Last week my course was all about pedagogical approaches and this week it's all about technology. You can follow the ideas of my students on their own blogs (see the menu on the rigt side of this blog).
During the past week the students had to post something on different pedagogical approaches and about the way these approaches can be supported by a web-based learning environment. From traditional learning to problem-based and collaborative learning and inquiry and experiential learning, many approaches are mentioned and described. But... most of them from the viewing point of a student. But what about the teacher? Should he/she be able to choose a certain approach based on the topic, audience, assignment, etc., and do this for every teaching or learning activity? Maybe yes, but we know (and I as a teacher know) from practice that you usually choose something that you are familiar with.
Probably the same can be said about the technologies that teachers use. Most of us will use some kind of web-based learning environment such as Blackboard, Teletop or Moodle, just because it's there and the university requires us to use it. Generally speaking (with of course some wonderful exceptions!) within these learning environments nothing really exciting happens. We use announcements and course information and we provide students with a schedule and deadlines for assignments.
To show the students that it is possible to "think out of the box" I let them play with my GPS, Nintendo DS, a camera, and one group played an online game. They had to play a little bit with the technology and after that think about how this "toy" can be used in education and what this means for students and teachers. Most students agreed that students would be very happy to use the technology, but when thinking about the implications for the teachers most comments were related to logistics (the technology has to be there, you have to have time in your curriculum, you have to keep an eye on the students) and to the (low) knowledge, skills and attitude of the teacher. None of the comments were related to pedagogy and only a few were related to the content of a specific course.
This is not surprinsing by the way! First of all I did not ask them to think about the relation between technology, pedagogy and content. And second: for many of them the technology was regarded as a "new" technology for teaching. Getting used to a new technology takes time, getting used to using a new technology in education takes even more time. And... yes... that's where TPACK comes in. As of next week we will discuss the TPACK model in my course and we will discuss how teachers can develop Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge and what we (as Educational Science and Technology people) can do to support the teachers in acquiring this knowlegde!