Thursday, April 4, 2013

Teaching Through Technology

I spent the day today at the Iowa 1:1 Conference. Interesting to meet up with several hundred (maybe a thousand?) educators thinking about teaching through technology. I have a lot of thoughts rolling around in my head right now...especially about how a 1:1 program would work in Higher Ed.

One of my biggest questions is about how to teach the teachers for the realities of teaching through technology.

There's a great model for talking about teaching through technology--it gets at how teachers can and should think about this. It's abbreviated TPACK--which stands for Technology, Pedagogy, and Content Knowledge. As a teacher educator, I've been thinking a lot about the intersection of pedagogy (how to teach) and content knowledge (what to teach). And as a technophile and former Technology Coordinator, I've also thought a lot about technology in education. But this model looks at the coordination of all three of these. I'm thinking about this because I'm going to be teaching a masters-level course in Teaching and Learning with Technology this summer, and I'd like to use the TPACK model as a part of the class.

So it was really exciting for me to see a session with the TPACK acronym in the title. I really wanted to get some practical examples of how teachers are teaching through technology. The presenters were really good--practicing teachers who are committed to ongoing professional development in regard to technology and adept at engaging their students with great tech tools for content delivery and collaboration. And they did talk about TPACK--they shared a Venn diagram I have seen before to illustrate what TPACK is all about.

But the thing is, while they shared about 20 examples of tech tools they use with students, they really didn't explain how TPACK works in these situations. Great tools, probably very engaging, very likely key elements for conveying content...but I was left wondering, "How?" How does the technology intersect with the pedagogy? How does the technology connect the content with the students? I left the session feeling like there was an implicit that this would just "happen."

Teachers in the 21st Century certainly still need content knowledge. And they definitely still need to know how to teach. And I would argue that they need to have a level of tech savvy. But how these all come together? I think we need to be more deliberate about explaining this connection.

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  1. One of the main ways I use technology, such as iPad apps, in my classroom is through assessment projects. I teach first grade, and still believe that there is no replacement for books, anchor charts, guided practice, small groups and more, but love how I am able to let students "show" me what knowledge they have gained using different product apps like My Story, animator apps, even KidsDoodle. I think we have to find a balance between teaching content and teaching technology at the same time. While I was getting my masters in library science, I came to the realization that students really learn technology best when it is smoothly incorporated into the content they are learning.
    I will be doing some research on the TPACK model too! Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the feedback! Great ideas for apps (the tech) that help students interact with the content. Your comment about finding balance between content and tech makes me think that you're working on integrating your pedagogy too--TPACK in action! :-)