Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Week 2 PLN: Reflection on TPACK

So week 2 is all about TPACK. This week I decided to watch the videos and read the articles before checking out our blog prompt. After watching and reading, the common denominator between them all was TPACK so I could only assume that our blog reflection would be about it, too. Well, I was right, however, when I read the assignment, I felt stuck! So the first thing I did was go to my new best friend, Twitter! I typed in both of the presenters, Punya Mishra and Matthew J. Koehler, from the "Teaching Creatively: Teachers as Designers of Technology, Content, and Pedagogy" video we watched. Side note: This one was my favorite! If you have not watched it and are interested in learning more about TPACK, check out the presentation below! They present the material in a very entertaining way.


Anyways, when I went to Twitter, I found both presenters.

When I was looking at tweets from Matthew Koehler I came across this video he found that introduces TPACK in a fun way.

My next search on Twitter was #TPACK where I found another quick, useful video explaining TPACK.

At this point in my search, I felt like I was finally ready to respond to the assignment prompts.

When introducing new tools into the classroom, what questions should you consider before implementation (technical, administrative, pedagogical, other)?

When integrating new tools in the classroom, I think there are a variety of questions you need to ask yourself before you begin:
  • How will this help my students?
  • Is this enhancing students' learning or simply replacing my instruction in a fancy way?
  • What is the main goal of the lesson?
  • Is this tool meeting and supporting the main goal of the lesson?
  • Will students need modeling and support before using this tool?
  • Have students turned in a technology permission slip and acceptable use policy form?
  • Are students allowed to post pictures/audio of themselves (if needed)?

I recently joined the ILA (International Literacy Association) and received my first issue of "Literacy Today" this week. When flipping through, I found an article called "Digital Tools for Inclusivity." At the end of this article were the following questions for teachers to consider when choosing digital tools (the timing of receiving this article couldn't have been more perfect, right?!):
"How can I naturalize the use of digital tools?
 Is this tool necessary and beneficial?
 How does this tool help to develop fluency and analytical skills?
 How does this tool position my students as producers of knowledge?" (Price-Dennis &  Schlessinger, 2016, p. 31)
The article also ended with the following quote that I think is important for teachers to remember.
"...we want to stress that apps cannot do all of the work. Good teaching is always key." (Price-Dennis & Schlessinger, 2016, p. 31)
I like that quote because when we think of TPACK, technology is a huge part. However, I can see how teachers could easily become consumed with trying to incorporate the newest and greatest technology that they begin to lose focus of the CK and PK.

The above quotes came from the following source:
Price-Dennis, D., & Schlessinger, S. L. (2016, January/February). Digital Tools for Inclusivity. Literacy Today, 30-31.

What are some of the positive attributes as well as potential barriers regarding the introduction of tools in the classroom?

Positive Attributes
  • Engaging
  • Many ways to differentiate
  • Exponential amount of resources
  • Teaches 21st Century skills
  • Student-centered
  • Increased motivation
  • Students have more control over the information they choose to read
  • Enhancement of problem-solving and higher-order thinking due to students being able to search the Internet, evaluate their findings, and apply it to their problems
  • Word-processing programs and the Internet give immediate feedback and help to the mechanics of writing and word usage enabling students to have a more positive attitude towards writing
Potential Barriers
  • Lack of Teacher Training
  • Lack of Resources/Funding (Technology can be expensive, and once you have the technology many of the resources also cost money.)
  • There are so many options it can be hard to know which resource will work best for each lesson, student, levels, etc.

Many of the above attributes and barriers were found from our class reading "Integrating Technology in the Classroom" by Nada Salem Abisamra and the following Prezi found in my TPACK search.

How will you choose technologies that enhance the teaching approaches for a lesson when you are in your own classroom?
  • When choosing technology to incorporate into my lessons, I want to make sure that it is engaging for the students. However, I need to remember that just because it is engaging doesn't mean it is going to enhance and extend student learning. Therefore, I also need to make sure that the technology truly is meeting the goals of the lesson and continues to support and deepen students' knowledge on the lesson topic. I also want to look for technology to incorporate that I know will be useful to students in the "real world" (post-school and work force).

After learning about TPACK, what questions do you have and how do you think you can begin to answer them?
  • While searching about TPACK I saw many comments being made about pedagogy and content being more important than or being the driving factors for the technology. Do you think any of these are more important than the other or do you think they should all be viewed equally (one is not more important than the other)?
I feel like I can begin finding this out for myself by incorporating them in my classroom and make sure I am meeting all three knowledges (CK, PK, and TK) in a manner that is beneficial to the students. It seems to me that it will take some practice and research to find that sweet spot where all three are working in harmony together to bring the most success into the classroom.

  • Can there be too much technology embedded into a school day?
My first instinct is maybe not if it is being used correctly. I feel that you need to find the balance in your classroom where the students are not doing every technological aspect independently because they still need to learn how to collaborate and socialize with others.

  • In my 2nd grade classroom the technology is limited. Just this year we got an Epson BrightLink. I have 4 classroom computers and twice a week our class has access to the school computer lab for 40 minutes. I try to integrate technology as much as I can, but find it challenging due to the lack of resources. What are some ways I can utilize what I have to incorporate more of the TK aspect of TPACK into my classroom?
One way I have began to add more technology into my classroom is by incorporating Kidblogs, PowerPoints, and WebQuests into my classroom. The biggest issue I have had is finding enough time to enable students to work and finish their projects in a timely manner.  The other issue is money. Many resources I come across, like Kidblog (I am currently using a free trial), costs money.

Final Thoughts
All in all, I feel that the TPACK model really makes sense to me and is something that I have already been working towards without even knowing it. Our science and social studies curriculum/resources are becoming very outdated and tend to not match the current standards anymore. Also, the textbooks can be very boring for students. Therefore, not only have I been trying to find resources to teach the standards not covered in our curriculum, I have also been trying to make what I find more engaging for my students. One of the ways I have been doing this is through finding books at the library and technology resources. I have always used websites and videos (tend to be teacher-led), but this year I tried out WebQuest and PowerPoint activities (more student-centered) that also went along with classroom experiments. The level of engagement and motivation in my class went up like crazy. Weeks after these activities, students are still talking about the topics we learned about and making connections to them. I feel like those activities were part of TPACK and I'm on the right track in my teaching, but I know after reading and watching these videos there is so much more I can do in all subject areas.

Finally, I leave you with two things:

1. This cool graphic I found!

2. The TPACK image because I feel you can't discuss TPACK without referencing it.

Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by

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