these available pedagogical approaches depends on the content to be taught. A teacher who knows in advance the content he want to teach will easily identify the pedagogical approach suitable for that given topic. However the decision on the pedagogical approach will inquire some knowledge about the way that pedagogy can be supported by Course Management System (CMS) (Meerts, 2003). To be able to use CMS a teacher need to be conversant with technology (computer, iPod, GPS etc). Thus, a decision to use either collaborative learning or problem based learning will highly require the understanding of the teacher about the content he want to teach and the way the pedagogy can be supported by technology. The combination of these makes TPACK.
Added value of TPACK in pedagogy
With TPACK some of the challenges that teacher were facing in the choice of pedagogy can be minimized through;
1. Increase in teachers’ choices of pedagogy and activities to support teaching in a given content. Hariss, Mishra and Koehler (2009:408) suggest a variety of options.
2. Enabling a teacher to provides a rapid feedback on formative assessments (JISC, 2009). For example in task based learning, students can post their progress on the discussion board or through email and a teacher can easily read and provide feedback to learners.
3. It enhances teachers’ choices of more interactive learning approaches; many interactive approaches available for teaching can be easily chosen when there is a support of technology such as interactive multimedia resources.
According to Reynolds (2004)and Koehler & Mishra (2009), technology does not only refer to computers but also to a wide range of tools and processes for enhanced learning, including large data systems, audio and video capacity, analog and digital, as well as new technology(Nintendo, iPod, Camera, Wikipedia, GPS, Online game etc) and old technologies. However, the presence of technology at school is one thing and using it is another thing. Many schools tries as much as possible to have all the new technologies on the teachers’ reach, but teachers’ use of those technology is highly hindered by the knowledge of operating them. With TPACK a teacher is given an opportunity to expand his knowledge beyond content and pedagogy which most of the teachers already have it. The TPACK model provides a conceptual framework that includes each component as independent part of the teaching process as well as a combination. Since the model requires teachers’ competencies in content (CK), pedagogy (PK) and technology (TK), teachers find themselves in demand of acquiring all the three knowledge as important prerequisite for their teaching profession.
The added value of TPACK in technology
The following are some of the added values of TPACK in technology;
1. Cultivate learning by discovery in virtual worlds and facilitate development of skills for living and working in digital ages (JISC, 2009). The teacher will not only be able to orient students in the use of technology but also to apply it in a real world through integration of technology with content and pedagogy.
2. TPACK can bring about best possible learning for the widest variety of learners (JISC, 2009). Through TPACK, a teacher can develop a wide range of pedagogical skills and foresee the constraints of a range of technological tools as they relate to disciplinarily and pedagogical designs and strategies (Harris, Mishra & Coehler, 2009).
In conclusion, I would like to correct my previous recommendation I put in the post on reflection about flexibility, pedagogy and technology. I think its not that there is no particular method which is good, instead, its important to combine flexibility, good knowledge on content, good pedagogical approach and good technological knowledge can bring the meaningful learning outcome. The level of flexibility can be increased, pedagogical choices can be doubled and learning activities can be widened only if the three things are wisely integrated; content, pedagogy and technological knowledge (TPACK). However there are still some challenges in the teachers’ training college, where the focus is mostly on the content of technology rather than use of technology in teaching. Maybe this is an important challenge that educators need to address.
Marino, M. T., Sameshima, P., & Beecher, C. C. (2009). Enhancing TPACK with assistive technology: Promoting inclusive practices in preservice teacher education. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(2). Retrieved from http://www.citejournal.org/vol9/iss2/general/article1.cfm
Reynolds, G. M (2004) Viewpoints Vol. 12: Using Technology in Education. Retrieved 18th October 2009 from http://www.ncrel.org/policy/pubs/html/vp12/essay.htm
Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70.
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 800.336.5191