TPACK Reracked

A redesign of the TPACK model - created by Brad Lands

Are the elements of TPACK still equally important in today's education?

If I were to redesign or "rerack" the TPACK model, it would look something like the image above. Even though all three components are very important for teaching and learning, I would argue that pedagogy is the most important element of the three.  I believe that strong teaching and ample knowledge of students is what makes the biggest impact in education.  I would also argue that technology is the second most important element because it can really "amplify, accelerate, and even recreate learning" - George Couros.  

Finally, I would argue that content knowledge is the least important of the three elements due to the recent advancement of inquiry-based learning and information technology.  My example is that college professor we've all had who was extremely knowledgeable, but was a terrible teacher.  That professor might have been a leader in his or her field, but was unable to effectively communicate content information, or create a learning environment that met the needs of students. 

What is becoming more important these days is innovative pedagogy.  The ability to spark curiosity in a child, facilitate inquiry, guide learning and understanding, and support creativity and collaboration. We should not be teaching students content knowledge that they can easily learn from a quick Google search. What we should be doing, is taking more time and effort to find ways to make this content knowledge more interesting, relevant, and meaningful to students.  

On a subdomain level of TPACK, I would argue that the Technological and Pedagogical Knowledge (TP) is the most powerful combination of the three elements.  In today's world, teachers should able to provide students with empowering instruction, coupled with the right technology tools for meaningful, independent learning.  With these tools, students should be able to find reliable information and experience hands-on learning in order to construct their own knowledge, and then effectively communicate and demonstrate their learning and understanding to an authentic audience.  

An example to further articulate my position would be the Genius Hour and 20time Project.  Both of these projects require the teacher to provide the time, space, and resources for students to pursue their own interests, passions, and curiosities.  Moreover, the teacher doesn't necessarily have to know anything about the subject matter.  All teachers must do is provide the structure and tools in order to support and coach students throughout the process.  I am wrapping up my second year of teaching a middle school 20time Project elective and I have become a co-learner along side my students for every project.  Not surprisingly, they have delivered some pretty amazing presentations on their projects!

To quote Dan Meyer, I have learned to "be less helpful" as my students research and explore their ideas. This ultimately primes students to become more independent, lifelong learners.  After all, how do we expect students to ever learn anything outside of school if they are dependent on teachers for content knowledge?

What would your design of today's TPACK model look like?  Would you keep it the same, or make a change?

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