What is TPACK?
TPACK is an effective model for 21st Century teaching and learning. TPACK focuses on Content, Pedagogy, and Technology. The Content focuses on what is being taught. The Pedagogy focuses on how to teach it. This includes facts and concepts. Technology includes the tools that allow students to represent ideas and share them with one another. The transformation of content due to technology is drastically different in all content areas than it was just a decade ago. With access to technology, students can experience alternate forms of learning. This includes web based videos and support, a flipped classroom model, and providing multiple ways for students to demonstrate their learning. As educators, we know that students learn in many different modalities. Technology is a tool that can be used to help students learn in a more individualized way. It is important to remember that technology is a support to content, not a replacement of content. It should be used to strengthen our lessons and support student learning and understanding. The "sweet spot" of teaching is when all three pedagogical contents areas overlap.
How TPACK Impacted My Research
Here is how the TPACK specifically guided my Essential Question: How does implementing technology and a growth mindset increase student performance in the mathematics classroom?
This question has grown and evolved over the course of Touro’s Master’s program. I originally thought focusing on inquiry to engage my students and create a higher-learning environment would be part of my Essential Question. As we progressed through our classes, I began getting more excited about the results that came from using the new technology I was learning about in my classroom. As I began implementing the new tech tools and ideas in my classroom, and saw how positively my kids were responding, I began to shift my focus. Implementing this new technology ended up yielding the results I was looking for: increased student motivation, greater creativity shown in math, and increased student performance. I grew as an educator in the Technological Knowledge portion of my TPACK approach to teaching. This helped me move to the "sweet spot" of teaching in the mathematics classroom. The "sweet spot" is when all three pedagogical content areas overlap.
Technological- This step addresses how to select use, and integrate technology into teaching. It is important to focus on the content of the technology so that it provides deep and lasting learning. I began with teaching digital citizenship through Google’s Be Internet Awesome. I used an in-class flip classroom model to better support each individual student. I created video content to put into Google Classroom for my students to use during small group rotations in class. I used technology programs for math like Prodigy, Khan Academy, and Sumdog to support student learning. I used Google Classroom to assign videos and quizzes via Google Forms in order to get immediate student feedback and provided 1:1 support. This technology provides the opportunity to redesign/readjust student learning experiences based on student feedback.
Pedagogical- This is, “the how” that has to do with learning theories and instructional design. I have used instructional strategies such as Think-Pair-Share, note-taking, higher-level questioning, growth mindset lessons, and student interviews. To design instruction for each individual student I have broken my content into small groups for math, and facilitated student conversations for students to use inquiry in mathematics. I have used a combination of direct instruction, intervention small groups, core-instruction small groups, and enrichment small groups. Students participated in an in-class flip model of learning. Students engaged in growth mindset lessons geared towards increasing their mindset, specifically in mathematics.
Content Knowledge- This is, “the what” that has to do with teacher expertise on the content taught. This includes facts and concepts. I study the math curriculum before instruction, technology, and researched about the brain and how to implement a growth mindset in the classroom, and applied my research to designing student instruction. I facilitated student conversations about their thinking while using math vocabulary, taught with direct instruction in a whole-group setting, and broke students into small groups. One powerful part of this research project was the built in time for student reflection and feedback. Students reflected on what was most effective for their learning, specifically in reference to a growth mindset and technology. I applied their feedback directly into my teaching and calibrated my instruction. Throughout this study, I provided students with feedback as well. This collaborative time allowed for students to interact with the content in a meaningful way, and for me to learn from my students and make sure I am reaching each student by individualizing instruction while maintaining high expectations.