EPortfolios

Digital Trends and TPACK Explained

In layman’s terms, I think the intersection of TPACK means that once someone has reached “TPACK” they are a really awesome teacher who uses really amazing teaching strategies all while integrating technology. It has taken me many years to even understand what the term pedagogy actually means, and at this juncture in my career, I feel that it refers to your teaching practice, or, the art of your teaching. In this respect, the mastering of TPACK most likely can only occur with veteran teachers who are extremely passionate about their teaching craft; in addition, they also have to be “with it” enough to not only understand many technological practices, but be able to effectively utilize and integrate this technology into their lessons. Matt Koehler explains that the TPACK framework stops thinking about the ideas of content, pedagogy, and technology as individual entities, and instead navigates them all together (Koehler). What I find interesting is the concept that the TPACK framework would really look different depending on who is using it. It changes for each student, teacher, facilitator, etc (Koehler). It is pretty important to my school’s (and my own) goals; first and foremost, our goals are to engage students and teach them how to learn. There is a more specific subset of goals as well: increase students in honors classes, increase AP test scores, and pass the Keystone exams. Using the TPACK framework would help engage students, and therefore it would help our organization fulfill many of our goals.

One trend that many people can relate to is our over-dependence on technology. It seems as though no matter where you go, you will find people looking down into their phones instead of at the people they are with. I am a perpetrator of this crime myself, and the more I think about it, the more I wish I could be more “present.” There have been times in the past few weeks when I have been browsing aimlessly on Instagram or Facebook on my phone while feeding my 7 week old baby, and I will take a casual glance at him, only to see that he is looking straight at me. My heart breaks each time this happens because I think to myself… I am missing this bonding time. I am missing an opportunity to stare lovingly into my little boy’s eyes while I hold him for 10-20 minutes, and this time will FLY by. I won’t have that uninterrupted bonding time for long, and before I know it, he will be a rambunctious toddler who I will have to bribe to cuddle with me. What is so important on Instagram that I am willing to sacrifice these moments? I have been making a conscious effort to decrease phone time while snuggling or playing with the little one. A second trend, related to the previous one, is that sometimes this constant connectivity is a good thing! People these days have the world and almost any answer at their fingertips! Recently I was reading my birth board and a woman talked about how she couldn’t get her baby to stop crying but knew something was terribly wrong because of the kind of cry he was making… she Googled until she found a possibility, and lo and behold, Google was right! He had a strand of hair wrapped extremely tightly around one of his toes (which she couldn’t see because he was in footy pajamas) and it was cutting off circulation to the point that his toe was purple. I know both of these seem unrelated to school, but they aren’t; for one, when I see all my students face-deep in their phones, I am reminded to pull them back into the real world and remember to teach them discussion and connection skills along with the texts we read. I use their connectivity to my advantage, however, when completing lessons and I allow them to use their devices to research, find information, and connect to outside students/classes. The idea here is that there are pros and cons to each emerging trend, so we just have to be aware of what we are doing with our time and our devices.
References:
Koehler, M.J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge?
Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1). Retrieved
fromhttp://www.citejournal.org/vol9/iss1/general/article1.cfm

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