Technological Pedagogical Content...
Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A Framework for Teacher Knowledge PUNYA MISHRA MATTHEW J. KOEHLER1 Michigan State University Research in the area of educational technology has often been critiqued for a lack of theoretical grounding. In this article we propose a conceptual framework for educational technology by building on Shulman���s formulation of ������pedagogical con- tent knowledge������ and extend it to the phenomenon of teachers integrating technology into their pedagogy. This framework is the result of 5 years of work on a program of research focused on teacher professional development and faculty development in higher education. It attempts to capture some of the essential qualities of teacher knowledge required for technology integration in teaching, while addressing the complex, multifaceted, and situated nature of this knowledge. We argue, briefly, that thoughtful pedagogical uses of technology require the development of a complex, situated form of knowledge that we call Technological Pedagogical Content Knowl- edge (TPCK). In doing so, we posit the complex roles of, and interplay among, three main components of learning environments: content, pedagogy, and technology. We argue that this model has much to offer to discussions of technology integration at multiple levels: theoretical, pedagogical, and methodological. In this article, we de- scribe the theory behind our framework, provide examples of our teaching approach based upon the framework, and illustrate the methodological contributions that have resulted from this work. The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them. ���Sir William Henry Bragg The advent of digital technology has dramatically changed routines and practices in most arenas of human work. Advocates of technology in ed- ucation often envisage similar dramatic changes in the process of teaching Teachers College Record Volume 108, Number 6, June 2006, pp. 1017���1054 Copyright r by Teachers College, Columbia University 0161-4681
and learning. It has become clear, however, that in education the reality has lagged far behind the vision. Why? Part of the problem, we argue, has been a tendency to only look at the technology and not how it is used. Merely introducing technology to the educational process is not enough. The question of what teachers need to know in order to appropriately incorporate technology into their teaching has received a great deal of attention recently (International Society for Technology in Education, 2000 National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, 1997 U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment, 1995 U.S. Department of Education, 2000 Zhao, 2003). It has become clear, however, that our primary focus should be on studying how the tech- nology is used (Carr, Jonassen, Litzinger, & Marra, 1998 Mishra & Koehler, 2003). Some of this oversight can be attributed to the lack of theoretical grounding for developing or understanding this process of integration (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1999, 2001 Issroff & Scanlon, 2002 Selfe, 1990). Most educational technology research con- sists of case studies, examples of best practices, or implementations of new pedagogical tools. Of course, good case studies, detailed examples of best practices, and the design of new tools for learning are important for build- ing understanding. But they are just the first steps toward the development of unified theoretical and conceptual frameworks that would allow us to develop and identify themes and constructs that would apply across diverse cases and examples of practice. As Selfe argued, [An] atheoretical perspective . . . not only constrains our current ed- ucational uses of computers, but also seriously limits our vision of what might be accomplished with computer technology in a broader social, cultural, or educational context. Until we examine the impact of com- puter technology . . . from a theoretical perspective, we will continue, myopically and unsystematically, to define the isolated pieces of the puzzle in our separate classrooms and discrete research studies. Until we share some theoretical vision of this topic, we will never glimpse the larger picture that could give our everyday classroom efforts direction and meaning. (p. 119) Developing theory for educational technology is difficult because it re- quires a detailed understanding of complex relationships that are contex- tually bound. Moreover, it is difficult to study cause and effect when teachers, classrooms, politics, and curriculum goals vary from case to case. One approach, called design experiments, honors this complexity and has recently gained prominence in educational research (Brown, 1992 Cobb, Confrey, diSessa, Lehrer, & Schauble, 2003 Design-Based Research 1018 Teachers College Record
Collective, 2003). Design experiments, as a research methodology, empha- size the detailed implementation and study of interventions with evolving pedagogical goals in rich authentic settings. It acknowledges the complex- ities of classroom teaching and enlightens both practitioners and research- ers by leading to the development of theoretical ideas grounded in contexts of practice design experiments narrow the gap between research and practice, between theory and application. Over the past 5 years, we have been involved in conducting a design experiment aimed at helping us understand teachers��� development toward rich uses of technology while simultaneously helping teachers���both K���12 teachers and university faculty���develop their teaching with technology. This work has informed theory and practice and has been represented through a range of publications. Our work has been aimed at theoreticians and researchers, as well as practitioners and educators. We have published this work in the name of theory (Ferdig, Mishra, & Zhao, 2004 Mishra, Koehler, & Zhao, in press Mishra, Zhao, & Tan, 1999), empirical research (Koehler & Mishra, 2005 Koehler, Mishra, Hershey, & Peruski, 2004 Ko- ehler, Mishra, & Yahya, in press Koehler, Mishra, Yahya, & Yadav, 2004 Vyas & Mishra, 2002) and practical applications (Koehler & Mishra, 2002 Mishra, 2005 Mishra, Hershey, & Cavanaugh, in press Wong, Mishra, Koehler, & Siebenthal, in press). In this article we step back from the individually published pieces to offer a bird���s-eye view of the conceptual framework that has emerged from this body of work. This is precisely one of the main goals of conducting design experiments: to not only use theory to provide a rationale for the intervention or to interpret findings but also to help ������develop a class of theories about both the process of learning and the means that are designed to support learning������ (Cobb et al., 2003). Having a framework goes beyond merely identifying problems with current approaches it offers new ways of looking at and perceiving phenomena and offers information on which to base sound, pragmatic decision making. In this particular context, the implications of developing a framework go beyond a coherent way of thinking about technology integration. We argue that a conceptually based theoretical framework about the relationship be- tween technology and teaching can transform the conceptualization and the practice of teacher education, teacher training, and teachers��� professional development. It can also have a significant impact on the kinds of research questions that we explore. In the sections that follow, we will address these related issues in the following order: (1) We introduce the technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK) framework for thinking about teacher knowledge and how it informs the debate on what teachers need to know (and how they might develop it) (2) we show how our pedagogical approach to teachers��� Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge 1019
professional development, learning technology by design, leads to the devel- opment of TPCK and (3) we discuss, and provide examples of, how this framework has guided our research and analysis of the effectiveness of our pedagogical approach. An additional goal of this article is to offer an ex- ample of a research program that brings together the pragmatic and the theoretical, the practical and the abstract. We hope to show that the power of this multifaceted program lies in the combining of these different ap- proaches and in its ability to speak to researchers and practitioners alike.2 A FRAMEWORK FOR TEACHER KNOWLEDGE FOR TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION The basis of our framework is the understanding that teaching is a highly complex activity that draws on many kinds of knowledge. Teaching is a complex cognitive skill occurring in an ill-structured, dynamic environment (Leinhardt & Greeno, 1986 Spiro, Coulson, Feltovich, & Anderson, 1988 Spiro, Feltovich, Jacobson, & Coulson, 1991). Like expertise in other com- plex domains, including medical diagnosis (Lesgold, Feltovich, Glaser, & Wang, 1981 Pople, 1982), chess (Chase & Simon, 1973 Wilkins, 1980), and writing (Hayes & Flower, 1980 Hillocks, 1986), expertise in teaching is dependent on flexible access to highly organized systems of knowledge (Glaser, 1984 Putnam & Borko, 2000 Shulman, 1986, 1987). There are clearly many knowledge systems that are fundamental to teaching, includ- ing knowledge of student thinking and learning, and knowledge of subject matter. Historically, knowledge bases of teacher education have focused on the content knowledge of the teacher (Shulman, 1986 Veal & MaKinster, 1999). More recently, teacher education has shifted its focus primarily to pedagogy, emphasizing general pedagogical classroom practices independ- ent of subject matter and often at the expense of content knowledge (Ball & McDiarmid, 1990). We can represent this bifurcated way of looking at teacher knowledge as two circles independent of each other (Figure 1). For Figure 1. The Two Circles Representing Pedagogical and Content Knowledge. 1020 Teachers College Record
instance, different approaches toward teacher education have emphasized one or the other domain of knowledge, focusing on knowledge of content (C) or knowledge of pedagogy (P). Shulman (1986) advanced thinking about teacher knowledge by introducing the idea of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). He claimed that the emphases on teachers��� subject knowledge and pedagogy were being treated as mutually exclusive domains in research concerned with these domains (Shulman, 1987). The practical consequence of such exclusion was production of teacher education pro- grams in which a focus on either subject matter or pedagogy dominated. To address this dichotomy, he proposed considering the necessary relationship between the two by introducing the notion of PCK. PCK exists at the intersection of content and pedagogy. Thus, it goes beyond a simple consideration of content and pedagogy in isolation from one another. PCK represents the blending of content and pedagogy into an understanding of how particular aspects of subject matter are organized, adapted, and represented for instruction. Shulman (1986) argued that having knowledge of subject matter and general pedagogical strategies, though necessary, was not sufficient for capturing the knowledge of good teachers. To characterize the complex ways in which teachers think about how particular content should be taught, he argued for ������pedagogical con- tent knowledge������ as the content knowledge that deals with the teaching process, including ������the ways of representing and formulating the subject that make it comprehensible to others������ (p. 9). For teachers to be successful, they would have to confront both issues (content and pedagogy) simulta- neously by embodying ������the aspects of content most germane to its teach- ability������ (p. 9). At the heart of PCK is the manner in which subject matter is transformed for teaching. This occurs when the teacher interprets the sub- ject matter and finds different ways to represent it and make it accessible to learners. The notion of PCK has been extended and critiqued by scholars after Shulman (for instance, see Cochran, King, & DeRuiter, 1993 van Driel, Verloop, & De Vos, 1998). In fact, Shulman���s (1986) initial description of teacher knowledge included many more categories, such as curriculum knowledge and knowledge of educational contexts. Matters are further complicated by the fact that Shulman has himself proposed multiple lists, in different publications, that lack, in his own words, ������great cross-article con- sistency������ (p. 8). Our emphasis on PCK is based on Shulman���s acknowl- edgement that pedagogical content knowledge is of special interest because it iden- tifies the distinctive bodies of knowledge for teaching. It represents the blending of content and pedagogy into an understanding of how particular topics, problems, or issues are organized, represented, and Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge 1021