Teacher Educator Technology Integration Preparation Practices Around TPACK in the United States

May 1, 2021

Source: Journal of Teacher Education, Volume: 72 issue: 3, page(s): 314-328

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study aimed to determine how teacher educators are working to prepare new teachers to integrate technology.
More specifically, it also sought to determine how teacher educators, and by extension teacher education programs, were implementing the TPACK (complex integration of technological [T], pedagogical [P], and content [C] knowledge [K]) model.

To gain a broad understanding of teacher education practices around technology preparation, this study sought to answer two questions:
1: How are teacher educators and teacher education programs currently working to prepare teachers to integrate technology?
2: How are teacher educators implementing the TPACK model?

In total, approximately 2,600 individuals were solicited to take the survey.
The protocol for the administration of the survey followed Dillman’s tailored design method (Dillman et al., 2009).
The 843 participants who responded to at least part of the survey yielded a 32% response rate.
This response rate was consistent with the average response rate for online surveys found in the research literature.
Of the 843 teacher educators who responded to the survey, a majority (71%) were tenured or tenure-track professors.
They came from numerous subject areas, levels of experience, and types of institutions.

Quantitative data were derived from two types of items in the survey.
Because this study focused on approaches that individuals and programs use when preparing teachers to use technology, the main source of quantitative data came from an item that asked teacher educators, “How does your institution incorporate technology into the teacher preparation program(s) with which you are familiar?”
They were given the option to choose between a program-specific stand-alone technology course taken before preservice teachers take a methods course, a program-specific stand-alone technology course taken at the same time as preservice teachers take a methods course, an approach where technology is integrated across the curriculum, an integrated methods and technology course, and other (which prompted them to explain).
They were able to choose multiple approaches that applied to their program(s).
The descriptive statistics for the remainder of the quantitative portion of the study were based on categorical items, which asked participants to self-identify characteristics of their programs such as their institution’s sector and size, with one item also asking them to indicate their level of integration of the ISTE technology standards.
The qualitative data originated from two separate survey items.
The first open-ended question asked the teacher educators to identify how their institutions incorporated technology into their programs if they selected the “other” option from the item described above.
This resulted in 84 responses from participants who did not feel that the categorical selections captured their program(s).
The second question, a conditional response for teacher educators who agreed that they integrate TPACK into how they prepare teachers to use technology, asked respondents, “How [do] you integrate combining content, technologies and teaching approaches (TPCK) into your teacher preparation program?”
They were also asked to include, “the content, technology used and teaching approach(es) implemented” in their responses.
This yielded 225 unique responses.
Because TPACK is not explicitly operationalized in the literature and the boundaries between its different components are not clear (Archambault & Barnett, 2010), the open-ended responses provided the authors with qualitative data to explain the specific ways in which participants understood and implemented TPACK both personally and programmatically.

Findings and discussion
In this study, the authors sought to understand how teacher educators were working to prepare new teachers to integrate technology in relationship to the literature, which has documented the training experiences of new teachers who are able to support student achievement with technology.
Consistent with the literature, the data showed that teacher educators who taught and modeled TPACK through program-wide integration described it with a consistent integration of all four elements, rather than focusing on only one element such as TK.
The results of this study documented that approximately two thirds of respondents identified their programs as integrating technology across the curriculum, with many who are moving in that direction.
Nevertheless, the adoption of TPACK among the participants was quite low, and the implementation of the model described by the participants reveals that many teacher educators and teacher education programs are not providing the scaffolding required to build competency with the model in new teachers.
Some of the challenges that prevented better integration of technology pedagogies across programs included observations from participants that program and content areas can be siloed, a challenge the confronts many teacher education programs (Sleeter, 2014).
These bifurcating dynamics are symptomatic of the ways that technology has been treated as a separate, often add-on area within teacher education even when it is integrated across the curriculum.
In the same way that content, pedagogy, learning, and content exist in rhizomatic and inextricable tensions, digital technologies are woven into the social, political, and cultural structures that form the institutions around which education occurs in the United States.
Paralleling how critics of Shulman’s PCK model observed that content, context, and pedagogy are mutually constitutive, the broader integration of technologies in society make them inseparable from the different knowledges and practices that teachers utilize.
Because of this, technologies can structure the inequities that exist in schools around a variety of issues related to access, teaching, and content.
Despite the limitations of how PCK and TPACK have addressed issue of context, diversity, and equity, the authors’ findings and the extant research have shown that these models can help to build an integrated practice of teaching with technology.
What is currently lacking in the TPACK literature are different ways that it can be adapted to address issues around social justice.
Guidance in this area can be derived from Dyches and Boyd (2017), who suggested reconceptualizing PCK to add a social justice component.
In developing their Social Justice Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (SJPACK) model, they presented both social justice pedagogical knowledge and social justice content knowledge components to highlight the political nature of both and the need to address each component individually.
As teacher educators develop ways to prepare new teachers to address inequities, they should consider how technology affects content and pedagogy through structuring absences, hidden curricula, and dominant paradigms that disadvantage some students.
This need to develop the TPACK model was supported by the findings as few participants mentioned equity and social justice in relationship to how they trained teachers to use technology.
The existing literature has documented the need for a number of program characteristics that are associated with successfully training new teachers to integrate technology using TPACK including modeling, programmatic coordination, and field experiences (Tondeur et al., 2017).
This study has shown that teacher educators experience disconnects between these practices, the requirements of policy and accreditation initiatives, and the practices of their own programs.
Relying on the accreditation process alone will not be sufficient to institutionalize practices that provide the most effective training for new teachers.
Although the authors found that accreditation requirements were driving more programmatic integration of technology, often this did not lead to preparing new teachers to integrate multiple knowledges to support student learning using technology.
Other ways to assess teacher education programs beyond accreditation may be necessary.

Archambault, L. H., & Barnett, J. H. (2010). Revisiting pedagogical content knowledge: Exploring the TPACK framework. Computers & Education, 55(4), 1656–1662
Dillman, D. A., Smyth, J. D., & Christian, L. M. (2009). Internet, mail, and mixed-mode surveys: The tailored design method (3rd ed.). John Wiley.
Dyches, J., & Boyd, A. (2017). Foregrounding equity in teacher education: Toward a model of social justice pedagogical and content knowledge. Journal of Teacher Education, 68(5), 476–490
Sleeter, C. (2014). Toward teacher education research that informs policy. Educational Researcher, 43(3), 146–153
Tondeur, J., Scherer, R., Siddiq, F., & Baran, E. (2017). A comprehensive investigation of TPACK within pre-service teachers’ ICT profiles: Mind the gap! Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 33(3), 46–60

Updated: Sep. 03, 2021