Shulman (1986) introduced the term pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), because he observed that in educational research pedagogy and content were always dealt with separately. According to him, pedagogy and content should to be combined by a teacher to teach well, and therefore pedagogical content knowledge was needed. Teachers should know about the content of the topic they teach, and about pedagogies that can be used to teach this content. When combined, it means that teachers need to know what pedagogy fits well with what kind of content and in what situation. Shulman (1986) also considered curricular knowledge, by which he meant knowledge of the materials (books, software, films, etc.) to be used during a lesson. This knowledge supports the PCK.
|Figure 1 The TPACK-model, from Koehler and Mishra (2009)|
The technological knowledge (TK), pedagogical knowledge (PK) and content knowledge (CK) are already explained. In the model several combinations of these three knowledge kinds can be observed. Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) is the one proposed by Shulman (1986), the basis of this model. Technological content knowledge (TCK) refers to knowledge about which technology fits with what kind of content, how to adapt technology to content, how to represent and manipulate content using a technology (Koehler & Mishra, 2009). The technological pedagogical knowledge (TPK) means that the teacher is aware of the pedagogical affordances and constraints of a range of technologies, what technologies are compatible with what pedagogies (Koehler & Mishra, 2009).
TPACK is an emergent form of knowledge that goes beyond all three core components: content, pedagogy and technology (Koehler & Mishra, 2009). These three components should not be seen as isolated, but as a system, in which complex relations among them exist. Understanding of these relations means TPACK.
Integration of technology into schools means a change in what teachers need to know and do (Strudler & Hearrington, 2008). Because new technologies seem to be protean, unstable and opaque they confront teachers with new challenges (Koehler & Mishra, 2009). The quick developments in technology seem to be the main problem for integrating ICT in schools, because teachers need time to adapt to it (Strudler & Hearrington, 2008).
In my opinion the TPACK-model provides a framework for professional development of teachers. The model shows how technology, pedagogy and content interrelate with each other. Zhao and Frank (2003) provide and ecological perspective of integration of technology into schools. Introducing new species, whether intentional or unintentional, affects the equilibrium, or homeostasis, of an ecosystem. In their view technology uses are a species that invades the ecosystem of a school. The invading species may interact with one or more existing species (students, teachers, etc.). The ecological perspective shows us that technology and schools both need to go through a process of variation and selection to acquire new properties: a process of integration, which needs to be provided by two sides. Technology needs to adapt to the school ecosystem, but the school also needs to change. This is all very similar to the metaphor of the curricular spider web, provided by Van den Akker (2003): when changing one element in a curriculum, everything moves with it. So when changing technology, everything else changes. Technology can be seen as a pedagogic strategy and when implementing it, it would alter the strategy teachers use (see here), which is also in line with the TPACK-model, by Koehler and Mishra (2009), who propose that technological knowledge is needed in combination with pedagogical and content knowledge: this implies that when changing the technology, a teacher should also adapt pedagogy and content to it.
The blue line around the model (see Figure 1) actually shows the importance of context: when something changes, everything else has to change with it. It is one whole. Teachers who understand the relationships between the three compontent of the model, will be able to adapt to a new situation faster than other teachers, and this is how this model can help in the integration of technology into schools.
Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70.
Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4-14.
Strudler, N., & Hearrington, D. (2008). Quality support for ICT in schools. In J. Voogt & G. Knezek (eds.), International handbook of information technology in primary and secondary education (pp. 579-596).
Van den Akker, J. (2003). Curriculum perspectives: An introduction. In J. van den Akker, W. Kuiper, & U Hameyer, Curriculum landscapes and trends (pp. 1-10). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Zhao, Y., & Frank, K. A. (2003). Factors affecting technology uses in schools: An ecological perspective. Americal Educational Research Journal, 40(4), 807-840.