The TPACK model breaks a lesson into three parts: Content knowledge, Pedagogical knowledge, and Technological knowledge. While good lessons can be created with portions of this model, use of the entire trinity yields lessons that plan for the greatest student experiences. Unpacking TPACK can help in designing the best lessons possible.
Content knowledge is a vital part of teaching. If the teacher is unsure of the subject matter, chances are that the students will not effectively learn about it. The most direct application of content knowledge tends to be a lecture based class, a method that makes use of the teacher's knowledge to disseminate information to students. Taken without the other two facets of the TPACK model, a focus on content while excluding pedagogy and technology makes student centered instruction much more difficult.
Second in the TPACK trinity is Pedagogical knowledge. Without understanding how students learn, it is difficult for a teacher to achieve any goals they may have. The traditional methods of education combine the pedagogical and content portions of this mode to create curricula. These may be student or teacher centered, and may or may not provide ways for all students to access and engage with content in ways that work best for them.
Technological Knowledge represents the last of the three components of TPACK. it is also the newest. While new educational technologies have always existed (pencils anyone?) The speed and impact of current trends in educational technology make knowledge of technology and how to best implement it incredibly important to our teaching practice. Technology on it's own is a gimmick that will not create strong learning opportunities, but combined with strong pedagogy and content knowledge, it creates opportunities to personalize learning for all students. Prior to having good access to educational technology, teachers could customize learning for all students by creating tiered lessons, providing different resources, and alternate means of assessment, but in order to do this well, it required a large time investment. Today, learning technologies allow teachers to create banks of resources, assessments, and assignments that can be differentiated based on student need. It also enables greater collaboration and sharing of resources, expands methods of demonstrating knowledge, and provides opportunities to strengthen the effect that good pedagogy and content knowledge have.
Want to know more about TPACK or work to build your skills in any of the three categories of TPACK? Contact your friendly local ed-tech coach!