I became interested in the TPACK model before it became popular outside the elevated level of “higher education”. It was then called TCPK but the acronym opened into the same terms rearranged, Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge. with, what is obvious now-a-days, the center of the “framework” representing the intersection of the three knowledges as the ideal. The founding professors derived the framework from their work with faculty in higher education with the intent to broaden teacher preparation curricula. The concept naturally lends itself to teaching and learning at all levels and some would say has placed a significant burden on the already practicing K-12 bunch.
The question that keeps coming to mind is one regarding what pedagogical knowledge is. According to Koehler (one of the architects of the framework), pedagogical knowledge can be defined as “a generic form of knowledge that is involved in all issues of student learning, classroom management, lesson plan development and implementation, and student evaluation. It includes knowledge about techniques or methods to be used in the classroom; the nature of the target audience; and strategies for evaluating student understanding. A teacher with deep pedagogical knowledge understands how students construct knowledge and acquire skills; develop habits of mind and positive dispositions towards learning.” Does it not seem then that an educator with some depth of pedagogical knowledge would inherently possess sufficient technological and content knowledge? Why the need to remove technological and content knowledge from pedagogical knowledge? I can only surmise that framework assumes a less broad definition of pedagogical knowledge than that defined by Koehler. I find other definitions to be even broader to the point of nebulousness but none narrower.
I conclude that then the essence and value of the TPACK is that teachers need to know how to teach, know about what they are teaching and know about technologies applicable to the subject matter being taught. But knowledge is passive. What is missing is instruction and guidance as to how to put it all together to the benefit of the learning experience. Since the first letter in the framework represents technological knowledge one would think that teachers should start with the available technologies and work these then into the subject matter and pedagogy. This is how we integrated technology into the classroom during 2000’s and it proved not to be very successful. Execution must begin with planning and the planning must begin with the learning goals and activities in the content area and then the teacher selects the digital tools from available resources consistent with her/his methods and style that will best help the teacher and students meet the learning goals.