TPACK, or Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge, is a framework for the integration of technology in the classroom. The TPACK framework is a helpful guide to providing students with a high-quality educational experience, when technology is incorporated in the classroom.
Though its history is difficult to track, TPACK seems to have first been presented in research written by Punya Mishra and Matthew J. Koehler in 2006, and has since evolved into the framework teachers use today.
TPACK identifies three forms of knowledge:
- Technological Knowledge: Knowledge about technology, including thinking about and working with technology, tools, and resources.
- Pedagogical Knowledge: Knowledge about pedagogy, including practices or methods of teaching and learning.
- Content Knowledge: Knowledge about the content or subject area to be learned or taught.
The TPACK approach does not view these knowledge areas in isolation. Instead, the framework emphasizes the intersections of these knowledge areas, as seen on the diagram:
- Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK)
- Technological Content Knowledge (TCK)
- Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK)
- Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)
In the center of the diagram, you will see TPACK, which is the model for how to teach with technology.
TPACK therefore gives teachers a framework to combine their knowledge of technology, pedagogy, and content for an innovative approach to teaching and learning.
TPACK vs. SAMR
In better understanding how teachers can use TPACK as a guide, it is best to look at TPACK in contrast to the SAMR model. For more information about the SAMR model, visit my recent blog post.
Though at first glance TPACK and SAMR seem to have similarities, the two models are actually quite different.
SAMR – which stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition – is best for providing a high-level view of technology integration in the classroom. SAMR is simple. The issue with SAMR, however, is that it might be overly simple.
TPACK does not treat technology as separate from teaching and learning. Instead, TPACK incorporates the interdisciplinary nature of pedagogy, content, and technology.
As we teach, we combine our knowledge of the content (the material or subject we are teaching) with our knowledge of pedagogy (how to teach). As technology becomes increasingly more ubiquitous in the classroom, we also have to add our knowledge of technology into the mix: combining content, pedagogical, and technological knowledge.
The TPACK Model: Benefits and Drawbacks
With all theories and models, there are benefits and drawbacks to TPACK.
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of TPACK is that it allows teachers to examine and reflect on their practice and how technology is integrated in the classroom (SAMR does the same).
TPACK also recognizes the critical intersection between content, pedagogy, and tech. The reality is that tech isn’t going to transform our classrooms or solve our problems if it is viewed in isolation. Transformation really occurs when tech is viewed in relation to teaching and learning.
Unlike the SAMR model, which is often viewed as too simple, TPACK has been viewed as too complex by some educators. Similarly, some educators also believe that TPACK might not be practically useful.
At the end of the day…
TPACK is a framework that can be effective in guiding teachers to incorporate technology into teaching and learning in meaningful ways. TPACK views tech integration as the intersection of knowledge areas – pedagogy, content, and technology. Consider using this framework as you continue to develop your own personal philosophy around technology in your classroom.
The resources below helped inspire this blog post. Check them out for more information on TPACK.