Technology, Pedagogy, And Content Knowledge
Technology is tool we use to convey our knowledge in the classroom. This could include, from simplicity to complexity, highlighters, projection devices, and internet applications.
As teachers, we follow some kind of pedagogy, our method and practice of teaching. Our "best practices," students expectations, and classroom management skills come from our personal definition of pedagogy.
Content is our subject area. This is the facts, figures and concepts we feel are important to convey to our students.
Prior to TPACK, there was PCK, which "exists at the intersection of Content and Pedagogy" (Shulman, 1986). Technology (pencils, paper, and projection tools), though considered important, were inconsequential to the definition at that time. With the advent of the many computer-based technologies used by individuals, businesses, and now schools, we must talk about TPACK.
Here is a Venn diagram which best describes TPACK for me:
Image from TPACK.org.
Neither of the three areas of knowledge alone will result in great teaching. For example, a person can have incredible content knowledge and be a expert in his field. Without solid teaching skills (pedagogy) he will be unable to help others learn. Just because a person is a technology whiz does not mean she can teach a classroom full of students. The areas of knowledge must be thougthfully blended in order to maximize a student's learning experience.
Thoughtfully blending Technology, Pedagogy, and Content Knowledge is not simple. Teachers who use TPACK successfully often do so using trial and error. The end result is authentic learning. Students are able to use creativity and interpretation. They are engaged.
Koehler, M.J. & Mishra, P. (2008). Handbook of Technological Pedigogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) for Educators. Taylor and Frances.
Mishra, P. & Koehler, M.J. (2006). Technolocical and pedagogical content knowledge; A framework for integrating technology in teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record 108(6).
Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4-14.