Reflecting on 7 Weeks of Ed Tech Learning

How might we create professional learning experiences around TPACK?

How might we create professional learning experiences around TPACK?

The past seven weeks of my Teaching for Understanding with Technology course have flown by! Between launching global partnerships for my Pre-K to 2nd grade classes, setting up our new IDEA Studio, traveling to the Learning2 conference in Manila and, preparing classes for back to school night, life has been busy and I can’t believe my first course in the Graduate Certificate in Ed Tech at MSU is already over.

I had a chance to dive deeper into a variety of tech tools, including Popplet (mapping my PLN inspired me to reflect on how my PLN serves as a coach/mentor), Trello, Tinkercad, and our lower school Makerbot Replicator. Although what I am most excited about from this first course, more than any of the tools, is the new ways of processing and thinking about teaching and learning that I have explored.

I plan to keep testing and iterating my own version of the GTD approach and my visual task lists in Trello. I also want to continue exploring new 3D printing projects in Tinkercad and I feel like now that I have opened that door during this course, I can more easily walk through it with my students and support them in innovating with 3D printing technologies.

The idea of networked learning and using YouTube and help forums to learn new skills is also something I want to think about further. Since I am working with Pre-K to 2nd grade students, I want to invite my colleagues to share their pedagogical and content knowledge with me and co-construct a plan for using these tools in ways that would be both safe and meaningful for our young students. I am also excited to use the 21st century lesson plan I designed in the coming weeks in our kindergarten classes and support students in programing our robots to tell their stories.

Finally, I want to keep exploring the TPACK framework (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). I have used SAMR in professional learning experiences with the faculty at my school but I feel like that can limit the focus to the tools and run the risk of encouraging educators to be technocentric, something Dr. Mishra advises against (Mishra, 2012). I wonder if we need to take more time to talk about TPACK and the intersections between tools and teaching. Specifically, I think it could be helpful to focus on how tools can be used to redefine and transform learning when used in tandem with the pedagogical approaches and content that encourage deeper understanding.

The more I reflect on the different pieces of TPACK, the more I am convinced that no one piece can work alone. We have to look at our content and make sure it matches the world around us today (e.g., paper reading strategies vs. digital reading strategies), and do the same with our pedagogical approaches (e.g., teacher-directed learning vs. blended learning and inquiry-based teaching) and our technical tools (e.g., paper maps vs. Google Maps). I’m hoping to learn and reflect more on TPACK this year and find ways to talk more about it with my colleagues. I’m still unsure about the best ways to help more teachers and lessons apply the framework and successfully utilize the interconnectedness of technical pedagogical content knowledge. I’m also curious whether this framework can be a tool to build relationships and develop cross-disciplinary bridges. Can TPACK help break down silos between different subject areas and specials in schools?

The great thing about learning is that there are always new questions to consider and hopefully just as many opportunities to pause and reflect on how all of the pieces may or may not fit together.


 Mishra, P. (2012, March 26). Punya Mishra – keynote speaker @ 21st century learning conference – Hong Kong 2012 [Video file]. Retrieved from 

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054. Retrieved from download .pdf

Repurposing a Spatula and Exploring TPACK

Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by

This week I had a chance to spend some time thinking and learning more about the TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) framework, created by Dr. Mishra and Dr. Koehler (2006). You can watch this video for an in-depth overview of the model and here’s a quick two minute breakdown of the model.

I had to do some “cooking” with TPACK this week to experience the need to repurpose a tool, as we often do with technology to use it in the classroom. I asked a friend to randomly choose one kitchen utensil, one plate, and one bowl and then pick a number 1-5 that corresponded to what I needed to make. I ended up with the task of cutting cheese with a spatula! I discovered that the handle was probably more effective for really cutting up the deeper, harder parts of the cheese while the spatula itself could work for shaving off messy chunks. You can see my experiment in the video below.

While trying to complete my cheese task, I thought about how difficult work and learning can be when we are not using the right tool. I think it is easy to get caught up in wanting to use a specific tech tool because it is new or looks cool and we forget to assess whether it will really serve a valuable purpose in supporting our pedagogy and the content students are learning.

At the same time, having to repurpose a spatula reminded me of how important it can be to think outside of the box and get creative. I want students to develop a sense of which tools might best help them learn and also experiment with using technologies in ways that they were not originally designed to be used in hopes of hacking/facilitating the learning process.


Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054. Retrieved from download .pdf