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Reflecting Upon My Own TPACK Journey
When I look at all aspects of the TPACK, it's the 21st century technology aspect that I seek to improve greatly, as I don't know if mastery is ever something I will achieve. The reason for this is that the technology will always be changing, advancing, and evolving, making it nearly impossible to master, or even know about, all of the possible tech. tools, how to use them, and how to apply them to my work in the classroom. Simply put, this is the ideal to which we should strive as teachers, but being more of a realist, I will simply do what I can to consider all of this model's elements. Content is what I feel I have got the best grip on, but would I consider myself a master? Probably not. Am I great and reflective about my content knowledge? Yes! Am I experimenting and having my students do the same with appropriate tech tools that allow for creative expression while addressing Common Core standards? Yes! The mere fact that I signed up for this masters program, with its emphasis on innovative learning, puts me way ahead of most, and I feel good about that.
The first step in my TPACK journey was to try to understand the different aspects of this framework. This understanding is an important part for any teacher who aims to address the 21st century needs of students. The three parts of the TPACK include, in reverse order:
Having gone through a single subject teaching credential program, I mastered my content of English back in 2002. Given that I am not a science teacher, nothing about my content really changes. Although pedagogy does change and evolve, I’ve been teaching long enough to see the trends and those strategies that are tried and true. Because of all of this, I have been a confident teacher. Enter technology.
Aside from using technology in my personal life, my use of it was quite limited. Before I entered this masters program, the only time my students were expected to use technology in my class was to share a Google doc for essay collaboration. This year was really the first time that I felt the need to force myself into this change. When I’ve participated in staff development where tech tools were introduced, I essentially shied away and had no real interest. As a result of my willingness to move forward, however, and thanks to this Innovative Learning program, I have grown immensely, and dare I say, my students have, too.
This year I have spent a great deal of time introducing my students to digital tools that would allow for creativity, engage them in new ways, and even asked them to explore tools to share with the class. I’ve become comfortable taking risks, often times in front of and alongside my students, but I’ve accepted the fact that it’s the only way. Unlike content and pedagogy, technology doesn’t feel like something that I can ever master, but what I will attempt to do is continue to explore and implement new digital tools in order to make learning relevant for my students and their futures outside of my classroom.