I still remember in “CIMA-Themes and Approaches” course I stated that technology in education is not means of education and not really an important aspect in teaching and learning process. I presumed that technology is just like supporting tool that is used by teacher to support a process of transferring knowledge in classroom. Moreover, I also assumed that technology is not possible to be implemented in learning environment which has limited sources and access of technology. However, after following a course called “Pedagogies for Flexibility Learning Supported by Technology”, I have to change my mind-set about using and integrating technology in teaching and learning process. Especially when I experienced valuable activities in designing TPACK professional development program, I attained much more insight about integrating technology at classroom. At the end of this blog I would re-state my statement about it. For now, I need to explain to you my personal reflection in designing TPACK professional development program.
Being assigned to make a project in designing professional development program is kind of challenging activity for me. Indeed, as a CIMA student who is encouraged to became a professional educational designer, getting involved into this project is a good opportunity to get in a real experience. As a junior educational designer, I attained that designing professional development program is not an easy work. At first, I have to know comprehensively what TPACK professional development program is. Indeed, I also have to attain better understanding what TPACK is. TPACK is an abbreviation from Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge. A teaching and learning framework that attempts to integrate technological aspect, pedagogical approach and content knowledge into teaching and learning process in a classroom. TPACK framework is promoted by Mishra and Koehler (2006). I already post about TPACK framework and my personal reflection about it in my previous blog. Thus, in this time I would not discuss theoretical concept of TPACK framework in further. I would reflect my personal and professional experience in the process of formulating and designing TPACK professional development program.
What should I do as an educational designer in designing TPACK professional development program?
I had to work in group of 3 with my Indonesian and Kenyan colleagues in designing TPACK professional development program. Indeed, it contributed me another challenge in working as group rather than as individual educational designer. Three of us came with different professional background. My Indonesian friend is an English teacher at one of state university in Indonesia, my Kenyan friend is also a teacher for Mathematic at a university in Kenya, and I came as training administrator for education and training centre in State Secretariat of the Republic of Indonesia. I felt that working as a team with different professional educational background could give added value in our TPACK professional development product. Furthermore, I also experienced suitable work-load division in this project based on our professional, educational, experiential background. We chose to design TPACK professional development program for elementary science teachers in Tampan District, Pekanbaru, Indonesia. Pekanbaru is the capital city of Riau Province which is located in the Eastern-coast of Sumatera Island. Tampan District is not a big district like other districts in Indonesia. Thus, it became a challenge for us to design TPACK professional development program in remote area.
In designing TPACK professional development program many aspects have to be considered in order to make it on the right track. As an educational designer at least four aspects have to be considered in designing TPACK professional development program. Those aspects are the analysis of needs, contexts, learners, and content characteristics (Smith & Ragan, 2005). First, In order to attain the real needs of this TPACK professional development program we attempted to find out real problem that is needed to be solved. We found that Riau Provincial government of Indonesia expects schools to include instruction with technologies for better learning. We presumed that by promoting TPACK model effectively in their instructional practices could meet this objective. However, most of school did not familiar about TPACK framework, and science teachers have lack use of technology in their classes. Besides, most of teachers lack of training and experiences to understand how to use TPACK framework into their science instruction in classroom. Indeed, as guidance in identifying the needs, I also had to look up some literatures and research findings that relate to the implementation about TPACK framework for science subject.
Second, by participating in the process of designing TPACK professional development program I inferred that as an educational designer I inferred that is very imperative to consider about context or learning environments. I inferred that is not easy to fit the general framework of TPACK into our chosen context. As aforementioned, Pekanbaru, Riau-Indonesia is chose to become a locus where the TPACK professional development would be took place. In this phase, I attained that conducting context analysis is really important to be highly-considered by an educational designer. As an educational designer I have to get deeper understanding about context where the TPACK professional development program will be conducted. It because I attained that different context should have different educational treatment in a professional development or educational program. For instance, in Indonesian context, it seems not really appropriate if I design professional development program for integrating technology by using online tools in remote area or districts. It because Indonesia still has limited internet access and bandwidth in most of area or districts. Thus, I inferred that integrating technology in offline-based is kind of appropriate solution in this local context. Furthermore, time allocating in this TPACK professional development program also need to be considered properly. Conducting this program in working days is not a good decision with this context since teachers have to teach from the morning until the late afternoon. Based on my context analysis, conducting this TPACK professional development during the weekend is kind of appropriate decision. Surely, it would not work in most of countries conducting the program during the weekend. However, I learned that in Indonesian context, holding professional development program during the weekend is a common activity. In brief, as an educational designer, conducting context analysis is an imperative step before going further into more detail step in designing this professional development program.
Third, as an educational designer, I earned that in the process of designing TPACK professional development program considering the learners or participants is a must. I have to know level of prior knowledge that teachers—as participants in this program—already attained. Moreover, I need to know their educational and professional background. Indeed, I also need to know their level of knowledge in using technology for their classes. I inferred that as an educational designer by knowing that information about the teachers, I could adjust appropriate TPACK professional development program for them. Appropriate here means that the program meets the objectives of TPACK professional development program and also in good proportion for teachers’ knowledge—not too low or not too high expectation. In this TPACK professional development program I had to design an appropriate program for 30 teachers in Tampan District, Pekanbaru-Riau, Indonesia. They are natural science teachers from 10 elementary schools. Most of them have attained Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Education. However, they are still having lack skill and knowledge in educational technology. Thus, it becomes another challenge for me as an educational in a team to design proper professional development program for them.
Fourth, deciding appropriate content for TPACK professional development program is the hardest part for me. Through this phase, I really attained new insight in designing professional development program. Initially, I wondered that choosing content for TPACK professional development program is a simple part of this process. It was wrong. Designing appropriate content for TPACK professional development program really need extra attention. This process really depends with previous steps in identifying needs, learners, and contexts of the TPACK professional development program. As an educational designer I inferred that the content in the TPACK professional development should consider what is the main objective or the problem that have to be solved with this program. Then, as I mentioned before that context of the TPACK professional development program—directly or indirectly—would give any influence to the content that will be provided in this professional development program. Furthermore, in designing professional development content, I have to consider the condition or the capacity of teachers as participants of this program. In the process of choosing appropriate content for this professional development program, at least we revised our ideas twice. However, this process made me attained new insight in formulating and designing appropriate content within TPACK framework. I also affirmed that brainstorming with other colleagues is really helpful for me to attain fresh idea. In general the content of this TPACK professional development program are divided into 3 phases; workshop, implementation, and up-scaling. We decided to promote natural science subject by using collaborative problem solving approaches that supported by interactive slides in Microsoft PowerPoint. Since my blog now is about my reflection in this process, I would not provide detail explanation about that content that I already stated on the proposal of this project. However, if you are interesting with this topic in detail, I would post another blog about this project.
How did I infer my professional experience as an educational designer by working with TPACK?
In designing TPACK professional development program, as an educational designer surely I had to work with the framework of TPACK itself. I could not deny that it was my first time working with TPACK framework. TPACK framework was freshly new for me. I did not know about that concept when I was studying for my bachelor in Indonesia. At the first time I also felt so curious about TPACK framework. I felt curios how TPACK framework could enhance teaching and learning process by integrating technology in pedagogical and content aspects. Furthermore, I also curios whether TPACK framework could be implemented in different context. I realized that in TPACK model, context based became a determinant aspect as well. However, one thing that made me so curios was whether TPACK framework could be conducted appropriately in a context with limited technological supports, such as a country with limited internet supports or information and communication technology facilities.
After getting involved in a team in designing TPACK professional development program and working with TPACK framework itself, I really attained new insight about TPACK framework. I attained that TPACK easy to ‘say’ but it is difficult to be implemented perfectly. However, it does not mean that TPACK framework is not possible to be implemented in appropriately. By working with TPACK framework, I attained that TPACK really has clear obvious elements that interrelate among other elements. TPACK has three elements (technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge) that have to be considered in formulating and designing teaching and learning strategy that is based on TPACK framework. I inferred that as an educational designer who is working with TPACK framework, considering three elements in TPACK framework could not be conducted separately. For instance, as an educational designer if I need to design a professional development program or a lesson about natural science at elementary level, I have to consider what is the content of that subject that is need to be delivered in line with pedagogical approaches that will be utilized and educational technology that should support that content and pedagogical approach. Thus, it is really clear for me that working with TPACK framework is not an easy job but it is really effective since as an educational designer I had to consider three main elements in teaching and learning process in integrative way. Moreover, I inferred that working with TPACK is not only how to mix those three elements, but also how to integrate it into an integrative design of TPACK framework. In addition, I also attained those three elements within TPACK framework could be adjusted with different context in different situation and condition. It really made me ‘comfort; that TPACK model is not only owned by schools or countries with high-end facilities in ICT, but also for schools or countries with limited ICT support.
How teachers could be stimulated to integrate technology following TPACK professional development program?
Fulan (2007) affirmed that “educational change depends on what teachers do and think—it’s as simple an as complex as that”. That statement is really appropriate with the situation of integrating technology in classroom. The change of teaching and learning process by integrating technology at classroom mostly dependent with teachers do and think. Thus, teachers have to be stimulated regularly in order to integrate technology in classroom. The main point is how to integrate it, not only use it as teaching tool. Teachers have to integrate it with particular pedagogical approach in specific subject content, Stimulating teachers to integrate technology in their teaching process within TPACK framework is not an instant process.
I presumed that there are three ways that have to be considered in order to stimulate teachers in integrating technology in classroom. First, an important thing and fundamental step is how to enhance teacher beliefs in integrating technology into their teaching process. Teachers should be sure that integrating technology in their teaching strategies for specific content is really useful and helpful for their teaching effectiveness. Teachers should be encouraged not only use technology, but also be promoted to integrate it into their teaching activities. Teachers should know that they are the central point of this change. They should be motivated that they play important role in integrating technology at classroom.
Second, I argued that support from school leadership could be another factor that stimulates teachers to integrate technology in classroom. School leadership should provide wide opportunity to teachers in developing their capacity and quality to integrate technology at classroom within TPACK framework by participating teachers into a professional development program. School leaders also should give policy support which enables teachers to implement and integrate technology appropriately. Moreover, most important thing that could be conducted by school leaders is by providing eligible technology facilities that makes teachers feel stimulated to integrate it with their pedagogical approaches in particular subject.
Third, conducting regular teachers meeting is another good idea to stimulate teachers in integrating technology into their teaching activities. Regular meeting here means that teachers should have gathering with other teachers from different school to share their ideas, experiences, and problems in integrating technology within TPACK framework. By sharing ideas, experiences and problems in peer-discussion teacher would attain better insight about integrating TPACK framework. Thus, with this regular meeting teachers are expected being stimulated to integrated technology into their teaching activities appropriately?
Why should I change my statement?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I have to revise my statement. Based, on my personal reflection in designing TPACK professional development program I attained that technology is not only supporting tool that support teaching and learning process. Technology could be a vital element that enhances the effectiveness of teaching and learning process if teachers could integrate it appropriately. Integrating technology with pedagogical approach in particular subject does not mean that teachers or schools should provide high-end and marvellous technical facilities. It can be adjusted with teachers and schools condition. Thus, I affirmed that there are wide possibilities in integrating technology within TPACK framework at classroom. Yes, I have to re-state that technology is not only tools for supporting teaching and learning process, but it also can be a central focus of teaching and learning process itself. So, are you teachers with technophobia? Starting now I suggest you to make ‘a close relationship’ with technology. Then, we will see how technology changes education. Have a nice day with education and technology. :)
Fullan, M. (2007). The new meaning of educational change (4th Ed.). New York: Teachers College Press,.
Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A new framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054.
Smith, P. L., & Ragan, T. J. (2005). Instructional design. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.