maandag 28 november 2011

Refection of working with TPACK:

When writing a professional development course based on a TPACK framework, you should be able to work with TPACK yourself. When working with TPACK I first had to learn what TPACK was. During a course on University Twente I first heard about the TPACK model.
At first I wasn’t sure how this model would work, but when I got to know the model I saw that it was a nice and practical model, I got convinced. The part  I like most is that the model itself is based upon a model that teachers (and I) can relate to.
During the development of the professional development course we had to integrate TPACK as well. Not only on how to teach it, but also during the course itself. So we had to make sure that our course itself was TPACK. This wasn’t as easy as I first thought, an important part why I found this difficult is that I didn’t know all the possibilities of the different technologies. I know that it is impossible to keep up with all of them, but still I felt like a novice. Although I already saw a lot of examples during lectures, I still found it difficult to not only use a technology, but to use it in a way that it would enhances the course.
So the actual integration part was indeed the difficult part. I realized that it was easy to add technology, but integrating was a different story. But I think we did succeeded in this part, during the course we made sure that the instructors used technology as well. The variety could be larger, but I think that experience also plays a part in this aspect. The more experienced you become in integrating technology, the more different possibilities you'll get to know.
But I do think that it is important to start working with TPACK, for teachers but also for educational designer. In the future I will be an educational designer, so if I expect teachers to start integrating technology in their teaching, I should give an example by integrating it as well. To do this probably, I think I need extra practice.
During the a lecture I did TPACK survey to measure my TPACK, if the course is over I will complete the survey again. I am curious if my TPACK will have gone up.

How to stimulate teachers on integrating technology:

At this moment a lot of teachers use technology in their teaching, but they only use technology as a replacement in stead of an enhancement in teaching. I think a lot of teachers find it difficult and time consuming to figure out how technology can help them and increase learning outcomes of their pupils.
  • I think a way to stimulate teachers is to show how important it is to keep up with society. I think that teachers already see that a lot of pupils know how to use different kinds of technology. Probably more kinds of technologies than the teachers know themselves. By showing the teachers that it is important to keep up with these developments, might change the attitude of teachers. But I don’t think that only this method will be enough to stimulate teachers.
  • It could be combined with showing the different possibilities. This is another way to stimulate teachers on integrating technology. By showing the different possibilities you can create positive attitudes. I also think that it helps because teachers see people that have been in the same position as themselves and therefore can relate with them. The teachers can tell each other how they overcame difficulties and the teachers that haven’t started integrating technology can ask questions and talk about their uncertainties.
  • These are possibilities for teachers that are already teaching, but are also possible for pre-service teachers. If you integrate this in the subjects given during teacher training, you make sure that the new generation integrates technology as well.

All if this indicates that there is still a lot of work to do for educational designers and teachers!

Reflection on the professional development course:

During the last few weeks, I wrote a proposition for a professional development course for primary teachers about how to integrate technology in science lessons. I did this together with two fellow students; for all of us it was the first professional development course that we wrote.
First I will summarize the course in a nutshell.
The course is written for all members that work on primary school, and the content of the course is how to integrate technology into science education. The course will take place on the participating school. The course consists of seven meetings, during the first two meeting the instructor will construct vision and discuss possibilities and talk about the attitude towards using technology in science education. In the third meeting the members of the participating school will visit an exemplary school that already integrates technology. This way we hope to gain a positive attitude towards using technology and showing the school members what the possibilities are. After the visit to another school the school members will start designing science lessons with technology integrated. In the last lecture the school members will reflect upon the course and the instructor will discuss possibilities how to scale-up.

During the development of this course I found it very important that the course would be practical for the participating school. We all agreed upon this, so it was one of the main goals for the course. One of the other fellow students and me did teacher training before; and have experience in teaching. I  think this was an advantage during the development of this course.
Because of this, we could make an educated guess what the teachers attitudes would be on integrating technology and on the course itself. Personally I think this shows in our proposal, because it is very practical and I think school members could really see the advantages of using technology in science education. We kept is ‘small’, it only for one school at the time and in their own environments to make sure the conditions were optimal. This way, I think we made it more alike that it could really be implemented.
On the other hand, having the teacher training as a prior knowledge may also be a disadvantage. I noticed that by thinking very practically, I forgot to base my decisions on literature; but started basing decisions on experience (which is very teacher like). So I really had to keep in mind, that I could not only base my decisions on experience or what I thought was right, but I had to look for answers in literature.
I found this quite difficult, because immediately when I read the assignment; a hundred ideas came up, which all seemed great. But non of these were based on literature.

So one of the first things we did was look for literature, this way the ideas could be adopted or dismissed based upon facts. Very quickly we came up with a framework for our final idea, now the only problem was how to shape the framework in a good course. For this we had quite some difficulties, partly these were because of the broad description what the professional development course had to address. One the one hand its nice to have a broad description, because that way there are little restrictions. But unfortunately for us we understood the assignment a slightly wrong and first started writing a TPACK course for primary school teachers.
When we got redirected into the right direction we luckily could conclude that without very large changes we could adapt the course into the right direction. But still I found it a bit difficult to make a good distinction between teaching TPACK and teaching how to integrate technology and therefore become TPACK. To my opinion these things are closely related, because to become TPACK you have to know what TPACK is. But knowing what TPACK is, does not necessarily make you TPACK; so teaching only TPACK would not have been enough.

Aside from making the course practical and use the experience of teacher training to assure the possibility for implementation, we also used literate. We used the model of Nies, et al. (2009) that has five different stages for the adoption (or rejection) of integrating technology (and become TPACK). Even though we used information from both resources (literature and experience), I realized that implementation is a very difficult aspect.
If I look at our course, I realize that we stated our course on the assumption that if team members will talk, discuss and see (on the site visit) the possibilities; they will get a positive attitude towards integrating technology into science education. If not, the team members will maybe not want to design lessons to integrate technology, they might still feel that it takes too much effort. Therefore I think that even if you design a professional development course in detail, and everything is substantiated with literature and previous experiences it can still fail.
Probably the instructor should be very flexible, should be open to ideas of the team members, and a good negotiator to improve the changes of really implementing a sustainable innovation.

dinsdag 25 oktober 2011


This week I will write about TPACK. TPACK is a model designed for teachers to help them integrate technology into their teaching. First I will explain the TPACK model (Koehler & Mishra, 2009) and then I will reflect on the model.
There are a couple of dimensions in TPACK, in the model you see three circles that overlap each other and a bleu circle around these three circles. The three circles in the middle are circles that the teacher can influence, the bleu circle around is the context of the school. First I’m going to explain the three circles in the middle.
TPACK stands for Technology, pedagogy and content knowledge. It is a model used in education to show how to integrate technology.
TK in TPACK stands for Technology Knowledge: The TK is knowledge about when to uses which kind of technology and how to use this kind of technology.
P in TPACK stands for Pedagogy Knowledge:
The PK is about the way the teacher educates. There are many different learning styles and a teacher can work with different insights. Examples of different pedagogies are problem based learning and inquiry learning.
CK in TPACK stands for Content Knowledge:
The CK is about the 'what'. It is about what the students should learn, which subjects and which domains of the subject. So for example it is not only about the subject geography but also what domains of geography should be included.
The model is based upon the older model of Shulman (1986) that show how important it is to integrate the pedagogy with the content, as shown on the left. The kind of pedagogy that the teacher uses is dependent on the content that the teacher is using. These depend on each other so it is a different pedagogy for a different kinds of content. The knowledge that the teacher uses to implement this kind of teaching is called Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK). This kind of knowledge is used if the teacher interprets the content and can represent it in multiple ways, so using different kind of pedagogies.
The TPack model ads another aspect, Technology Knowledge (TK). Due to adding only one aspect, there are more knowledge aspects that the teacher has to possess to integrate these aspects. These different knowledge aspect are: Technical Content Knowledge (TCK), Technical Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK) and final Technical Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK). 
TCK is about how the technology can support and improve the content. The technology can be different within different subjects, but also within different phases in the line of learning of a content.
TPK is about how the technology supports and improves the pedagogy, different kinds of technologies can be used for different pedagogies or different phases within the lesson.
The teacher first has to know the three different aspects of CK, PK and TK apart from each other and then learn how to integrate these with each other, to improve the effectiveness of the lesson and thereby the efficiency. Then the teacher can use TPACK in his teaching. TPACK means that the teacher integrates all of these different kinds of knowledge in his teaching. During the preparation of the lessons, the teacher has to think of ways how technology can improve the learning outcome about the content that he is teaching within a specific pedagogy. I will come back to this in the reflection on TPACK.
Around the TPACK model there is a blue circle, this is the context. The context is the environment where the TPACK model is implemented. A teacher can think of a wonderful lesson, that includes all of the aspect of TPACK’s inner three circles, but if the school where the teacher works doesn’t have the resources he can’t give the lesson. Context is important in every lesson, based upon TPACK or not, the context has a big influences on the possibilities and the restrictions of teaching.

Reflection on TPACK:
Integrating technology into school and learning isn’t new, since computers were of a decent size that they could fit into a classroom they have been integrated into the school interior. Unfortunately in most cases, this is were integration stopped. A lot of should use technology in some kind of way, most classrooms have computers, and the interactive whiteboards are immuring into Dutch classrooms. Teachers use technology sometimes, but they don’t integrate it into their teaching. In comparison with the TPACK model, the technology is used next to PK and CK as illustrated below.
In practice this means that the technology doesn’t improve or supports the pedagogy that the teacher is using, or the content that the teacher is teaching. During a lecture in my University the professor showed us a film. In the particular part of the film they showed a (wise old) professor lecturing his students, using very inspiring words about how it is the students time to learn and that we are at the beginning of a new era. Namely the era were technology is integrated into teaching. It showed students that were following his lecture on distance by watching it on a laptop or I-pad. First it really seemed very inspiring, but afterwards it was explained that this is how technology is already being used! The fact that students watched the lecture from a distance, doesn’t influence how is being taught (PK) or what is being taught (CK). Another example is teachers using a whiteboard in exactly the same way as a chalkboard. This is such a same, because with more knowledge technology can help a teacher in his teaching and thereby improve students’ learning outcomes. By using this model, teachers are ‘forced’ to think about all the different aspects and how to integrate these with each other. Because integration is essential for improvement, and this is one of the strengths of T-PACK.
Furthermore I think that another strength is that it is based upon an exciting model. This model is very natural for teachers, namely the model of Shulman (1986) which I already introduced before. I think a lot of teachers can relate to this model, because they understand how important it is that the pedagogy and the content is integrated with each other. Also, teachers learn in teacher training that they should build upon prior knowledge. So they also like to learn new aspects based on their prior knowledge, this way it is less ‘invasive’ then a model that they can’t relate to.
TPACK also reminds me about another model, namely the model of the ‘spider web’ by van den Akker (2003). Van de Akker (2003) states that if you want to change something in a curriculum you have a address not only what you want to implement, but you also have to think about the effect this has on other elements of the curriculum. So if you want to implement technology into your teaching, as a teacher, you have to take the content, pedagogy and the context into account. This aligns with the idea of the TPACK model.
So in conclusion, I think that the TPACK model can help teachers a lot in how they should integrate technology and thereby improve their teaching.


Koehler, J. M. & Mishra, P. (2009) What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Isseus in Technology and Teacher Education, 9. 70-60 (1)
Akker, J. van den (2003). Curriculum perspectives: An introduction. In J. van den Akker, W. Kuiper & U. Hameyer (Eds.), Curriculum landscapes and trends (1-10). Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4-14

zondag 9 oktober 2011

Reflection on SimSchool

In my opinion SimSchool can be used as an eye opener. In the Netherlands there are many students that just finished high school and don't really know what they want to do. The ones that want to do 'something' with children, usually start with teacher training. Not all teacher training facilities start with internships in the first year, what leads to a lot of students in the second or even third year that teach for the first time and then realize it isn't as easy as it looks. During this process a lot of students drop out, because they realize they can't handle it or that they don't like it.
I think that SimSchool can be used to eliminate this problem, there comes a lot more to teaching than just being sweet and being good with children.
During the simulation you can see how easily children get distracted and that it takes a lot of work to provide a suitable activity for all of the pupils. Using this program instead of a real internships speeds up the process of realizing this. So this technological resource helps students of the teacher training. It also helps the teacher training facility itself, because they don't have to look for so many places for internships and they can concentrate their time on students that really want to become teachers.
I think it also helps matching learning activities with pupils characteristics. As I already said, different pupils have different learning styles, so they also want to learn in different ways. By using this simulation the teacher can try which activity suits best with which personality. Because the program goes six times faster then the real world, the teacher can try more activities then he could try in the real world. This also is an advantage on a simulation, so thumbs up for technology.
But there also are a couple of this I didn't like about SimSchool. As I said in the beginning of this reflection, I think that SimSchool is a good eye opener. By this statement I mean that it is a good program to support a lesson in teacher training, but that SimSchool alone isn't going to be enough. During teaching, the way you present an activity is just as important as the activity itself. In the simulation you haven't got any influence on how the activity is presented to the pupils. It also doesn't take into account if the pupils are in a good mood today, if it is almost weekend or the start of the week. All these elements are very important during teaching. Therefore I think that SimSchool is a nice activity to start a lesson, but that after using it for a while the professor has to teach about the environmental factors as well.
Another aspect that I realized wasn't during the lesson with Everly, but during a lesson with more pupils in the classroom. I wanted to connect the students individual needs to the activities. But when I was doing this, I realized that this was impossible in the real world, because there was a student taking a test, a student was playing a game and another student was leading an discussion. If this would happen in a real classroom, the pupils would distract each other, but in the simulation everyone was happy.
Therefore I stay with my statement, I think SimSchool is a good eye opener and can help students realize how difficult it is to control a classroom filled with children and see all of the different learning styles and activities. But in my opinion it can only be used for this context, otherwise it seem doesn't to take enough factors into account, such as presentation and environmental factors.

Pedagogies and Technology

This week I'm going to write about pedagogies and technology. It is about different types of pedagogies and learning activities, I will illustrate this subject with a program called simSchool.
SimSchool is a program that can be used during teacher training for the elementary school, the program provides simulations of a classroom that you (as a teacher) have to run. You can create a classroom, filled with students (as many or little as you want) all with individual characters and learning styles. If you run the simulation you can choose from different learning activities. As the teacher you can give the whole class the same activity or you can give individual activities, but you have to take the different learning preferences of the students into account before giving an activity. Every student prefers other activities, as a teacher you will have to find a balance to meet every students preferences.
During the simulation you can give the students comments and ask question, these can help motivate, complement the student or it can put him back to work when the student is distracted. After the lesson you can see a graph of different factors that concerns the students actions to the lesson. For example if the student liked the lesson or if his academic level went up. This gives you a good picture of how you did as a teacher. 

To try this program I followed a description of a module that was written for a student. In this simulation there was just one student, named Everly, in the classroom. If you clicked on the class computer and then on Everly's picture, you could read about his personality and how he liked to learn. Everly is a student that likes to be stimulated and likes interaction, so activities where he can work in a group would be good for Everly.
The activities that are prescribed in the module are:
- Go over last week’s lessons
- Take notes during lecture
- Take an oral quiz
These are all individual activities, so I geuss Everly isn't going to be happy with this lesson. I described the lesson below:

Everly is distracted from the start and you can see that his academic level is dropping, meanwhile his happiness isn't chancing, but is clearly isn't a right activity for Everly. Then I move on to the next activity, taking notes during lecturing. Everly is paying more attention to this activity and his academics and happiness are rising. But the second that I start the oral quiz, Everly is distracted again and his academics are dropping again. Luckily his happiness stays the same.
In this graphic below the teacher effectiveness is shown, as you can see the effectiveness is 0%.

My prediction that the activities that were instructed in the module didn't match Everly's preferences were right, he didn't like the lesson. His learning outcomes were low and he wasn't motivated, therefior this lesson was ineffective.

vrijdag 30 september 2011


My first blog will be about flexibility, focussed on how a teacher can be flexible during a course. Therefore I will describe five different types of flexibility that can be used in the classroom. By being more flexible as a teacher, usually leads to more motivated learners because they feel ownership over their own learning and the course. But being flexible requires a lot of the teacher.
Furthermore I found a website that supported being flexible. On website you can design your own e-learning coure. E-learning is a way of flexible learning, because you can decide yourself when and where (as long as there is a computer and Internet) you learn. With this site, a teacher could redesign his lessons so that the content can be learned on-line.
the site is: 

five types of flexibility:
1. Flexible in topics of the content
A teacher can be flexible in the content of a course, by that I mean that the learners can decide what they want to learn. There are different levels of flexibility. For example, learners can decide the subject of a course, if they want to learn about something, a course will be designed. A more controlled level of flexibility is that learners can decide the subgoals of a course. In this case the subject and main goal is already chosen by the teacher. If there is no flexibility on this aspect, the content of the course is set by the teacher and the learners can't make any decisions about the content of the course.
2. Flexible in time schedule

If the teacher want to be flexible in the time schedule, he can decide with the learners when the lectures should take place. For example, if many learners only want lectures in the early morning or only on one day a week they can look at the possibilities. If the schedule only concerns one learner, this is not to difficult. If this is with a whole class, the teacher has to negotiate with the learners in order to come to an agreement. If the teacher is not flexible on this aspect, it means that there is a set schedule that can't be changed.
3. Flexible in assessment
A teacher can also be flexible in the way he assesses learners. Traditionally an assessment is equal for every learner, every learner makes the same test. The teacher could be flexible in this aspect by giving learners a choice in how they want to be assessed. Examples are assessment by a test, writing a paper, making a presentation or designing an object.
4. Flexible in materials
It is very easy for a teacher to use materials he is familiar with, this is in his comfort zone. This way lessons usually look alike and can be experienced as boring. If the teacher is flexible in using different materials, learners usually are more concentrated. Examples of being flexible with materials can be using different kind of multimedia (interactive white-boards, computers, television and radio) or different kind of concrete materials (posters, power-point sheets, newspapers, or lesson-materials such as counting racks).  These can be used to enrich the classroom environment, support the content or to enhance the lessons.
5. Flexible in group size
With flexibility in group size I mean that the teacher can give the possibility to let the learners choose if they want to work in group, pairs or alone. Usually if the teacher thinks of an assignment, he also decides how and with who the learner should complete the assignment. By letting the learners choose, the teacher is  more flexible and giving the learners more ownership of the course.