The Many Faces of TPACK/Teacher Education Simultaneous Renewal with TPACK with TPACK

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by Nehir Yasan

Buying a typewriter does not make one a better writer. Similarly, just buying information technologies does not make an organization better at managing knowledge. What is critical is acceptance and effective utilization of the technologies.” Yogesh Malhotra

1. Introduction[edit | edit source]

Technology is the most important term which defines the information age. Its effects can be seen in many aspects of our lives. In this sense, it can be said that educational reforms are also shaped by technology in a large extent. As Mims and friends (2006) stated technology integration is one of the current goals of public education schools. The terms ‘technological literacy’ took its place in the educational literature and it has gained importance as much as ‘scientific literacy’. Information and communication technological tools are especially used as a facilitator for learning and teaching. Therefore, educational organizations in many countries make serious investments on schools in order to equip them with ICT facilities. However, integration of ICT in education is not an easy process and some problems exist in practice. The barriers of ineffective usage of ICT are as followings: lack of financial resources for hardware, software, and infrastructure, and lack of time for professional development and planning (MacNeil&Delafield, 1998). Thus, it can be said that integration of technology is not only an investment but also a human resource management issue (Akbaba-Altun, 2006). This is because schools are complex organizations and include informal processes to implement innovations or reforms (Frank, Zhao and Borman, 2004). Furthermore, a serious organizational change is needed for strong technology integration. As Schelchty stated, “If new technologies are going to successfully transform education, significant changes will be needed not just in terms of roles, rules, and relationships, but also in terms of the very purpose of the entire educational enterprise” (cited in critical review of Ertmer, p.1) Frank, Zhao, and Borman (2004) indicated the factors affecting on diffusion of computer in schools are indicated as three sets from previous research in the study. First, the critical point in integration is access to functional and reliable hardware and software and technical support. The second is institutional factor including scheduling and types of school leadership, which affects teachers’ use of computers. The third one is the knowledge, skills, abilities, or competencies of teacher related to use of technology in teaching process. Especially the third factor has been identified as the major component in the implementation of ICT(Belland, 2009; Bingimlas, 2009; Brinkerhoff, 2006; Chen, Looi, & Chen, 2009; Ertmer, 1999;Lim, 2007; Lim &Khine, 2006; Hew & Brush, 2007; Oncu, Delialioglu, & Brown, 2008; Ozdemir&Kilic, 2007; Shuldman, 2004; Yalin, Karadeniz, &Sahin, 2007; Zhao, 2007, cited in Yurdakul et al., 2012). However, having technology knowledge or skills is not only issue but also technology-supported pedagogical and technology related classroom management knowledge and skills are needed (Hew & Brush, 2007). In other words, it can be said that the focus of approaches related to technology integration in education has shifted from techno centric integration to techno pedagogical integration. In this sense, Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK or TPCK) is one of the techno-pedagogical integration approaches in the field of technology integration in education (Yurdakul et. Al., 2012). It is grounded Shulman (1986)’s formulation of “pedagogical content knowledge” and as distinct from this formulation it adds technology into teachers’ pedagogy. Mishra and Koehler (2006) believe that Shulman did not consider technology unimportant although he did not mention technology and its relationship to “pedagogy” and “content”. It is because of being not foregrounded of educational technologies in 1980s like today. Thus, they consider that Shulman’s approach is still true and technology has a critical role in each of these aspects. TPACK was created as the result of 5 years of research program on teacher professional development and faculty development in higher education (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). According to this framework, three key sources of knowledge which are “pedagogy”, “content”, and “technology” separately cannot be solution for a good technology integration in teaching and learning so that they should be thought in a system within complex relationships (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). In other words, as Schmidt et al. indicated “the belief that effective technology integration depends on content and pedagogy suggests that teachers’ experiences with technology must be specific to different content areas” (2009, p.128). In 1998, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) commissioned by the Milken Exchange on Educational Technology conducted a survey to analyze current situation of schools, colleges, and departments of education in terms of using technology in classrooms. The report of the study suggested some models which would identify, study, and disseminate effective uses of technology for both teacher education and K-12 schools (Thompson et al., 2003). Moreover, several expert groups think that universities have a leadership role in terms of preparing preservice teachers for integration computer related technology in schools (Espinoza & McKinzie, 1994; International Society for Technology in Education, 1998; Office of Technology Assesment, 1995; cited in Thompson et al., 2003). At this point, it can be said that the framework of TPACK brings solutions the current education system’s problems in terms of technology integration because of focusing on development of both inservice and preservice teachers. This study reveals a systematic approach of TPACK by presenting good practices in the world. Two important initiatives in teacher education will be mentioned respectively: (1) The Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology (PT3), (2) The Technology Collaboratives (TechCo). Lastly, the practices in Turkey related to technology integration in education will be discussed.

2.PT3 Program[edit | edit source]

In order to prepare teachers to integrate technology with learning and teaching, many attempts have been done in the world under the different projects. The Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology (PT3) is one of these grants, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) in 1999 and it is the largest initiative in the world in terms of developing ICT in teacher education. It aimed to transform preservice teachers’ experience with technology both in their methods course and field experiences (USDE, 2004; cited in Mims et. al, 2006). In other words, besides learning of how to use technology teachers must learn how to integrate technology into their teaching. Teaching technology skills linked with methods courses provides preservice teachers to use their technology skills to impact student learning, otherwise preservice teachers will be only competent using technology (Beyerbach, Walsh &Vannatta, 2001; Milken Family Foundation, 2000; Wang, 2002; cited in critical review of Ertmer). In order to realize both the integration of technology into methods courses and into technology-rich field placements, the PT3 project was handled with two scopes as teacher candidates and faculty competency. Especially education faculty was targeted because it was believed that these faculty members would redesign their courses and model their practices to preservice teachers after they knew how to use the technology. For enhancing faculty technological competency, several approaches were followed. Initially, sufficient infrastructure which was identified as a primary barrier in technology integration was provided. Then, training programs such as workshops and summer institutes were arranged and faculties asked to participate. For participation some incentives such as stipends were also used. Moreover, authentic performance based assessment was applied in order to test faculties, teacher candidates and collaborating teachers in terms of potential of improvement in their technology skills. Moreover, there were professional development activities to provide face to face and timely technical support for faculties (Mims et al., 2006). For these activities interns or graduate assistants were employed as grantees. As the second scope, enhancing teacher candidates’ technological competency was as the main focus of PT3 projects. Firstly, the integration of technology into method courses was provided. Then, these courses were encouraged by creating technology enhanced products. As applied to professors, teacher candidates were engaged in training and workshops in order to provide technological proficiency. Distinctively, preservice teachers attended several activities in order to enhance their field experiences. In addition to grantees, mentor teachers from partner schools were also included in these workshops. By the way, these workshops could make mentor teachers better model for preservice teachers during their field experiences (Mims et al. 2006) However, technological competency of teacher candidates and faculty were not enough for effective integration of technology. Thus, PT3 projects targeted education faculty in order to help preservice teachers integrate technology in their classroom instructions (Mims et al, 2006). After learning technological skills, faculty members redesign their courses and practices to preservice teachers. For these skills, some workshops, lecture series and technology courses were arranged. These activities aimed to create a model for faculty members in terms of using hands-on technologies into their classroom practices. These sessions included basic topics such as using presentation, movie editing and mind-mapping software, electronic portfolios, digital cameras, scanners, Internet search tools and computer assessments. Moreover, additional support was provided to help faculty members to model these resources in their courses. Not only for faculty members, but also for preservice teachers similar activities were arranged. They were enrolled several mandatory courses which aimed to teach technology skills. These courses were important to incorporate technology in their future classrooms. Moreover, PT3 projects provided additional workshops, portfolio projects and course redesigns occurred for preservice teachers. As Mills et al. (2006) indicated, “Preparing preservice teachers to integrate technology effectively in classrooms was a difficult and time-consuming endeavor for most PT3 projects” (p.18). The reports indicated that most of teacher education faculty and students do not feel competence for integration technology into their courses even though they believe that technology integration is essential for student success (Claxton & Bedford, 2003; Persichitte et al., 1997; cited in Mills, 2006). Thus, importance of personalized technology support was stressed by eight PT3 projects meeting requirements. Besides training workshops, technology courses and lecture series, one-on-one technology support for education was also used in order to help individual faculty and preservice teachers using several different methods such as creating curriculum teams and support teams. Besides training, workshops; PT3 projects supported comprehensive initiatives in order to impact faculty in the arts and sciences, teacher education faculty, preservice teachers and K-12 inservice teachers. These comprehensive initiatives were varied such as workshops, one-on-one mentoring, assistance with course redesign and the development of course materials. As seen above explanations, PT3 projects handle the process of technology integration both university level and k-12 teaching. By training courses, workshops or other initiatives, PT3 projects aimed to include technological knowledge to pedagogical content knowledge. In this aspect, the project went ahead in TPACK framework. However, it is indicated that there is little evidence that indicates faculty and students prolong ability to integrate technology into their classroom (Mills et. al., 2006; critical review of Ertmer). Despite this, Ertmer considered PT3 program as a success in his critical review. He believes that “once the cycle is broken, then, it is expected that the movement will self-perpetuate because the culture will have finally changed; preservice students will be taught in innovative ways that model the types of teaching and learning we expect them to implement in their own K-12 classrooms”(p.3). In addition, PT3 program has an important role on building regional and national capacity for planning and managing change for ICT in teacher education (Davis, 2003).

3. The Technology Collaboratives (TechCo) Program[edit | edit source]

Another program for integration of technology into teacher education program is the Technology Collaboratives (TechCo) based in John Goodlad’s theory of simultaneous renewal (1994). It is a systematic approach for using technology as a facilitator in both teacher education and K-12 schools. The components of project were as followings: cohort groups of students with laptop computers, faculty development programs, teacher development programs for collaborating schools, and curriculum development in both teacher education and K-6 partner schools. As indicated the study of Thompson, Schmidt, and Davis (2003), the goals of the TechCo were: 1. To identify, design, and implement technology experiences that will enhance all education courses and field experiences typically taken by teacher education students; 2. To work collaboratively with K–6 teachers and administrators to create technology-rich field experiences and sites for teacher education students; 3. To incorporate issues of equity and access with respect to technology throughout the teacher education program; 4. To prepare cohort groups of preservice teachers who are ready for leadership roles in educational settings; 5. To design and implement a model technology-rich cohort teacher education program that can be adopted (all or in part) by other institutions; and 6. To effectively disseminate outcomes and products from the project to teacher education institutions throughout the country and the world (p.75). TechCo project sits on two grounds: university and K-6 schools structures. The university ground comprises cohort groups of preservice teachers in a technology-enriched program and a mentoring program for faculty that includes a program called “technology scholars.” On the other hand, structures in the K–6 environment include creating technology-rich field experiences for students, mentoring days for teachers, and using a master teacher as a facilitator between the partner schools and the university. TechCo project had both a theoretical and practical basis frameworks for assessing and supporting educational renewal within and across the organizations. There frameworks are Havelock and Zlotolow’s seven phase CREATER model, (a) Care, (b) Relate, (c) Examine, (d) Acquire, (e) Try, (f) Extend, and (g) Renew (Ellsworth, 2000), and Steve Bosserman’s model of institutional change (Silag & Fields, 2001; cited in Davis, 2003). As indicated above, The TechCo project comprises faculty, preservice teachers and administrators from a university, and inservice teachers and administrators from four K–6 elementary schools. This project has a TPACK framework because of focusing on teacher education related to technology integration. Besides technological skills, it aims to provide technology-rich field experiences for both preservice and inservice teachers. The results indicated that this supportive approach corresponds to the complexity of simultaneous renewal (Davis, 2003). Moreover, TechCo can be shown as an evidence that preservice teachers need to use technology throughout their teacher education program and they must extend their field experiences in K-12 classrooms (Davis, 2003).

4.FATIH Project[edit | edit source]

In November 2010, FATIH project, which was announced as a new ICT/e-learning project: “Movement of Enhancing Opportunities and Improving Technology” (Fırsatları Artırma Teknolojiyi Iyileştirme Hareketi [FATIH] in Turkish) by Ministry of National Education (MoNE) , will be handled in term of providing equal opportunity in education and to improve technology in schools for the efficient usage of ICT tools in the learning-teaching processes. It aims to enable equal opportunities in education and to improve technology in schools for the efficient usage of ICT tools in the learning-teaching processes. The project includes 40.000 schools and 570.000 classes and they will be equipped with laptops and digital projectors and multi-purpose copier machines. Moreover, tablets and LCD Smart Boards will provide for the primary education and the secondary education. Approximately 2.500.000 tablet PCs will be given for 5th and 9th grade students by spring 2012 and student will be owner after four years’ use. In-service equipment training will give 600.000 teachers via face-to-face and distance education means. Education e-content included e-books and educational objects will be prepared for each course. The estimated time for FATIH Project is for 3 years. A budget with 3 billion Turkish Lira (US$1,8 billion) is created for this project, which is biggest resource in the history of modern Turkey. However, FATIH is not only first ICT project for Turkey, but also several attempts in the past were done. However, they were not large scale investments like FATIH. First attempt was done in 1984 by the MoNE, which introduced computers to secondary schools. Then in 1991, national policy included computer-assisted instruction. In 1998, the MoNE received a loan from the World Bank to invest in a two-phase National Basic Education Program (BEP). The aim of all these ICT investments is to improve the quality of Turkey’s education and to ensure each student and teacher becomes at least literate in Information and Communication Technology. In 2003 phase I was completed, but the studies showed that the IT classrooms in Phase I were not used effectively (MoNE, 2007). Moreover, MoNE report suggests some precautions to supervisors and administrators. In Program Phase II, Turkey and the World Bank signed a loan agreement for three years on 26th July 2002. The general purposes of the agreement are as followings: a strong infrastructure, more training courses for teachers, principals and supervisors, program implementation support, program progress and evaluation activities. (MoNE, 2007) However, The MoNE report (2007) indicated that technology based policies (focus on generalizing software, hardware and Internet connections) did not any affect on students’ learning as expected. It also says that “although computer and computer networks are important in IT policies, it should be focused on how learners can enhance and improve their skills by IT for more effective learning and more effective administration in all levels (classroom, school, urban and national).” The problematic issue in Turkey’s technology initiatives is that they have not a strong TPACK framework in terms of both inservice and preservice teacher education. Like PT3 and TechCo projects, they do not sit on two grounds: university and K-6/-12 schools structures. There is a serious disconnection between T and PCK components. For more information, you can view Kayaduman’s chapter which investigates Turkey’s technology initiatives with TPACK.

5. Conclusion[edit | edit source]

As Cuban (2001) indicated, IT was ‘oversold and underused’ (Cited in Davis 2010). However, developing theory for educational technology is not easy work since it requires a detailed understanding of complex relationships that are contextually bound (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). The failure of early educational technology history was considering technological knowledge independent from the pedagogical and content knowledge. Educators soon understood that effective use of technology is important rather than having technological skills (Graham et. al., 2009). In this sense, TPACK is the most trend approach which deals with technology, pedagogy and content knowledge all together. In order to get these three nested knowledge, the need is a simultaneous renewal both preservice and inservice teacher education. Several expert groups recommend that colleges and universities must take a leadership role in preparing preservice teachers to use and integrate computer-related technology in schools (Espinoza & McKinzie, 1994; International Society for Technology in Education, 1998; Office of Technology Assessment, 1995; cited inThompson et al., 2003). In this wikibook, TPACK was handled with different contents: Math, Science, Special Education, Computer Education, English Education. This means that each specific field needs special technological and pedagogical experiences. At this point, PT3 and TechCo programs can be shown as a good practice for TPACK framework. These initiatives were grounded in both university and school structure. In order to integrate technology into classrooms, the projects similarly provided technology training workshops, technology courses, lecture series, collaborative partnerships and collaborative exchanges between grant programs. According to Davis (2003), these two programs have both developed a better understanding of simultaneous renewal and their role as change agents. However, as indicated Bosserman’s conception, vast social webs need to change overtime “because no matter how thoroughly the organization prepares for every contingency, situations will arise that are not covered in its policies, procedures, programs, structures and funding” (Silag & Fields, 2001, p. 65, cited in Davis, 2010). Thus, it is not known that TPACK will stay as TPACK in the years ahead. Maybe some components will be omitted or new ones will be added.

References:[edit | edit source]

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