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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Author: Troy Hicks

Dr. Troy Hicks is a professor of English and education at Central Michigan University. He directs both the Chippewa River Writing Project and the Master of Arts in Educational Technology degree program. A former middle school teacher, Dr. Hicks has authored numerous books, articles, chapters, blog posts, and other resources broadly related to the teaching of literacy in our digital age. Follow him on Twitter: @hickstro

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