Not to brag, but educators know things. Like how to teach content. And how to turn people into teachers. We’ve known this for while. And because we are good at it, we keep doing it. In fact, we rarely deviate from the pattern from this successful pattern. Maybe that is how we find ourselves here. Here, where some educators do not have sufficient Technological Knowledge of TPACK.
CK & PK
The things which teachers learn in college are invaluable. Content Knowledge and Pedagogical Knowledge are crucial elements of the quality educator. That has not changed in our country in the past centuries. But there is a relatively new knowledge which can amplify the other two areas we learn about in teacher preparation. Technological Knowledge is both an amplifier of teaching and learning while also a lens to view the other two knowledges.
We find ourselves where educators miss the opportunity of applying/including/learning about the potential of Technological Knowledge within classrooms. Teachers are not making this decision in isolation or without subtle cues from their organizations. Technology has chronologically been an “add-on” to both the traditional education of educators and practicing teachers. Those in charge of teacher education often do not have expert staff who integrate technology into teacher preparation. Likewise, K12 organizations may have added an Instructional Technology department, but it is often disjointed and not integrated into the professional learning culture of the larger K12 organization.
TPACK (Mishra & Koehler) is a framework or a model for the presence, the balance, the overlapping domains of Content knowledge, Pedagogical knowledge , and Technological knowledge. The interesting intersections, or avoidances of the intersections, can help define a great many classroom practices. You probably read my post on the perils of ignoring the balance within TPACK. But you may not have read my post of the journeys of our current leaders and how they deal with Technological knowledge. Both are good reads to learn more about TPACK and how it already exists, or does not, in your current educational organization.
The most important place to find TPACK is in the classroom, but where else should we expect to see TPACK represented? I challenge you to look for TPACK within your school or district organizational chart.
TPACK in the Org Chart
The presence of TPACK in the classrooms is a prerequisite to use technology as an amplifier of instruction. That instruction in turn can promote deeper learning in students. Yet, how do teachers know how to use technology to amplify their teaching? How do teachers know they are expected to use technology, if TPACK is not first promoted in the larger organizational chart of their employer?
Consider your school/district’s organization chart – look at the most important departments/positions and consider how are they equally promoting Technological Knowledge within you organization? Or how could they?
Within your Human Resources department find the Technological Knowledge education provided to new hires. Look for questions asked of prospective personnel. How are potential hires screened for all three knowledges and assessed against each other?
Within your Professional Learning department find the technological models and explicit training provided to teachers in advance of Pedagogical/Content. Look for samples of professional learning where TK is modelled and teachers experience the benefits as learners. Are they partnering with the Technology or Instructional Technology department to answer: Which tools allow the teacher to teach more efficiently and students to more efficiently learn?
Within your Technology department find the connections to older, more established departments. What are the bonds between those departments and are they growing or withering? Does your student information system (SIS), likely the longest technology available to teachers, promote or discourage the use of other amplifying products?
Within your school administration where is the continual refresh of not just content and pedagogy, but technology knowledge. What systems are in place for the dissemination of new technologies and the best practices which go along with those technologies? DO you have colleagues who you goto for Technological Knowledge? Are they part of the formal school administration, or at least tapped by the administration to educate the staff on Technological Knowledge?
Within the student body of your school, how is the school preparing students across grade levels and subjects to participate in content and the process of learning most efficiently? Are students educated about social media, basic word processing skills, are students provided with email/cloud storage? And what does the scope and sequence look like for the start of their Technological Knowledge?
Where is that balance in your school or district org chart?