TPACK in practice: a qualitative study of middle school Social Studies teachers in a 1:1 laptop environment

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Miguel Gomez (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Wayne Journell

Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine what effective teaching with technology looked like in practice within middle grade Social Studies’ classrooms. An additional purpose was to understand how teachers’ combine content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and technological knowledge when making decisions about their curriculum. Guiding this study was a conceptual framework that suggests effective teaching with technology comes from technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK), a knowledge that is created by combining content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and technological knowledge (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). Lakeside Middle School was selected for this study due to both its commitment to technology integration and its implementation of a school wide 1:1 laptop initiative. Three middle grade Social Studies’ teachers at Lakeside were selected, one each from 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classrooms. A multiple case study methodology was used in this study. An observation protocol, designed specifically to capture TPACK moments during observations, was developed. Multiple data sources (interviews, observations, focus group, and artifacts) were collected and analyzed for emerging themes about the TPACK practices of each teacher. Using the data collected, a descriptive case study was written for each teacher. These descriptive case studies identified examples, grouped thematically, of TPACK in practice. These descriptive case studies also recorded each teacher’s beliefs about teaching, technology in education, and their own placement within the TPACK framework. Data analysis suggested that that TPACK is developed uniquely in each teacher, shaped by their beliefs and strengths in teaching. Analysis of the data also suggested that the TPACK framework may need to be rethought, in order to fully capture TPACK in practice. Included in this are discussions about how the TPACK framework model fails to account for any of the three teachers’ TPACK practices, discussions about the model’s failure to differentiate between depth and breadth of TPACK knowledge, and discussions about other factors that influence TPACK in practice, including students and teaching environment. The study findings have implications for teacher educators, teachers, and policy makers. Specifically, teacher education courses need to be developed to address the lack of TPACK knowledge that preservice teachers have. Additionally, new professional development sessions are needed for practicing teachers that focus on developing both the depth and breadth of their TPACK practices.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Case Study, Middle Grade, Social Studies, Technology Integration, TPACK
Social sciences $x Study and teaching (Middle school)
Middle school education $x Effect of technological innovations on
Educational technology
Computer-assisted instruction
Pedagogical content knowledge

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