Understanding the TPACK framework (EDER 679.10)

The TPACK framework integrates knowledge in technology, pedagogy and content as illustrated in this picture.  This approach “goes beyond seeing these three knowledge bases in isolation” (Koehler, 2011), the knowledge in integrative and interconnected.

A good 21st century educator, should possess some level of understanding in all 3 categories represented by the center of the model (Kowch, 2013). I will provide an example of how a 21st century educator might ask questions using the different categories when considering the implementation of Twitter at the high school level:

Technological Knowledge (TK)

  • Has the school board approved this Web 2.0 tool?
  • Are students old enough to create an account?
  • Will students be able to access this Web 2.0 tool on the server?
  • Will they receive technical support with understanding how to use Twitter (i.e. hashtagging, Tweeting, following)?

Content Knowledge (CK)

  • What ELA outcomes would be targeted when Tweeting with a word limit of 140 characters?
  • Will spelling/syntax be considered if students Tweets are limited?
  • Will students be posting links to literary works discussed in class?

Pedagogical Knowledge (PK)

  • If my students learn best through social interactions, should Tweeting become a collaborative activity?
  • Will groups of students Tweet or individual Tweeting?
  • Will students receive mentorship through the process or will they be told what to do and then will do it?

Regardless of whether you are an edtech specialist, a learning leader or a generalist, one should always aim to use each section of the TPACK framework when planning instruction. If you fail to consider pedagogy when implementing Twitter, students may lack the instructional mentorship they require to successfully Tweet about learning. If you fail to consider content, students may end up Tweeting about anything, including subjects that are off-topic and not specific to the curriculum. If you fail to consider technology, you may not even realize that students have no technical support or may not be old enough to join Twitter. Ignoring certain sections can negatively affect learning and your instruction.

A well-rounded edtech specialist incorporates all aspects of the TPACK framework. If they didn’t, they would be an IT person (Kowch, 2013), as opposed to a technology educator.


Koehler, M. (2011). TPACK explained. Retrieved from http://www.tpack.org/

Kowch, E. (2013). EDER 679.10 Lecture.


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