Part Two: Beyond SAMR… Honoring Teacher Experience and Knowledge with TPACK

Part Two: Beyond SAMR… Honoring Teacher Experience and Knowledge with TPACK

Welcome to the second in this series of posts promting the idea of going to SAMR and beyond. Every school I visit that is attempting to integrate technology into instruction are also having conversations on SAMR. As I have talks with these schools, I tell them that SAMR is a wonderful place to start. At the same time, if we are to look at technology integration that promotes rigor and deeper thinking, we must integrate multiple concepts together. In this post I would like to introduce, or remind you of TPACK. I have found that TPACK is a model that honors teachers where they are at, what they have done, and their important next steps in technology integration. Before reading, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS, and also give me a follow… on Twitter at mjgormans. I promise you will find some wonderful information coming your way in the posts that follow…So sign up now and please pass this on with a retweet. Also remember you can book me for a conference or your school district with workshops that are informative, engaging, and practical. Check out my Booking Page and as always… thanks so much! Mike Gorman (

Part Two: Beyond SAMR… Honoring Teacher Experience and Knowledge with TPACK

The idea of TPACK has been around for some time. While it seems complex at first, it is actually quite simple. Best of all, I feel it honors teachers for the strengths they possess, while identifying areas they may wish to work on. There are actually three main areas that eventually cross over to each other as one investigates the model. This includes; TK (Technology Knowledge), PK(Pedagogical Knowledge), (A)and, CK(Content Knowledge). These are areas that teachers understand the label and can identify their varying degree of skill in each of the three. Please take a look at the image and further explanation below.

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As stated every teacher understands the ideas of the three knowledge areas including technology, pedagogy, and content. Let’s take this a step further and explore meaning for programs of one to one implementation and teacher professional development. A simple explanation is included below along with some great resources to get you started.

TK – At the top of the pyramid is Technology Knowledge. This represents a teacher’s knowledge of technology. This can be powerful for teachers in the facilitation of learning, but must go beyond technology as an isolated topic. Great knowledge of technology without good pedagogical skills and content knowledge will not go far.

PK – This represents a teacher’s knowledge and skill in pedagogy. A teacher’s ability to understand how students learn is imperative. At the same time, the use of technology must represent good pedagogical practice along with the understanding of content.

CK – The ability to understand the content is imperative to helping others understand and learn. We must also realize that knowing content still demands good pedagogical skills to relay it to learners. Technology can act as an amplifier to the process for a teacher that knows how to use it.

These above ideas are the core of the TPACK model. Every teacher can identify both their strengths and areas they may need to build on from these three areas. In this way TPACK honors past practice while suggesting areas to become more proficient in. What happens when we start combining these attributes?

TPK – This represents technology aligned with good pedagogy. This takes the knowledge of technology farther and demands that teachers use technology that is pedagogically sound. This is one aspect of going beyond just the technology shine. If a teacher has good pedagogical skills they will be able to see possibilities when provided PD on certain technology.

TCK – This represents technology aligned with good content knowledge. This actually is the other end of going beyond the technology shine. It demands the idea of how technology can amplify the content standards. A teacher with strong content knowledge and technology skills will see amazing content possibilities and resources available for learning.

PCK – This provides the idea of strong content aligned with good pedagogical skills. This is often the most common pairing that I see when working with teachers. We have many teachers that have a history of knowing their content and various ways to allow learning to happen.

What happens when we bring this altogether? As this happens we see the full benefit of bringing technology to the classroom. This truly is a technology transformational experience. Let’s take a look.

TPACK – The outcome is Technology Knowledge aligned with Pedagogical Knowledge AND Content Knowledge. Often this is called the center… or sweet spot. This is the goal of any one to one program. In fact, many programs struggle because technology PD is isolated from good pedagogy and proper emphasis on content. Teachers are learning tool after tool as PD is centered on the device. PD must be centered on the student learning and TPACK offers this as an understandable possibility.

Not only does TPACK provide a model to set up teacher learning and one to one facilitation, it also provides several avenues to support teachers. First, it honors teachers and the skills they possess, while giving them areas to grow in. It provides teaming and co-teaching possibilities. Imagine teachers with the various skill attributes planning a lesson or a PBL together. We find strengths from all three areas of TPACK coming together in a powerful way for students. Imagine a PD where teachers learn in diverse groups aligned to areas of TPACK. The teachers with vast pedagogical and content skills might learn from the tech savvy teachers, who in turn learns important pedagogical practices and content from the others. Take a moment to learn more about TPACK at the sites I have provided below. – This is the mothership site of everything about TPACK

CITE Journal – Examine two article that investigate TPACK

CommonSenseMedia – A wonderful video that explains in a very understandable way how TPACK works with good technology integration.

Edutopia – You may wish to investigate this article entitled, How to Integrate Tech when it Keeps Changing

Too Cool For School – Wonderful Learning and Leading with Technology Article that provides TPACK insight.

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Michael Gorman oversees one-to-one laptop programs and digital professional development for Southwest Allen County Schools near Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is a consultant for Discovery Education, ISTE, My Big Campus, and November Learning and is on the National Faculty for The Buck Institute for Education. His awards include district Teacher of the Year, Indiana STEM Educator of the Year and Microsoft’s 365 Global Education Hero. Read more at