A person who knows and is aware that he knows, is wise, follow him; A person who knows but is not aware that he knows, remind him; A person who doesn't know and is aware that he doesn't know, teach him; A person who doesn't know and pretends to know, is fool, leave him

Bless me in my undertakings Dear God, grant me victory and I shall shout your blessings for all to hear of your power!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Working with TPACK: Experience from DUCE

It was my first time to conduct a study about TPACK. I am glad that I chose to work with my students (third year B.Ed Science students at Dar es salaam University College of Education. I am happy that despite the difficult schedule they had at the college, they still accepted to devote their time for this project. I believe that they learned less than what they contributed to my study. But I also believe that they gained a lot of theoretical conceptions on how Technology integration is supposed to be.

Different from my conception that TPACK is a widely known concept, that can be well clear to everybody in the field of education, things were not like that at DUCE. Only few have heard of it through reading articles, and some have not heard of it at all. So it was a bit hard to conduct a study of something which your participants don't know what is it. Then I had to organize a short training prior to the whole TPACK related activities including lesson design. although it was a short training that took almost two hours, it had a great impact, as student teachers came up with some interesting presentations about simple pendulum, DNA coding, charts drawing and calculations related to circles. The lesson study and presentation were quit funny. Student teachers, having gained a knowledge of what TPACK is, were able to challenge each other and propose some interesting ideas for better integration of the three components of TPACK.
Yah, it was nice to get such kind of corporation from these young enthusiastic guys at DUCE. Although it was a new concept to them, yet it sounded interesting during the presentation. However, as it is for everything which is named to be good, there are some areas that may not be as good as to the need of recipients. TPACK was mentioned to have several challenges that may hinder its uptake and use in schools. Although they like it and showed interest of using it in their teaching, yet they all had some doubts about the possibility that it can work. Some of the challenges mentioned by student teachers at DUCE, to mention a few, were;

  • For TPACK to work, you need to have technological tools, which are not available in most schools in Tanzania and other developing countries. 
  • Majority if not all teachers in primary and secondary schools in Tanzania are technologically ignorant. Most of the pre-service and in-service teachers' technological knowledge is limited to PowerPoint Presentations, Microsoft Office (particularly word and excel), and simple internet application such as email and Googling.
  • Although it could be easy to improvise some of the technological tools for use in teaching, electricity rationing is another challenge in the context of Tanzania. There is no sustainable electricity supply, thus to avoid the disturbance of switching between the use of technology and manual teaching, teachers decide to abandon technology at all. 
  • Missing motivation due to limited technological knowledge, lack of technological tools, and unsustainable power supply. 
Some student teachers believe that having a well integrated knowledge of technology, pedagogy and content, might be a good idea, but in the context of Tanzania you might end up using the two component: pedagogy and content and abandon technology as there is no opportunity to use it.
If these challenges applies to most of the developing countries, then it may be concluded that TPACK model is not complete by itself. For it to be effective needs the presence of Will, Skill and Tool model. How can TPACK and WST models be integrated, will be the next discussion in this blog.  

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