TPACK for Pre-service Science and Mathematics Teachers

Research Paper (undergraduate), 2010

29 Pages


Table of Contents


CHAPTER ONE Science, Mathematics and ICT
1.0 Introduction
1.1 Problem Statement
1.2 Study Questions
1.3 Rationale of the Study
1.4 Overview of this study
1.5 Definition of terms

CHAPTER TWO The Origin of TPACK and Its Meaning in Education
2.0 Introduction
2.1 The Concept of TPACK
2.1.1 Technological Knowledge
2.1.2 Content Knowledge
2.1.3 Pedagogical Knowledge
2.1.4 Pedagogical Content Knowledge
2.1.5 Technological Pedagogical Knowledge
2.1.6 Technological Content Knowledge
2.1.7 Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge
2.2 Developing TPACK in Education

CHAPTER THREE TPACK in Science and Mathematics Teaching
3.0 Introduction
3.1 The Process of Integrating Technology, Pedagogy and Science/Mathematics
3.2 Summary and Way Forward

CHAPTER FOUR TPACK Framework for Pre-service Teachers
4.0 Introduction
4.1 Required TPACK Competencies for Teachers
4.2 TPACK Training Package for Pre-service Science and Mathematics Teachers

CHAPTER FIVE Conclusion and Recommendation



This article is focused on unveiling the concept of TPACK in relation to teaching and learning in science and mathematics as well as the meaning of TPACK for pre-service science and mathematics teachers training. In describing this, different literatures were consulted on the meaning of TPACK, its origin and the way it can be integrated in pre-service science and mathematics teacher preparation. It was noted from literature that TPACK is the core of good teaching with technology, and that it’s important for teachers to have an understanding of TPACK. Studies further show that the way pre-service teachers are taught to integrate technology, pedagogy and content is the same way they can implement the approach in their own teaching. In addition, studies argue for pre-service teachers to learn on how technology can help to enhance students learning in science and mathematics rather than learning how to teach technology. Different frameworks have been proposed on how to shift from teaching technology to using technology to enhance learning. For example some studies provide the curricular plans for developing pre-service teachers’ competencies of integrating technology pedagogy and content. To enhance pre-service teachers’ competency in technology integrations, some studies have reported the need for pre-service science and mathematics teachers to engage in the hands-on activities that reflect the real teaching with technology. Example of hands activities proposed in most studies includes planning of a lesson, presenting it to peers, getting critics from peers and re-planning it again. The cyclic development of the lesson is reported to enhance pre-service teachers’ competency in working with technology in a real classroom situation. It is therefore concluded that implementation of TPACK in pre-service teachers training should start with orientation of the pre-service teachers to the use of technology in teaching by providing them with sufficient opportunity to engage in hands-on activities.

Key words

Pre-service teachers, ICT, Technology integration, Teaching, Science and Mathematics

List of Tables and Figures

Table 1: Stages in Teachers’ TPACK Development

Table 2: Teacher training curricular goals and skills

Table 3: Technological Infusion Activities for Pre-service Teachers

Figure 1: TPACK framework (Koehler & Mishra, 2009)

Figure 2: Stages in Teachers TPACK Development (Niess et al, 2009)

CHAPTER ONE Science, Mathematics and ICT

1.0 Introduction

Science and mathematics subjects are currently placing a lot of challenges to teachers on how they teach and to students on how they learn. The increasing failure rates in these subjects have become a concern of all stakeholders in education: government, parents, students, curriculum developers and schools (Beauchamp & Parkinson, 2008; Ezeife, 2003). Many countries are experiencing a gradual dropdown on students’ participation and performance in science and mathematics subjects (Beauchamp & Parkinson, 2008; Mwinshekke, 2003; Royal Society, 2008). Some people see the failure in science and mathematics as resulting from the curriculum, others think is the result of poor teaching approaches and some think it results from students’ dislikes of those subjects (Beauchamp & Parknson, 2008). A study by ‘Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)’ shows that, achievement in science and mathematics is decreasing all over the world. Only few countries are having scores above the significantly TIMSS scale average which is 500, with the majority of countries having scores below 500 (Martin et al., 2008).

To enhance learning in science and mathematics, teachers need to have a focus on the relationship that exists between the educational task, the scientific concepts and technological tool that students use in responding to the task (Jahreie, 2010). According to Jahreie, majority of teachers and schools are paying more attention on pedagogy and content, forgetting the technological domain. The current discussion on teaching and learning all around the world are demanding the adoption of the learner centered approach rather than the traditional teacher centered approaches. However the adoption of learner centered approach, an approach widely promoted throughout the world, requires the use of educational technology which allows students to engage in a flexible learning that allow dynamism of learning in terms of location, time, materials, content and teaching approaches (Collis & Moonen, 2001).

Thus this paper proposes the adoption of information and communication technology (ICT) in science and mathematics teaching, as an alternative method to enhance teaching and leaning in these subjects. ICT implies any product that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit or receive information electronically in a digital form (Luppicini, 2005). Examples of ICTs includes; personal computers, digital television, email, digital camera and other electronic hardware and software. However, for the purpose of this paper more focus will be given on ICT in education, which refers to the instructional use of computers, television, and other kinds of electronic hardware and software (Luppicini, 2005). ICT in education or educational technology is sometimes used interchangeably with instructional technology which refers to the theory and practice of using technology for design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning (Moller, Huett & Harvey, 2009).

Many writers on educational technology describe technology in terms of digital and analogy technologies, but Koehler & Mishra (2009) argue that, “on an academic level, a pencil and a software simulation are both technologies. But the latter, is qualitatively different in that its functioning is more opaque to teachers and offers fundamentally less stability than more traditional technologies” (p. 61). According to Koehler & Mishra, by their nature, newer digital technologies, which are protean, unstable, and opaque, present new challenges to teachers who are struggling to use more technology in their teaching. Some of these challenges include social and contextual factors (Koehler and Mishra, 2009). To overcome these challenges, Kohler & Mishra call for an approach that treats teaching as an interaction between what teachers know and how they apply what they know in the unique circumstance or contexts within their classroom. In doing this, it is important for a teacher to realize that, “at the heart of good teaching there are three components: content, pedagogy, and technology, plus the relationship among and between them” (p.62). These three components form the core of the technological, pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) framework (Mishra & Koehler, 2006, 2009). The interplay between the various components of TPACK at a given context is what makes effective teaching with technology. This implies that technology integration in teaching science and mathematics should take into consideration the context under which learning is taking place and the specific characteristics of science and mathematics that can be supported by that particular technology.

1.1 Problem Statement

The presence of computers, televisions, radio, mobile phones, iPods, cameras etc in schools may not necessarily imply technology integration in education. The major question that schools and educational planners need to ask themselves is how best those technologies are being used to enhance learning. According to Bayler & Ritchie (2002), there are some schools which opt to place computers in labs, whereas others use group techniques in the classroom. As well there are teachers who focus on learning about computers while others focus on learning with computers. These differences on how technology is viewed and used by each educational stakeholder are hampering the positive effects that technology can bring on students’ learning. Given these differences on the view of technology among teachers and schools, the question “how can these schools and teachers integrate technology in education?” can be asked.

Although the integration of technological, pedagogical and content, is currently receiving great emphasis in the educational world, there is no evidence that teachers are properly integrating these components in their teaching. Thus this review is expected to provide the framework for developing technology integration skill and an understanding of TPACK framework and its meaning to pre-service science and mathematics teachers’ preparation. This will be done by proposing the required pre-service teachers’ training that can enhance pre-service teachers’ competencies in TPACK. This will help to define the role of teacher training colleges in developing ICT competencies for prospective teachers.

1.2 Study Questions

Based on the problem stated in the previous paragraph, the main question for this literature study is formulated as “What are the possibilities of the TPACK framework in relation to pre-service science and mathematics teachers preparation?” This question leads to other sub-questions as follows:

1. What is TPACK?
2. What do we know about TPACK in relation to science and mathematics teaching?
3. What does TPACK mean for pre-service science and mathematics teachers’ training?

1.3 Rationale of the Study

Technology integration in education is not a new phenomenon; it started since 1990s when computers were first introduced in education. Thus any discussion or study about technology integration in education should first analyze what was done from 1990s, what is being done and the future prospects of technology integration in education. In this regards, this literature study is carried out to draw a theoretical framework of what has been done to have technology integrated in education, what is being done at present and what are the possible opportunities in the integration of technology in education.

In recent years, a new model for teachers’ technology integration has been developed. This model requires teachers’ competency in technology pedagogy and content to form the technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK). To develop an understanding of the opportunities and challenges available in TPACK for pre-service science and mathematics teachers’ preparation, it is considered important to review what other researchers have done so far, what challenges they have encountered and what opportunities are available and how to utilize those opportunities. Additionally, this literature study was considered important in developing an understanding of underlying theories, principles, opportunities and challenges for developing pre-service science and mathematics teachers’ competency in TPACK.

1.4 Overview of this study

This book is organized into four chapters, each having specific areas of focus in addressing an understanding of TPACK and its meaning to science and mathematics teaching and pre-service teachers’ preparation. The first chapter introduces the concept of science and mathematics in relation to ICT, statement of the problem, research question and rationale of the paper. You will also find the concept of TPACK, and the interplay between components of TPACK in chapter two. Chapter three describes the relationship between TPACK and teaching of science and mathematics where as chapter four presents the meaning of TPACK for pre-service science and mathematics teaching.

1.5 Definition of terms

In this study the following terms will have the following meanings:

Technology will mean the know-how and creative processes that may assist people to utilize tools, resources and systems to solve problems and to enhance control over the natural and made environment in an endeavour to improve students’ learning.

Educational technology refer to the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.

Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) the essential qualities of knowledge required by teachers for technology integration in their teaching, while addressing the complex, multifaceted and situated nature of teacher knowledge. At the heart of the TPACK framework, is the complex interplay of three primary forms of knowledge: Content (CK), Pedagogy (PK), and Technology (TK).

Teacher education will refer to the policies and procedures designed to equip prospective teachers with the knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and skills they require to perform their tasks effectively in the classroom, school and wider community. With regard to this study, teacher education is divided into two categories:

- Pre-Service Teacher which will refer to students that are studying the required coursework in pedagogy, content of their specialty and technology and have not entered the teaching
- In-service teacher denotes the one who is delivering teaching/training whether paid or unpaid institution/organization

Pre-service Teacher Education is the education and training provided to student teachers before they have undertaken any teaching.

Competency refers to the ability to do something to a set agreed standard, normally measured by undertaking an observable process or producing a final product. Competency will be measured through knowledge, skills and ability to perform a given task.

CHAPTER TWO The Origin of TPACK and Its Meaning in Education

2.0 Introduction

One of the first pioneers of the integrated knowledge of teachers to deliver better learning outcomes was Shulman (1986) who focused on the importance of treating pedagogy and content knowledge as basic requirement for teacher training. Shulman traced literature as far back as 1870, when pedagogy was ignored and attention was paid on content, and further in 1980 when it was conspicuously absent. “I propose that we look back even further than those 1875 tests for teachers and examine the history of the university as an institution to discern the sources for this distinction between content knowledge and pedagogical method (Shulman, 1986, p. 6). Since the presentation of the idea of pedagogical and content knowledge as basis for teachers’ competencies necessary to deliver the required learning outcomes, there existed quietness until the early 1990s when the idea of technology started to be introduced in schools. In 1993, Marcinkiewicz, in his paper on factors influencing computer use in the classroom, tried to describe how easily or difficult computer technology could be integrated in teaching (cf. Voogt, 1993). Marcinkiewicz (1993) and Voogt (1993) focused their discussion on how the attitude of teachers towards computer use in teaching is important in having technology integrated in education. These publications were followed by development of the so called National Educational Technology Standards for teachers and students by ISTE in1998. These standards were reviewed by Roblyer in 2000 and provided a clear description on how best technology can be integrated in teaching to offer pleasing learning outcomes.

However most of studies done from 1990s to 2000 had more focus on the overall use of technology in education. These studies put less attention on the relationship between technology and the previously identified competencies for teachers on pedagogical and content knowledge (Shulman, 1986). In 2005 two publications were made on the integration of pedagogy, content and technology. Niess (2005) tried to make a link between pedagogical content and technological knowledge, and described how the three components can interact to bring TPCK. Mishra & Koehler (2005) also came up with the idea of TPCK as an important component for technology integration in teaching being as well built on previous idea of Shulman. However the difference between the concepts put forward by Mishra & Koeler and that proposed by Niess, is that while Mishra & Koehler consider technology as everything that can support learning (pencil, chalkboard, analogy and digital equipments), Niess discussed technology in reference to analogy and digital equipments alone.

It is Thompson and Mishra (2007-2008) who reported the change of the name from TPCK to TPACK after an extensive meeting with stakeholders at the education summit to discuss the best name for TPCK. It was in the same year when context was added to TPACK to emphasize the idea of Total PACKage. According to Mishra & Koehler, context is described in terms of grade level of the students, schools or a class in which the technology is used. According to Koehler & Mishra (2009), teachers need to know what and how they apply technology in the unique contexts within their classrooms. A teacher is urged to also develop an ability to flexibly navigate the spaces defined by the three elements of content, pedagogy, and technology and the complex interactions among these elements in specific contexts.

2.1 The Concept of TPACK

Technology integration in teaching requires teachers understanding of the content they want to teach, the pedagogy which is concurrent with the content of the subject to be taught and the technology that can support students’ learning under a certain context. According to Koehler & Mishra (2009) teachers’ knowledge on content, pedagogy and technology forms the heart of good teaching with technology which is TPACK. The term TPACK which was previously known as TPCK (Koehler & Mishra, 2005), has a knowledge base needed by teachers to incorporate technology in teaching (Guzey & Roehrig, 2009). TPACK is the short term for Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge, built on Schulman’s (1986) idea of pedagogical and content knowledge (PCK) (Harris, Koehler & Mishra, 2009; Koehler & Mishra, 2006, 2009; Niess et al, 2009; Schmidt et al, 2009). The interplay between the various components of TPACK; technological knowledge (TK), Pedagogical Knowledge (PK), content knowledge (CK), technological content knowledge (TCK), technological pedagogical knowledge (TPK) and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) at a given context is what makes effective teaching with technology possible (Mishra & Koehler, 2006, 2009) (Figure 1).

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1 : TPACK framework (Koehler & Mishra, 2009)

The different components of TPACK are described as follows:


Excerpt out of 29 pages


TPACK for Pre-service Science and Mathematics Teachers
University of Twente
Education science
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ISBN (Book)
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tpack, pre-service, science, mathematics, teachers
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Ayoub Kafyulilo (Author), 2010, TPACK for Pre-service Science and Mathematics Teachers, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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