Biography

Matthew J. Koehler
Matthew J. Koehler
Punya Mishra
Punya Mishra


Currently Professor of Educational Technology at Michigan State University, Punya Mishra's extensive academic career and accomplishments have well prepared him for working and researching in the field of technological pedagogies. He has received an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering (Birla Institute of Technology and Science), Masters degrees in Visual Communication (IIT Mumbai) and Mass Communications (Miami University, Oxford Ohio), and earned his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology (University of Illinois). Mishra teaches at both the masters and doctoral levels, covering a range of topics he has focused on in his work, including educational technologies, media, and design. He has received numerous accolades for his teaching presence and skills, including the MSU Teacher Scholar award in 2004, and the College of Education's Teaching Excellence Award in 2006.

With two Bachelors of Science degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics, a Masters degree in Computer Science, and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, all from the University of Wisconsin, Matthew J Koehler has immersed himself in the fields of technology and education. At present a Professor of Educational Psychology and Educational Technology at Michigan State University since 2000, Koehler also has experience as a computer analyst and software engineer prior to entering work in higher education. He has taught a variety of courses at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral levels, with particular focus on technology and psychology in education, and received the MSU-AT&T Instructional Technology Award for his teaching through a fully online course. Koehler also acts as a reviewer for numerous educational and science journals, including Cognition and Instruction and Journal of Educational Computing Research.

Together, Mishra and Koehler have published fifteen peer-reviewed journal articles since 2002, covering a range of topics including digital learning tools, course design, and technical literacy. Their most prominent work has been the development of the TPACK (Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge) framework for learning, built on Lee Shulman's examination of the intersection of pedagogy and content in the classroom through the educators' abilities and experiences. Both researchers have collaborated numerous times to review their framework through journal articles, books, and funded research. The educational significance, and popularity, of the TPACK model has led to the creation of an online community of researchers and educators dedicated to exploring its intricacies and possibilities, currently presided over and edited by Koehler.


TPACK


The TPACK framework for education and teaching is formed around the idea that, according to Mishra and Koehler, there is no singular 'best' way to integrate technology into the classroom; integration should be done reflexively and creatively to fit within the specific subject matter being taught and the context of the learning, making technology integration a challenging, though malleable, task. An understanding of the three key components to teaching, pedagogy, content, and technology, as well as the educators' knowledge of these components, will allow teachers to best recognize where technological advances may be made within their respective classrooms. Also of importance is how and where the teachers' areas of knowledge (Technological Knowledge, Pedagogical Knowledge, and Content Knowledge) interact and intersect with one another, within the context of the classroom. Understanding these dynamics will allow for more flexibility and preparedness in various subjects and class settings, to appropriately and effectively bring technology forward for students. The overlapping knowledge components of the TPACK framework are:
  • Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK): Forming the basis for traditional teaching contexts, and following Shulman's original research and observations, the intersection of pedagogy and content knowledge results in the transformation of subject matter through educators' teaching styles, abilities, and understanding. By utilizing their pedagogical training and experiences, teachers are able to adapt various materials, subjects, and educational resources to suit their students' needs.
  • Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK): Having both strong technological knowledge and pedagogical knowledge, educators can understand how technologies will affect both learning and teaching in the classroom. This includes both the positives of technology's integration in the classroom, such as replacing the immobile whiteboard with projectors to enhance teaching presence and practices, as well as the negatives or limitations of technology, including the rigid business-oriented structure of particular software and the potential pitfalls and distractions of allowing students access to social networking. This overlapping of knowledge must be met with creativity and flexibility to ensure the appropriate technology is used not for its own sake, but for the purposes of furthering student learning.
  • Technological Content Knowledge (TCK): Mishra and Koehler note the distinct relationship between subject matter and the rise of technology, with technological advances affecting a wide range of fields, including history, physics, and medicine. In the digital age, information is presented in new and dynamic ways through a variety of sources, which must be properly understood by educators prior to their teaching. Teachers must, the researchers state, do more than 'master' their particular subject matter, and be able to reflect on and comprehend how technology affects representations of topics at hand. Ultimately, while technology can alter the form of content and the methods of receiving and processing it, the inverse is true; content dictates the technology being used, and not all technologies will be appropriate or sufficient enough for the subjects covered within a particular classroom.
  • Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK): The pinnacle of the TPACK framework, the intersection of technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge provides teachers with an understanding of how technology affects both pedagogies and subject matter, and how technology integration in the classroom may best be used to further student learning while developing new areas and outlets for students' own knowledge. This incorporation of all three areas of knowledge is radically different from each one individually, but provides teachers at this intersection of the framework with the ability to adapt to a variety of educational settings and contexts.


The TPACK framework for technology integration. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by tpack.org
The TPACK framework for technology integration. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by tpack.org


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Curricular Considerations


Educators should keep the TPACK framework in mind whenever they are going to use technology in their classroom, as it provides the appropriate context and foundation for utilizing technology alongside pedagogies and content, simultaneously or separately, depending on the present setting. The allocation of a teacher's current placement within the TPACK framework is dependent upon how well he or she understands those three components of the classroom in relation to one another, and where there may be areas in need of improvement. Teachers should, hypothetically, be constantly aware of the relationship between pedagogical practices and the content being taught, as noted above this forms the basis for instructional design and teaching. Educators who are familiar with technology may then move further throughout the TPACK model, increasing their flexibility in various educational situations requiring the inclusion of technology into the classroom. Ultimately, teachers must not insert technology into their curriculums without planning and preparatory work to determine how the technology will fit into their respective class structure.

Regardless of the technology available to teachers, the TPACK model conforms to all settings and contexts. This allows its incorporation into schools with advanced technological access, such as personal laptops or tablets for students, and institutions where technology is more limited, such as schools with strictly computers in the library resource center. All curriculums can be paired with the TPACK framework, as teachers develop their understanding of technology's connection to the specifics of both their classroom and teaching practice. The use of this model, however, will differ between teachers and schools, serving as a malleable outline through which educators may better combine technology and education.

Extending Questions

  1. Is there a difference between the difficulties of technology integration at the elementary and secondary grade levels compared to the post-secondary academic levels and classrooms? Or are there similarities in the challenges faced by educators at all levels of academia?
  2. Could the TPACK framework be considered a transitional hierarchy, with the different intersections eventually leading to teachers' understanding at the TPACK level? Are Mishra and Koehler correct in their statement of its contextual nature?
  3. Are all three components of knowledge, technology, pedagogy, and content, equally important in the twenty-first century classroom? Is there one area where teachers place the majority of their efforts and focus?


Researchers' External Links


Koehler's Website
Mishra's Blog
TPACK Website

References


Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1). Retrieved from http://www.citejournal.org/vol9/iss1/general/article1.cfm
Koehler, M.J. (2014). Matthew J. Koehler -- Vita. Retrieved from http://mkoehler.educ.msu.edu/vita/
Mishra, P. (n.d.). Punya Mishra -- Vita. Retrieved from http://punya.educ.msu.edu/misc/vita/
Pratt, I. (2013, September 28). TPACK [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://anedblogbyian.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/tpack/


"Also complicating teaching with technology is an understanding that technologies are neither neutral nor unbiased. Rather, particular technologies have their own propensities, potentials, affordances, and constraints that make them more suitable for certain tasks than others." - Punya Mishra & Matthew J. Koehler