A Case Study of a TPACK-Based Approach to Teacher Professional Development: Teaching Science With Blogs

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Published: 
May 2015

Source: Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 15(2), 161-200. (2015)
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article describes a case study of a technology professional development initiative. Specifically, it examines how participants experienced learning to design and teach with technology through a technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge (TPACK) -based professional development approach at a particular school site.

Methods
The participants were three female Grade 8 teachers; two teachers taught science in English and one taught science in French. All teachers were in their first 5 years of teaching, with some to limited experience with using blogs for classroom instruction.
They made a collaborative decision to develop an instructional activity where blogs could be used to research and explore the applications of fluid mechanics, the next topic they were to teach.

Data were collected through researcher field notes during workshop sessions and lessons, videotaped classroom observations, audiotaped interviews, and teacher and student lesson artifacts.

Discussion
The results reveal that the workshop engaged teachers in a series of learning activities designed to promote the development of teacher knowledge about how to meet content-learning goals through integration of technology in science teaching.
The participants noted that the workshop was beneficial because the activities of the workshop transformed their theoretical knowledge about teaching science with blogs into understandings of how to teach with blogs in their classroom practice.

Furthermore, the professional development initiative provided teachers with technical skill knowledge while they engaged in the design of technology-enhanced instruction to meet specific science curriculum goals.
The participants also showed evidence of developing TPACK (knowledge of technology-enhanced teaching) through their choice of activities. For example, they chose sequencing of tasks and technical skills within the science content task, modelling technology use for students, and differentiating for student learning needs during implementation of the blog activity.

Finally, the findings reveal that this workshop was effective at developing some aspects of TPACK, such as activity choice; other aspects such as sequencing of technical skills, which is highly learner and context dependent, developed during the practice of teaching with the technology.

In conclusion, these results show that content-centric technology professional development that involves collaboration among a small group of teachers around a common content area, with technical and content area support from experts, supports the transformation of teachers’ hypothetical teaching activities into actual teaching practice. 

Updated: Feb. 22, 2018
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