Mrs. Ryan's Class

A Digital Learning Hub for students and parents

TPACK: What is it? How do I do it?

on July 17, 2015

If you are like me, at first glance TPACK seems like a complicated framework to understand. I have learned, however, that when you really get down to brass tacks, TPACK is a representation of great teaching in the 21st Century. In order to be a great teacher, we need to have specific knowledge:

  • Knowledge of your content (music, reading, art, calculus)
  • Knowledge of teaching pedagogy (best teaching practices)
  • Knowledge of technology (any type of available technology such as projectors, microscopes, pencil & paper, word processing, apps, online resources, digital tools)

As the graphic below suggests, there is an intersection of each of these forms of knowledge resulting in:

  • Pedagogical Content Knowledge (knowing how to teach your content effectively)
  • Technological Content Knowledge (knowing how technology supports your content area)
  • Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (knowing how to use technology to support your teaching)
Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by

Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by

Researchers like Koehler & Mishra suggest that great teaching happens when there is a perfect storm of these, resulting in Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge also known as TPACK or TPCK. From my understanding, a teacher who is operating successfully in the TPACK Framework integrates technology into lessons in order to enhance her/his teaching AND student understanding of the content. For example, an early elementary school teacher could use a voice recording app on an iPad to teach students to self-monitor their fluent reading. Teachers in older grades could teach units in which students use technological tools to research a topic and create a digital representation of their work such as a blog, video, eBook, or presentation.

If you are like me and enjoy learning through step by step visuals, this video will probably help you to conceptualize the TPACK Framework.

In their book The Handbook of TPCK for Educators, Koehler and Mishra write, “We argue that the development of TPCK by teachers is critical to effective teaching with technology.” I agree that technology must be used in a classroom for a specific purpose that supports content and good teaching practices.  If you are interested in learning more about TPACK visit


One response to “TPACK: What is it? How do I do it?

  1. deanpelligra says:

    Couldn’t agree more with you, Nicole! The Mishra & Koehler readings were intimidating at first–their research, documentation and justification for the framework are quite complex. The model, is quite straight forward, though, and I’m sure that you see it in action in your elementary classroom all the time like I do at the high school.

    Technology fails us when we’re using it outside of those intersections in the illustration. Whether we’re using tools not designed for teaching (think Office suite) or succumbing to technology integration that fits poorly into the subject matter, our technology knowledge, no matter how deep, is not supporting well our students’ education.

    Our classmate, Erin Berthold, shared a great link with me that illustrates well how professional collaboration can increase these intersections of expertise. It deals with students in your age range as well. Take a look:


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