Rapid changes in technology have
added a new kind of knowledge that
educators have to integrate with
pedagogical and content knowledge.
Our work with teachers as they attempted to integrate technology into
their teaching led us to update Shulman’s framework to include technology knowledge or TK. This led to the
technological pedagogical and content
knowledge (TPACK) framework. (See
A Closer Look at the TPACK Framework to the right).
How Can You Repurpose Technology?
The skills, competencies, and knowledge
specified by the TPACK framework
require teachers to go beyond their
knowledge of particular disciplines,
technologies, and pedagogical techniques in isolation. This is a contingent,
flexible kind of knowledge that lies at the
intersection of all three of these knowledge bases, allowing the creative repurposing of the traditional approaches.
The idea of creative repurposing is
important because most technologies that teachers use typically have
not been designed for educational
purposes. Technologies including
standard productive or office software, blogs, wikis, and GPS systems
were not designed for teachers, and as
such, teachers must repurpose them
for use in educational contexts. Such
repurposing is possible only when the
teacher knows the rules of the game
and is fluent enough to know which
rules to bend, which to break, and
which to leave alone. This requires
a deep experiential understanding,
developed through training and deliberate practice, of all the aspects of
the TPACK framework and how they
interact with each other.
We provide three examples of technology that can be repurposed for
visual search engines, and music DJ
software. All of these examples were
developed by a team of Punya Mishra’s
The TPACK framework merges technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge.
Microblogging. Noah Ullman offered
this example of using microblogging
sites, such as Twitter, to complement
face-to-face discussions in a classroom. Participants share short messages—140 characters or less—with
each other using a microblogging
website. We have found that microblogging within an appropriate pedagogical frame can enhance the classroom in useful and engaging ways.
The important thing to remember is
that a technology such as microblogging does not exist in a vacuum. Its
appropriate use has to be scaffolded by
specific pedagogical instructions and
guidelines. Teachers should construct
a “space” within the classroom where
these student-generated comments
could be discussed. Without this,
the microblogging activity remains
divorced from the actual class routines
and thus can be relatively ineffective.
Specialized search engines. Paul Morsink
suggested using specialized search engines (particularly visual search engines,
such as Viewzi, Cuil, and Clusty) to
help students understand intertextuality, which is the concept that texts often
refer to each other in complex and intricate ways to create webs of meaning.
Students use these search engines to find
webpages containing a target phrase
they have chosen—a famous line (such
as “daggers in men’s smiles” from
Macbeth), an adapted famous line (such as
“method to his madness,” from a line in
Hamlet), the words of a book title (such
as Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness),
or a character’s name (such as Grendel
from the epic poem “Beowulf”).