Over the years, the evolution of mankind has created a consistently intensifying demand for incorporating better techniques for imparting knowledge. We saw the use of chalk and board for the longest time in history as a teaching medium. In the 21st century, we ventured into using the power of technology to facilitate this teaching better with computers. As time passed, computers became faster, lighter, and more compact. The widespread adoption of the internet across the world led to faster adoption of PC technology. Due to the pandemic, the world witnessed a fast-forward to moving digital for all kinds of transactions. But as much as technology is important to be implemented in a classroom, human intervention, which is the essence of a learning environment in a classroom, cannot be taken away.
The TPACK Framework
TPACK full form is Technology, Pedagogical, And Content Knowledge. To facilitate an effective learning experience, there was a need for a rock-solid framework that would ensure its effectiveness. In 2006, Punya Mishra and Matthew Kohler came up with the revolutionary TPACK framework, which focused on these areas to improve the adaptability and impact of technology in the education space. The TPACK framework focuses on technology knowledge(TK), content knowledge(CK), and pedagogical knowledge(PK) to solve the diverse range of problems teachers face in the classroom implementing technology.
By individually segregating these three types of knowledge, the TPACK framework focuses on creating the right amalgamation of the content that is being taught along with how the instructor delivers the content to the students. This is crucial because the technology that is being implemented needs to effectively deliver the content with the right delivery to enhance the student's understanding of the subject.
As per the TPACK model, specific tools consisting of hardware, software, and certain applications, if used correctly, can ensure a strong mechanism in place for effective learning. The TPACK technology framework is often compared with the SAMR model, but they differ drastically in scope. To give some context, SAMR is used to give a bird's eye view of the degree of the technology implemented. Since SAMR is considered overly simple, it does not cover many aspects in depth. TPACK model plugs this gap by briefly describing a roadmap to implementing the technology in the classroom. In the TPACK framework, the three types of knowledge theories, TK, PK, and CK, can be combined in different permutations and combinations as follows:
Technological and Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK)
It elaborates on the relationship between different technological tools along with the pedagogical methodologies that go along with them. This combination ensures that by using technology, how effectively teachers can simplify the subject and effectively deliver it to the students.
Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (PCK)
It elaborates on the relationship between the different pedagogical methodologies and the specific learning objectives linked with them. This combination focuses on how teaching methods can be tailored to achieve specific outcomes. This ensures maximum effectiveness in the classroom. This combination discusses how the technology impacts the content objectives. For example, we can consider how cursive handwriting was an essential part of the school curriculum. But as we saw the rise of computers, the need to learn cursive handwriting diminished and everything turned into digital assignments.
Technological Content Knowledge (TCK)
It elaborates on the convergence between technological tools and learning objectives.
A combination of this finally results in TPACK, which takes into consideration the relationship among all three areas and the education professionals working in this area.
How did TPACK come into existence?
This theory was developed by Mishra and Kohler in 2006 at the Michigan State University to satiate the need for a self-sufficient theory that will address all concerns regarding the integration of tech in the classroom. During their research, Mishra and Kohler observed a major pain point that technology was often kept aloof from the content and pedagogy in the classroom. To understand this further, they realized that the problem was a lack of awareness. Some more issues that they observed were:
- Constantly changing technology and the difficulties that the teachers faced while catching up with it.
- The understanding gap between the industry and the product development. The mismatch results in the product being designed to facilitate business and not education.
- A teacher can often understand the intellectual capability of the classroom and alter their teaching methods, but the same cannot happen for an instructional video. The video will remain the same, irrespective of the intellectual ability of the student watching the video.
- If the teacher is not comfortable enough with the technology, the teaching session becomes more about the technology rather than the content and pedagogy.
Integrating the TPACK Framework Into the Classroom
Let us consider using the TPACK framework to teach a trigonometry lesson in the classroom. To execute this framework, we will have to ensure the following parameters in our lesson planning.
- Content Knowledge (CK) : The instructor needs to have a strong knowledge of the content that is to be delivered, along with specific learning objectives in mind. The instructor needs to have an in-depth understanding of trigonometry.
- Pedagogical Knowledge (PK): The instructor needs to understand the intellectual capabilities and environment of the classroom. Using this, they should be able to effectively tailor the content and follow the best practices for delivery.
- Technological Knowledge (TK): The instructor should be aware of all the digital tools available to them and what tools to be used for teaching technically and logically involved topics like trigonometry. For this lesson, the students need to be able to visualize concepts and understand the logical reasoning behind the formulas for strong retention.
Since its inception, the TPACK theory has garnered views from all across the world and is often looked up to as a reference for both professional and research purposes. In this way, the TPACK framework proves to be a practical solution to bridge the gaps in the implementation of EdTechs in the teaching process.
Suggested Read - Importance of Project Work in School