Matt Townsley sent me an email this morning informing me about a TPACK sighting in THE journal. Well… actually it’s a journal whose title is THE journal! Does that make sense?

Anyway, T.H.E. Journal (Transforming Education Through Technology) has an article by Dian Schaffhauser titled 21st Century Teaching: Which Came First – The Technology or the Pedagogy? which mentions the TPACK framework within the context of teacher education and teacher professional development. Also quoted in the article are two of my most respected colleagues and friends, Glen Bull from University of Virginia and Ann Thompson from Iowa State University. Here is a key quote:

“The formal expression of this is ‘technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK),'” Bull says. “TPACK says that you have to know three things to use technology well. You first have to know the content. It’s going to be hard to teach calculus if you don’t know calculus yourself. You also need to know the pedagogy associated with that content– the instructional strategies that will be effective. Finally, you need to know the innovation or technology that you’re going to then use.”

Math teachers, he explains, might need to know how to integrate The Geometer’s Sketchpad into lessons. “If you were in language arts, you might need to learn about digital storytelling. In social studies, you’d learn about the use of primary source documents at the Library of Congress. It’s grounded in the subject.”

Iowa State’s education program also adheres to the TPACK approach, which Thompson says is a dramatic change from earlier methods that focused on the tool, not the instruction. “When we first started this venture, a lot of what we did was teaching them how to do things like use a spreadsheet,” she says. “What TPACK does is help to get us away from emphasizing technology.

“There’s very little emphasis on how to blog, how to create a wiki, how to create a digital story. The emphasis now is on how to use storytelling in a classroom situation, how to create a lesson where students are using blogging in a classroom.”