Beyond Apps in Pre-Service Education: Unpacking Perceptions of TPACK and Global Competencies

Beyond Apps in Pre-Service Education: Unpacking Perceptions of TPACK and Global Competencies

Lesley Wilton (University of Toronto, Canada) and Clare Brett (OISE/University of Toronto, Canada)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7001-1.ch004


This chapter presents a multiyear case study in a two-year graduate teacher education program at a large urban university in Canada. This research studies how the incorporation of the TPACK theoretical framework and the concept of global competencies supports pre-service candidates' depth of pedagogical understandings when integrating technology into teaching practice. Online surveys were conducted with students attending a compulsory information and communications technology (ICT) course. Five instances of the course across a four-year time span were studied. Online questionnaires were also given to students and five instructors. Four themes were identified by students and instructors: (1) TPACK helps students integrate the three kinds of knowledge, (2) TPACK allows a focus on pedagogy by defocusing on technology, (3) TPACK is a robust theory, and (4) TPACK takes time to integrate into practice. This chapter offers teacher education program recommendations and suggests directions for future research.
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Teacher candidates in today’s pre-service programs must be engaged with twenty-first century pedagogies to prepare for a global, networked, and increasingly digital society (Adams Becker, Freeman, Giesinger Hall, Cummins, & Yuhnke, 2016; Ontario Ministry of Education [OME], 2016). The graduate-level teacher education program at the authors’ institution expanded from five to six semesters to align with increased professional accreditation expectations. One of the goals of the revised accreditation program is to focus on the integration of technology into teaching. According to the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT, 2017), the program should emphasize “the pedagogical role that technology can play in instruction and particularly to engage all learners within an understanding of pedagogy” (p. 13). The new accreditation expectations require pre-service programs to ensure that students acquire knowledge and skills related to “the intersection of technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge for instruction, assessment, creation, collaboration, and communication” (OCT, 2017, p. 13).

At the same time, twenty-first century teaching, pedagogies, and competencies are being proposed in Canadian educational jurisdictions (Gallagher & Rowsell, 2017). The twenty-first century competencies draft discussion document available in the early stages of this study provided an overview of proposed Ontario competencies (OME, 2016). In addition, it compares other frameworks or standards, including those proposed by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE, 2017) and the Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21, 2016). A study of Canadian curricula documents by Gallagher and Rowsell (2017) found that “there is no definitive policy or method of evaluating these skills of our 21st century learners” (p. 400). The authors noted limited identification of the incorporation of digital communication throughout Canadian curricula and call for teachers to modernize their instructional practices by incorporating digital resources and tools. Recently, the Ontario competencies document was updated to a Global Competencies overview (OME, 2017).

To investigate teacher education program goals, an inquiry as stance perspective (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999) serves to guide this examination of useful frameworks intended to deepen teacher candidate’s pedagogical understandings while developing the skills, abilities, and confidence to integrate technology into future teaching practices. In this chapter, the terms “pre-service” (program, student, or teacher) and “teacher education program” or “teacher candidate” are used interchangeably. See Key Terms and Definitions later in the chapter for a description of inquiry as stance, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), the overlapping terms of twenty-first century competencies and global competencies, TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) and SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition).

TPACK is a contextualized seven-factor theoretical framework which can guide the integration of technology into teaching (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). In a teacher education setting, the implementation of a TPACK framework was the most challenging when pedagogical knowledge was poorly developed or when technology knowledge received a higher level of focus (Pamuk, 2012). Balancing digital tools and pedagogical understandings of these tools can be complex in pre-service course planning. Educational scholars have been grappling with relationships between theory and practice in teacher education (Horowitz, Darling-Hammond, Bransford, Comer, Rosebrock, Austin, & Rust, 2005). Some scholars have examined intentional and meaningful contexts of theory and practice connections (Britzman, 2003; Broad, James, Baxan, Stewart Rose, & Wilton, 2014; Korthagen, 2010). However, the integration of and relationship among theories and frameworks (i.e., TPACK, SAMR and twenty-first century/global competencies) have not been sufficiently addressed in the literature.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Technologies used to create, disseminate, store, and manage information.

Digital Pedagogies: This term refers to pedagogical concepts that could not be realized without technology. This term is not intended to mean knowledge of teaching about how to use a computer.

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