The word journey suggests more than just going from one place to another. It invokes travel over a great distance and a journey has heft, there is a good reason for embarking. Indeed this journey was more like an expedition into the ever expanding and contracting world of the internet and devices - technology. The TPACK journey is exploring the world of technology as it relates to your existing pedagogy (P) and content knowledge (ACK). If you are just beginning to work ipads or tablets or chromebooks into your teaching day a good place to start is by reading about and referencing a useful technology integration model - TPACK. TPACK, which stands for Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge, describes the kinds of knowledge needed by a teacher for effective teaching using technology. There is a balance where all three pieces come together, If you’re lucky all three come together in this nice perfect overlap that helps your students succeed on multiple levels.
One of my primary goals as a teacher is to expose my students to the joy of reading. Many students are still learning to read so enjoyable does not describe their view of reading when school first begins. They are more likely to be frustrated or worse which means I must quickly delve into my “teacher toolbox” to find motivators. The newest additions to my kit, the T in my TPACK, are e-readers. Technology in my classroom comes in the form of ipads, a tablet for everyone. That means students can now read and/or listen to books on their ipads. Unfortunately, not all e-readers are appropriate or even useful when working with students who are still learning to read. So I jumped down the rabbit hole of technology and started my journey toward integrating e-readers into room 19. I piloted four e-reader programs - Storyline Online, HMH Readers, Storia, and TumbleBooks and read the research of others who are exploring the use of e-readers in the K-2 classroom. Piloting and investigating what others have done is exactly how our pedagogy and content knowledge have evolved and so it is with this new component of our profession. Every school district is pushing technology. Whether they are doing it in a mindful or erratic way, they are all doing it. And even if you don’t want to hop on board you should at least educate yourself about what is coming down the pike because you need to make an educated decision about how it will or won’t be integrated into your classroom. Don’t be a fuddy duddy. Seriously, it just makes you look bad. Investigate on your own when no one is looking. Talk to colleagues you trust. Google it. And start slow. In addition to the TPACK integration model another good model to reference is the SAMR by Ruben Puentedura. As you slowly integrate tech into your instruction you may find yourself working your way through the phases of Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition (SAMR). I am one of those reluctant fuddy duddies but I did it. I worked the T into my instruction. It is not easy, it takes time, and I’m not done. Remember it is just another tool in your teacher toolbox. Use it judiciously as you would any practice in your classroom. I’ll see you down the rabbit hole.