Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TPACK: When Technology meets Pedagogy and Content

Nowadays, technology has already become prominent factor that support all aspects of people life, such as health, politic and governance, economy and business, natural science, cultural, and surely in education sector. Like or dislike, agree or disagree, technology has embedded in our daily life. As a student who is concerning about educational science and technology, I would discuss about how technology has integrated in education sector. In educational process, technology has developed as an important element that supports teaching and learning process. As I mentioned in my first blog-post about flexibilities in education, technology can be a tool for supporting flexibility in education. Technology could provide several alternatives educational media in conveying knowledge on teaching and learning process. In educational setting, teachers could transfer knowledge and skill by using educational technology. Teachers also could adapt the educational technology into their pedagogical style and method. So, I argue that technological aspect could be combined with teachers’ pedagogical skill in transferring subject content in order to attain an effective learning. Those combinations are well known as a framework called TPACK. TPACK is the abbreviation from Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge. I would discuss it in the way I perceived that framework. 

How did I perceive TPACK as an innovation framework to enhance effective teaching and learning process? 

TPACK Framework by Koehler and Mishra (2009)
Before I discuss in depth about the framework of TPACK in my own insight, I would explain the fundamental concept behind it. The concept of TPACK framework establishes on Shulman’s (1987, 1986) descriptions of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) to describe how teachers’ understanding of educational technologies and PCK interact with one another to produce effective teaching with technology (Koehler & Mishra, 2009). Furthermore, TPACK emphasizes the connections among technologies, curriculum contents, and specific pedagogical approaches, that demonstrate teachers’ understandings of technology, pedagogy, and content, that  interact with one another to produce effective discipline-based teaching with educational technologies (Harris, Mishra, & Koehler, 2009).

From those fundamental concept of TPACK, I perceived that TPACK is kind of solution framework to bridge teachers’ knowledge in content, pedagogical, and technological. Furthermore, TPACK framework is the integration concept that unifies three fundamental aspects in establishing effective teaching and learning. I inferred that in order to acquire best attainment of TPACK, there are some knowledge that have to be attained by the teachers. Based on the TPACK framework, I identified and classified it into two categories; basic knowledge and combination or interaction knowledge. Those classifications are based on my personal perspective and understanding in order to make TPACK framework easy to understand for me. 

In the basic knowledge, I identified that there are three elements that have to be mastered by teacher in order to attain good accomplishment of TPACK. First is content knowledge (CK). I inferred that CK is knowledge that has to become proficient by teachers related to subjects that they have to be taught and learned.  I considered that teachers have to comprehend deep understanding of fundamental theory, concept, and appropriate example of the subject or course that they need to be delivered to students. Second is pedagogical knowledge (PK). I perceived that PK is knowledge about how teachers use their knowledge concerning teaching and learning strategies, or methods. It includes teachers’ knowledge in designing lesson plan, managing classroom, choosing appropriate instructional strategies, identifying students’ characteristic, and conducting assessment process for the students. Third is technological knowledge (TK). TK is basic knowledge for teacher related to their proficiency in updating, adapting, and utilizing appropriate technology. I used word ‘adapting’ since technology is updated in every minute. It wisely to assume that teachers have to be updated with technological changes. For now, when this blog is written, teachers in this era should have proficiency skills in computer, internet connection, and some digitals gadgets such as tablet PC, smartphone, e-pad, etc. 

Furthermore, I inferred that there are there interactions of knowledge that have to be required by teachers to enhance the implementation of TPACK. First fundamental interaction of knowledge is pedagogical-content knowledge (PCK). PCK is about how teachers implementing intended pedagogical approaches in order to deliver contents of particular subject or course. It also about how teachers choose appropriate instructional strategies for particular subject materials. Second interaction of knowledge is technological-pedagogical knowledge (TPK). I perceived that TPK is how pedagogical aspect of teaching and learning can be adapted by using technology. I affirmed that with proficiency knowledge in TPK, teachers should know how the flexibility of technology could support and enhance effective pedagogical approaches. Third is technological-content knowledge (TCK). TCK is about how teachers attain deep understanding of the influence of technology in particular subject materials, and vice versa. It little bit confusing for me to understand this concept at first time. However, I acquired nice example to explain this knowledge. For instance, if teachers need to explain about microorganism in Biology subject, it is better to use digital microscope, instead of analog microscope. Surely digital microscope could provide better description about microorganism, rather than the analog one. From that example, I inferred that teachers have to know how change of technology could support subject matter in an appropriate way. 

From my personal insight about elements that support the framework of TPACK, I attained my own understanding about TPACK as an integrated framework. I perceived that TPACK is integrated concept about how technology auspices process of communicating and transferring content of a particular subject into students’ learning experiences by using intended appropriate pedagogical approaches in order to achieve effective teaching and learning process. TPACK should be implemented as a full framework. It would be not effective if teachers only implement the basic elements, or intersections of combinations from TPACK framework. Indeed, if it is implemented separately, it cannot be perceived as TPACK framework. Furthermore, another important thing about TPACK framework is about context. Teachers should also consider the context where the TPACK framework will be implemented in educational setting. I presumed that different context of educational setting more or less could influence the implementation of TPACK.

How did I remark the added value of TPACK framework in educational setting? 

The concept of technology in education, pedagogical approaches, and subject content expertise are not really new concept in education. As I mentioned before that Shulman (1987, 1986) already discovered about the concept of pedagogical-content knowledge. However, as an integrated concept, I inferred that TPACK framework is a great tool to enhance teaching and learning process in this century. I noted four added values from TPACK framework. 

First added value that I distinguished from TPACK framework is about integrated concept of teaching and learning strategies. As we already known that teaching and learning are complicated processes. Several aspects have to be considered in order to provide good result of teaching and learning experiences. Mostly teachers consider and prepare separately about content of particular subjects that have to be taught, appropriate pedagogical approaches, and technological support that will be used. By using TPACK framework, teachers could consider content of subject, pedagogical strategies, and educational technology support in same time within linear connections. Indeed, it will establish good connections that enhance better teaching and learning experience. 

Second added value of TPACK framework is about context. If I take a look at TPACK framework, the element of context is figured out around the whole elements of TPACK. It considers that educational context could give any influence in the implementation of TPACK. It became prominent added value for me since I argued that good educational concept or framework should be implemented in various educational contexts. I wondered that different teachers in different countries might have different operationalization of their TPACK framework based on their current and local situation. In this situation, the contexts can be adapted to TPACK framework, or vice versa. Thus, I concluded that the framework of TPACK is not only owned by teachers in well developed countries where the framework is developed, but also owned by teachers in other countries with different situations. Indeed, I considered that TPACK really has flexibility and adaptability based on this situation. 

Third, I attained that TPACK framework could support an evaluation process of teaching activities in a classroom. TPACK is really useful to be used in order to evaluate the quality of teaching process. It is because TPACK has clear variables that can be developed as measurement tools. In TPACK framework, teaching process can be evaluated by measuring whether teacher could integrate technology in their pedagogical approaches in order to convey subject content. If the result found that there is a lack in particular knowledge (technological, pedagogical, or content), teacher can easily assist to identify it in TPACK framework. Thus, teachers could improve their lack to enhance good implementation of TPACK in order to achieve effective teaching and learning process. I realized that TPACK is not the only way to measure the teaching process, but I affirmed that at least TPACK has clear description about three important elements in teaching process by teachers at classroom. 

Fourth, I perceived that TPACK is not only focused to improve teaching and learning process, but also to enhance professional development of teacher. I supposed that by implementing TPACK framework, teachers are encouraged to enhance their knowledge in mastering the content of particular subject, selecting suitable pedagogical approaches, and using appropriate educational technology. Moreover, I considered that in TPACK framework teachers are provided with a big opportunity to design their intended instructional process. Besides, in order to communicate particular subject content, teachers have space to enhance their pedagogical skill in choosing appropriate teaching strategies and methods that suitable with student characteristic and classroom setting. Then, within TPACK framework, teachers are provided a chance to develop their skill in using appropriate technology that is adjustable into content and pedagogical approaches. Thus, I concluded that TPACK framework also can be assumed as a supporting system to encourage teacher professional development.

Based on my explanations about TPACK, I attained new insight that TPACK is kind of wonderful idea in emerging three fundamental aspects of teaching. With some added values that are given by TPACK, I wondered that it really nice if young teachers are introduced to this framework. It is so useful for their teaching quality improvement and professional development. However, how does to explain TPACK framework to senior teacher that already have a lot of teaching experiences? For me, I just want to start telling them with simple words: “TPACK is when technology meets pedagogy and content”. Ok, I have to stop blogging now. Thank you for reading my blog. :)

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.

Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70.               


  1. Hi Zeno, thanks for your post and your reflection! You mention some interesting ideas on how to put TPACK in practice. This week we will discuss the use of the TPACK model in different countries, so that might give you more ideas!

  2. Thanks Petra for your comment. I really sure that TPACK can be implemented in many various contexts in different countries. Lack of ICT facilities does not mean that TPACK cannot be implemented in a country. TPACK still can be implemented with some adjustment based on situation and condition in that particular country. I am so interested with this issue:)