Teaching with technology draws on a lot of skills. Say you want to design a lesson about the water cycle for early elementary students…
- You need your basic content knowledge. You have to know the difference between precipitation and condensation.
- You need your knowledge of best-practices pedagogy. How can you engage your young learners in a meaningful, memorable, appropriate manner?
- You need your technology knowledge. What tools could be most effective, and can you use them confidently?
Together, these skills can be called Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge, or TPACK.
As the TPACK site notes, “Individual teachers, grade-level, school-specific factors, demographics, culture, and other factors ensure that every situation is unique, and no single combination of content, technology, and pedagogy will apply for every teacher, every course, or every view of teaching.”
You must be flexible. Getting ideas from others — especially online! — is only a starting point, as you’ll likely need to tweak, adapt, alter, and improvise to make any lesson plan fit your classroom.
Sometimes, general ideas can be the most helpful, with a broad topic and possible technological tools, such as this list of activities that can integrate technology into learning objectives for social studies.
How would you rate your three areas of knowledge at this point in your education, especially if you’re working towards certification? Content? Pedagogy? Technology?