Context and Teaching with Technology in the Digital Age

Context and Teaching with Technology in the Digital Age

Joshua M. Rosenberg (Michigan State University, USA) and Matthew J. Koehler (Michigan State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8403-4.ch017
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Abstract

Context is an essential aspect of educational research. In this chapter, the authors discuss how context has been avoided or has referred to different constructs among educational technology research, especially among research on the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework. The authors discuss the descriptive, inferential, and practical implications of the framework for the context of teachers' TPACK advanced by Porras-Hernández and Salinas-Amescua (2013). Then, they exemplify the power of this framework by using it to guide a descriptive study conducted to determine the extent to which the publications included context. They also describe what researchers meant by context as understood through the framework for context. The authors found that context was important but often missing from research about TPACK and that the meaning of context has differed widely. They discuss these findings in relation to the TPACK literature as well as for educational technology research.
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Background

Although educational technology research has rarely included context, educational research broadly defined has a rather extensive history with context. In 1938, Dewey used the word “situation” in a way that aligns with present definitions for “context” and its stated importance. Around the same time, Vygotsky suggested that individuals’ contexts mediate their psychological development. In this section, we review of more recent definitions as a way of introducing key ideas and research approaches relevant to considering context in educational research.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Context as That Which Is Woven Together with an Object of Study: The things that are conceptually and analytically intertwined together with an object of study, in our case a teacher.

Knowledge of Context: A view of the relation between teachers’ TPACK and their context in which teachers develop situated knowledge of technology, pedagogy, and content, and the areas of knowledge that result from considering technology, pedagogy, and content in various combination in-context. From this view, directing attention to context in research on TPACK is achieved by considering how teachers develop situated , or context-dependent, knowledge in-context.

Micro: Classroom factors such as available technologies that reciprocally affect teachers and their practice.

Teacher: Teacher characteristics such as their beliefs, motivations, and other factors that affect teachers and their practice.

Knowledge In-Context: A view of the relation between teachers’ TPACK and their context in which teachers develop knowledge of context in addition to knowledge of technology, pedagogy, and content, and the areas of knowledge that result from considering technology, pedagogy, and content in various combinations. From this view, directing attention to context in research on TPACK is achieved by considering context as an additional area of knowledge.

Student: Student characteristics such as their beliefs, motivations, and other factors that reciprocally affect teachers and their practice.

Sociocultural Perspective: A psychological perspective that integrates cognitive, social, and motivational aspects of learning and development into a framework in which individuals learn and develop through participation in social activities. From this perspective, individuals do not learn and develop independently; instead, learning and development are inherently a process that occurs in complex contexts.

Context: The things in the environment that surround and are woven together with an object of study. Context has an extensive history in educational research but has a comparatively limited history in educational technology research.

Context as That Which Surrounds an Object of Study: The things that conceptually and analytically are around an object of study, in our case a teacher.

Macro: Societal factor such as national curricular standards that reciprocally affect teachers and their practice.

Meso: School factors such as the resources available to teachers that reciprocally affect teachers and their practice.

Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK): The knowledge teachers need to develop in order to be able to integrate technology into teaching. Specifically, teachers need to develop knowledge of technology, pedagogy, and content, and the domains of knowledge comprised from considering technology, pedagogy, and content together.

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