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The TPACK framework is a powerful image for representing the complex interplay of the three types of knowledge that are necessary for effective teaching within today's classroom. Developed by Misha and Koehler in 2006, it was an inspired leap into the 21st century for educational theory. By adding the idea of technology as a third element in Lee Schulman’s model of pedagogical knowledge vs. content knowledge, Misha and Koehler identified a crucial component of teaching in the 21st century: the idea of digitally literacy. However, the concept of TPACK was still incomplete, for without the addition of the idea of "context" as represented by the larger dotted circle, the idea of the culturally competent teacher who had a deep understanding of the students they were teaching was not represented by the TPACK framework.

One could argue that knowledge of the student and cultural aspects of the learning environment were a subset of Pedagogy- but by making the student
themselves merely a footnote in the teaching framework you risk losing sight of the most important aspect of the educational process: the student-teacher relationship.

Learning is a social-emotional act, and if we develop a model of educational theory that ignores that, then we have created an educational theory that “looks good on paper” but does not translate to the real world.  Yes, we want our teachers to be masters of Pedagogical Knowledge. We want them to be well versed in effective classroom strategies, application of learning theory, differentiation techniques, and grading practices that rely on informative feedback. At the same time we want them to be Masters of the Content Knowledge they are teaching, and Masters of the Information Technologies of the 21st century that are available to enhance classroom learning in so many ways. Yet, even when we find a teacher who is functioning at the intersection of the original TPACK model, a teacher who is focused on providing their students essential academic content by applying good learning theory supported by modern technological tools, if they are missing the essential component being able to meet their student’s where they are and form a motivational student-teacher relationship, all their TPAC Knowledge will be for naught.

Fortunately, I am not alone in thinking this, for when searching online for more information about TPACK, I came across the official TPACK site, and was happy to see that the current model used to represent TPACK does indeed include the idea of “context”. This lead me to search for the authors of this additional component, in hope that I would find some interesting articles about the recognition of the importance of context in educational theory. While I was not able to find any specific reference to when “context” was added to the TPACK, it does seem as if the addition came from further work by Misha and Koeler.

All in all, I think the original TPACK framework was an inspired leap into the 21st century, and with the addition of the understanding of the deep importance that knowledge of context contributes the development of an effective student-teacher relationship, I think the TPACK framework offers a very useful model of educational theory for today’s teachers.

For more information about TPACK:
University of Canberra- Learn On Line


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