Sunday, August 11, 2013

Unpacking the TPACK

Before you tell me that you don’t want me anywhere near your backpack or your TPACK, let me explain. TPACK is simply a framework and yet another acronym that we can use in education. Except this acronym really matters (like all the others). According to, “The TPACK framework extends Shulman’s idea of Pedagogical Content Knowledge.” Props to Dr. Matthew Koehler, the editor of and many other publications around and about TPACK.
But it’s best to show, not tell, so here’s a nice, clean image that shows you exactly what TPACK is.

Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2013 by

See that spot in the middle where it all intersects? That’s the sweet spot. I’ve seen lots of explanations about what good teaching is, and lots of the definitions talk about balancing various parts of teaching and learning. But I like to use this framework, and I add my own perspective that the dotted purple line, circling the entire graphic, is relationships.
Practical Use
I find that introducing TPACK to teachers is really useful when beginning any technology integration training or online course. Helping all educators understand that it is not that any one of these elements superceded the others, but rather they are all interconnected in meaningful ways seems to help put words (and an image) to something that we all struggle with: how does tech, pedagogy and content play nicely together?
Try asking teachers, or yourself, to look at one or more lessons of study and rate how heavily they (or you) rely on one section over another. The goal is balance. For instance, think about a lesson on the novel, The Great Gatsby, how much of the instruction and assessments rely on content knowledge? How much meaningful integration and intersection is there of each of these sections?
In another vein, consider using this framework to address our own comfort levels with integrating technology. What is your strongest area of context? Pedagogical-Content? Where might you do well to improve your own skills and integrate all the contexts in a balanced way?
More Resources
Register for a free account on to access great resources on the TPACK Academy page
Follow updated information about TPACK on Twitter
Follow more updated information about TPACK on Google+

  • This post was cross-posted from the resource-building that I do with Sony, Inc., located at - please visit there for more information and great suggestions from other ambassadors across the United States.