Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Navigating TPACK with a cup of coffee

     TPACK has been a part of my life ever since I took my first Ed Tech and Design class way back in the spring of 2013.  I have always had in mind what content I was going to teach, and I had not yet learned the ways in which I might teach - though that would come in the following semester.  I feel lucky in the sense that I was shown the value of adding technology to my lessons before I truly knew how to structure them.  I felt like it gave me an interesting perspective that I otherwise might not have.  Thus, I was introduced to the TPACK model:

fickr image courtesy of uImagine CSU

     Straight away, although I was quite a technology enthusiast, I considered the fact that the technology aspect of TPACK might easily be misused or used to not add value.  I remember sitting through endless slide show after slide show in the Army where they violated all the basic slide show rules - by filling up each slide with novels written in a minuscule font.  The words on the slides were completely the same as the words coming out of the mouths of the presenters.  Needless to say, it was awful.  Luckily, as I persisted in my Ed Tech Minor, I was exposed to the works of Kathy Schrock, an educator that would give me plenty ideas for my future work in education.  Specifically, I became interested in her blog post and discussion about SAMR coffee.  As a coffee fanatic, I was drawn in immediately.
     I feel like SAMR is a simplified version of the Technology Integration Matrix or TIM.  What I like most about SAMR, is that it simply makes sense.  You have to ask yourself how you plan to integrate your technology so that it most usefully blends with your pedagogy and content areas.  Ever since I discovered the SAMR models, I have taken it to heart in writing nearly all of my lesson plans - and because of it - my lesson plans were consistently rated highly by my supervisors.

Here is a video I found that discusses TPACK and SAMR in the Social Studies content area:

     Though the production value of the video may be less than ideal, it combines the two concepts nicely!
     Finally, here is an article I discovered while seeking to improve how I taught Social Studies through technology: How to Teach with Technology: Social Studies.  This article is has both a good balance of TPACK and SAMR principles and can provide a lot of ideas to Social Studies teachers.  I found this through Edutopia, which is always a great place to go when looking for ideas or when you have a general education question.  
     Ultimately, I very much support the idea of designing my lessons based off of TPACK - as long as the technology adds value to the lesson.  I hope you enjoyed this read.