Notes from Keynote on TPACK

Thinking Creatively: Teachers as Designers of Technology, Pedagogy, and Content (TPACK)
Punya Mishra and Matthew J. Koehler, Michigan State University

  • Three points to the refrain
    • Teaching with technology is a wicked problem
    • Wicked problems need creative solutions
    • Teachers want to create solutions
  • Teaching
    • It is messy: Teaching is always “about something” — the content
    • Yet every discipline is messy, too — the canon, phonics vs whole language
    • PCK from Shulman — content and teaching need to be transformed together
    • Learning to Think by Janet Donald
    • But, where is technology? — Too much for teachers to keep up with rapid change
    • Instead, we argue for developing a thoughtful and playful attitude towards dealing with the new media ecology
    • Take, for instance, the iPhone
      • Lots of software, highly unstable, opaque
    • Yet, information technology changes everything
      • Technology and content — the move from orality to writing (Plato “writing will implant forgetfulness)
      • Victor Hugo — the book will destroy the cathedral because people don’t have to go to a place to get knowledge
      • Technology changes practice and societies
    • Pedagogy and technology
      • Combine Google with open courseware and one laptop per child, and we are looking at a fundamental shift in learning and human culture
      • We teach using Moodle, but we worry about the “I agree” phenomenon where students do not put in their own ideas
      • Moodle prevents you from seeing other postings before you post your own
      • Teaching two sections of the same course — one in Moodle, one in Facebook — studying how this changes the social and educational discourse
    • Context: pedagogy, technology, and content work in a context
      • One laptop per child compared to a computer lab children visit once a week
      • Firewalls
    • To sum up — it is complicated with different contexts and no stopping rule
      • Solutions are not right or wrong, but good or bad that are unique and context dependent (and generate new problems)
      • Teaching with technology is wicked and typical solutions don’t work
  • Creative solutions
    • How do we survive in a context of change?
    • Trindadian guppy — flexible reproductive strategy with fewer babies in good times, lots of babies in bad times
    • In a world characterized by change, the best idea is to have lots of creative ideas for the new media ecology
      • What is creative?
        • I know it when I see it; easy to recognize, hard to define
        • Fantastic social innovation with educational payoff in the future — microcredit loans
        • Getting my son interested in reading by doing the March Madness brackets — he reads the newspaper every morning
    • What is creative
      • It is novel and unique in a useful way
      • It is effective
      • It is whole — complete and elegant
    • When you think about wicked problems, you need to have a “new” (novel, effective, and whole) idea
      • What does creativity have to do with it? A variation on a theme
        • Rubik’s Cube examples; tweaked to “Double Maze” by Scott Kim
      • We live in a new media ecology where standard approaches do not work
    • What are teachers and teacher educators to do?
  • Teachers are designers of the total PACKage
    • We have technology, pedagogy, and content with overlaps
    • It is at the center of these three that we have technological pedagogical content knowledge
    • TPACK (also stands for “total package”)
      • What does it do?
        • Opens new possibilities (such as Moodle and the “I agree” problem)
        • Is it NEW (novel, effective, and whole)
      • 3rd graders understanding maps
        • Mapquest, KidPix, Satellite, Virtual Trips
      • A possibility — sand creatures (the walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds)
      • The walls between technology and content only exist in our mind, if we are willing to play
    • Typically, pedagogy, content, and technology are separate (or, at least, technology is separate)
      • Like learning to play jazz one note as a time
      • Need an integrated, interdisciplinary, creative approach
      • Glenn Gould ‘- Implicit in electronic culture is the idea that multiple layers are a part of the creative process
    • Play a game where you mashup different ideas of content, pedagogy, and technology
  • Outro
    • Where do educators live? In a box, or in the middle of technology, content, and knowledge

Reflections
Punya and Matt continue to push me to think about how I think and talk about technology. Next week, when I return to teach ENG 315, we are talking about multiliteracies in the classroom, and I think that I will use TPACK to frame the discussion. Thinking about pedagogy (the writing workshop model), content (the expectations for K-8 writers), and technology (based on the Michigan content standards for technology). I need to come up with some ideas for scenarios, I think, to really prompt my students’ thinking about technology use. For now, I will keep mulling this over as I prepare yo deliver my presentation on Project WRITE.

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