The Many Faces of TPACK/Computer Education Teacher Education

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We live in a world which is changing with rapid technological developments that affect our lives directly and change our habits. As world is changing people are expected to have some skills in order to adapt to the complex world. Herein 21century skills can be pointed which include Learning and Innovation Skills, Information, Media and Technology Skills, Life and Career Skills (21st Century Skills, 2011).


Figure 1. 21st Century Student Outcomes and Support Systems (21st Century Skills, 2011)

As seen one of the skills is Information, Media and Technology Skills that includes;

  • Information Literacy
  • Media Literacy
  • ICT (Information, Communications and Technology) Literacy

But today there is an ongoing debate on are technology courses can be a part of the curriculum or how technology education can be. This issue can be derived from the nature of technology. Technology education viewed as an ill defined area because of its position as an academic school subject, problems about establishment of professional bodies, teacher preparation and professional development of teachers, and the socio-political environment of schooling (Jones, Buntting & Vries, 2011). As technology education considered in schools, Jones, Buntting and Vries conclude that crafts were part of the curriculum at pre-existing but nowadays the key factor is design in technology education. Today there are many representations of technology education depends on the context. Jones, Buntting and Vries analyzed technology education in different countries and identified different types of representations under technology education as shown in figure 2.

Representations of technology education

Figure 2. Representations of technology education emphasized in different countries. E: Elementary (Years 1–8), S: Secondary (Years 9–12), (Jones, Buntting & Vries, 2011).

In Turkey, the emphasis is also technological literacy. The technology education curriculum consists of three learning domains; basic procedures and concepts, use of information technology, advanced practices in information technology. In addition, science process and ethics and social values in information technology are another two learning domains that distributed through the curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2012). Apart from the curriculum or what to be learned today it is most important to determine how teaching, learning and assessment can be done in technology education context. In this point educators need to understand the nature of their discipline and select appropriate pedagogies, also need to consider how technology education take place and what teachers need to do in order to increase students’ experiences (Jones, Buntting & Vries, 2011). In the international handbook of technology education the area of progress in technology education was explained under some topics. One of them is the changing pedagogy in technology education. In the early phases of technology education the process focused on learning specific skills in which teachers demonstrate the content that is skills related to technology use then students tried to do what the teacher does with technology (Vries, 2006). But today the focus is changed, it is obvious that today’s students born in a technology mediated environments and called as digital natives so expectations from them is to develop their own ideas about technology. For example the main focus in computer programming is not only to gain programming skills to students but also problem solving and critical thinking. Thus the methods in teaching technology are changed from demonstration to cognitive apprenticeship, authentic learning or constructivist approach (Snape and Turnbull, 2013). In these point teachers need to prepare learning environments that student can engage with the projects, take risks, have opportunity to solve the problems that they encountered and use his creativity (Loveland, 2012). Therefore, this chapter aims to a new approach to technology education with technological pedagogical content knowledge framework (TPACK). The review of the current literature on TPACK revealed that there were many articles located about using technology in various disciplines generally in science and mathematics. But there is a limited research in terms of technology education. So this chapter firstly focuses on pedagogical aspects of technology education and critics about the possible use of TPACK framework in technology education context.

Technology Education Perspectives[edit | edit source]

In order to find out the research needs for technology education Ritz and Martin (2012) conducted study using a Delphi technique. Researchers tried to put forth the most important issue that needs to be researched related to K-12 technology (and engineering) education. As a result ten areas stand out for the most important issues;

  • Abilities students develop through the study of technology education
  • There is insufficient understanding of learning that takes place through the technology curriculum
  • Designing for sustainability and global citizenship
  • Technological conceptual knowledge
  • How do students learn in technology education
  • Specialized pedagogical content knowledge for technology education
  • The assessment of technological performance
  • How students learn technology
  • Understanding the nature of technology
  • There is a need to understand the nature of designing

Another issue that researchers examined was the most important issues that need to be researched related to preparation of teachers to better teach the technology as a school subject. As a result of the analysis researchers came up with eight issues listed below;

  • Lack of understanding about the epistemic beliefs of teaches
  • How should design activities, aimed at concept learning, be taught by teachers
  • Understanding of pedagogical content knowledge
  • Methods of assessment in technology education, particularly of practical work
  • How do teachers’ beliefs affect program delivery
  • Teacher trainees’ conceptions of designing
  • The nature of collaborative learning in technology education
  • Meaning of technology education by practicing teachers

These findings from Ritz and Martin’s (2012) study help us criticizing technology education today. As the findings of needs to be researched related to K-12 technology education examined it was seen that the learning process and pedagogical issues such as specialized pedagogical content knowledge for technology education were mostly emphasized rather than what to be learned. It is the same when research needs related with the preparation of teachers were examined. In the literature there were studies examining pedagogical content knowledge of technology teachers. Rohaan, Taconis and Jochems (2012) analyzed Subject matter knowledge (SMK), pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), attitude, and self-efficacy domains of teacher knowledge in terms of technology education. As a result they concluded that while teachers had sufficient levels of technology knowledge as subject matter they had insufficient levels of pedagogical content knowledge. But it is critical for teachers to have pedagogical qualifications applying in technology education domain such as inquiry-based and problem-based learning. Also having an understanding of the nature, purpose, and characteristics of technology education is critical for providing hands-on technology activities. The researchers also performed path analysis to make connections about the domains of teacher knowledge they analyzed. They found that knowledge of technology was an influencing factor on how to teach technology as PCK and is also influences teachers’ self efficacy. By the way self self-efficacy influences teachers’ attitude towards technology. As a perspective for technology education Snape and Turnbull (2011) examined authenticity and suggest dimensions of it significantly related with technology education; authentic pedagogy and instruction, authentic teachers and learners, authentic activities. The researchers added that when these dimensions were combined with rich contexts, social construction, meaningful connections and student engagement the outcomes of technology education will become better as shown in figure 3.


Figure 3. A model of authentic technology for producing quality technological outcomes (Snape and Turnbull, 2011).

On the other side such as other disciplines technology teacher can use educational technologies to enhance the learning process. But selecting appropriate technologies can be confusing so there are models to help teachers in this process. In this point Bart (2011) introduces S.E.C.T.I.O.N.S. which is a decision-making model to select appropriate technologies explained below.

S: Information about students (demographic information, learning styles) E: The ease of use (E) of the technology C: Cost T: Teaching (T) style of the teacher I: Interaction (how the technologies will engage and motivate the student) O: Organization (support from administrators) N: Novelty S: Speed and security

TPACK framework in technology education[edit | edit source]

In the previous part, pedagogical issues and educational technology use related with technology education were emphasized. But in order to use technology to enhance student learning in technology education educators need to consider pedagogies together with the specific technologies to teach a specific topic in technology education. So, new emerging knowledge TPACK can be a useful framework to address these concerns. TPACK refers to teaching a certain topic with pedagogical techniques by using technology that providing meaningful learning experiences to students (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). TPACK framework consists of three domains: pedagogy, technology and content; and intersections among them. In technology education domain, at the first look it seems that technology as content and technology as tool to enhance learning are overlapping. But it is important to distinguish these two domains within TPACK framework. As a content students try to learn how to use technologies to solve problems on the other side teachers use technologies which can be thought as educational technologies to help students to learn content better (Loveland, 2012). So there is need to examine the use of educational technology in technology classrooms. Even technology teachers are accustomed to use technologies in their classroom it is critical to select and use technologies that promote self-reflection and higher-order thinking of students (Loveland, 2012).

Educational technology and technology education, while separate entities within education, share many commonalities, and as a result, provide synergies for teaching (Loveland, 2012, p.134).

In the digital age technology teachers were encountered with the digital natives in the classrooms. By the way developing problem solving and critical thinking skills of students become more important rather learning technological skills. Thus the pedagogies that technology teachers use can be insufficient and needed to be changed (Loveland, 2012). In this point TPACK framework can be a flexible model to decide to use which pedagogies with which technology in which context.

It was mentioned that there were limited studies in the literature about using TPACK in technology domain but in one of the study Doukakis, Psaltidou, Stavraki, Adamopoulos, Tsiotakis and Stergou (2010) examine the TPACK levels of secondary computer science teachers. As a result they indicate that teachers are less confident with their pedagogical content knowledge and technological content knowledge. There were many tools to measure TPACK as described in measuring TPACK chapter. TPACK-deep scale is one of them which is different from the other measurement tools in terms of its structure. It has sub-factors which were: design, exertion, ethics and proficiency. This tool views TPACK as a whole entity as shown in figure 4 (Kabakci Yurdakul, Odabasi, Kilicer, Coklar, Birinci & Kurt, 2012).

Tpack deep

Figure 4. TPACK-deep framework and its factors (Kabakci Yurdakul, Odabasi, Kilicer, Coklar, Birinci & Kurt, 2012)

In this chapter The TPACK framework shown in figure 3 used a lens for criticize technology teachers in terms of TPACK. Thus for a technology teacher it is important to consider these issues related with TPACK.

  • Design: How well is a technology teacher in creating and developing curriculum plans, teaching and learning environments, combining appropriate technological tools and resources to maximize learning technology topics and related skills?
  • Exertion: By using appropriate technologies and solutions how a technology teacher implement her/his design plans and conduct assessments and evaluations?
  • Ethics: What are the issues related with legal and ethical behaviors for a technology teacher in terms of technology-related ethical issues and teacher professional issues?
  • Proficiency: How can a technology teacher be proficient for being leadership in terms of integrating technology into teaching technology? How can a technology teacher demonstrate the innovative use of technological resources while teaching technology?

References[edit | edit source]

Framework for 21st Century Learning. (2011). Retrieved June 8, 2013, from

Jones, A, Bunting, C., & de Vries, M. J. (2013). The developing field of technology education: a review to look forward. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 23(2), 191-212.

de Vries, M. J. (2006). Two decades of technology education in retrospect. In M. J. de Vries & I. Mottier (Eds.), International handbook of technology education. Reviewing the past twenty years (pp. 3–10). Rotterdam, The Netherlands and Taipei, Taiwan: Sense.

Loveland, T. (2012). Educaional technology and technology education. In P. J.Williams (Eds.), Technology Education for Teachers (pp. 115–136). Rotterdam, Boston and Taipei: Sense.

Snape, P., & Fox-Turnbull,W. (2011). Perspectives of authenticity: implementation in technology education. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 23, 51–68.

Ritz, J., & Martin, G. (2012). Research needs for technology education: An international perspective. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, DOI: 10.10007/s10798-012-9215-.7

Rohaan, E.J., Taconis, R. & Jochems, W.M.G. (2012). Analysing teacher knowledge for technology education in primary schools. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 22(3), 271-280.

Bart, M. (2011). Determining the best technology for your students, your course, and you. Teaching with Technology. Retrieved June 8, 2012 from best-technology-for-your-students-your-course-and-you/

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A new framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054.

Kabakci Yurdakul, I., Odabasi, H., Kilicer, K., Coklar, A., Birinci, G., & Kurt, A. (2012). The development, validity and reliability of TPACK-deep: A technological pedagogical content knowledge scale. Computers & Education, 58(3), 964-977. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2011.10.012.

Ministry of Education (2012). Retrieved June 8, 2013, from

Doukakis, S., Psaltidou, A., Stavraki, A., Adamopoulos, N., Tsiotakis, P. & Stergou, S. (2010). Measuring the technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) of in-service teachers of computer science who teach algorithms and programming in upper secondary education, In Fernstrom, K., (Ed.), Readings in Technology and Education: Proceedings of ICICTE 2010, 8-10 July 2010, Corfu, Greece, pp. 442-452.