Friday afternoon, I tweeted that I was checking out a very good list of top K12 Edublogs and asked on Twitter if anyone knew of a comparable list of higher education edublogs. I also noted that I liked the Education Alltop because it mixed higher ed with K-12. Jon Becker tweeted back with a good question: “How do you reconcile your last two tweets? Do you want to disaggregate or not?”
I tweeted back that I was looking for a better source of higher ed blogs, but that I liked the cross-pollination one sees in Alltop. But Jon got me thinking…
Is teaching and learning different for K-12 teachers versus higher education faculty? (I even unconsciously called them by different terms – teacher / faculty). As a higher education faculty developer, this seems a crucial question.
As many know, we spent the past week working directly with a cohort of faculty in the Teaching and Learning with Technology Institute. And it was an uplifting and energizing week! During our final potluck luncheon, several faculty noted that they now saw it as their role to become “viral” and infect their departments and schools with the integration of technology into their teaching. I think part of what energized them was the notion of TPCK – technological pedagogical content knowledge. They really liked this concept of integrating technology into the delivery of knowledge with an appreciation for how people learn.
[Illustration from http://www.tpck.org/tpck/]
TPCK was introduced by Mishra and Koehler, building off earlier work done on PCK by Shulman. They argued that viewing any of the three components (technology, pedagogy, and content) in isolation from the others represents a real disservice to good teaching. I definitely buy what Mishra and Koehler are selling…and see my job in faculty development as tied to this central concept of helping content-experts use technology to improve learning.
But Jon’s question pushed me to consider the differences between pedagogy and andragogy. After all, the Greek roots for “pedagogy” mean literally “to lead the child. ” Malcolm Knowles argued for a differentiation for adults. He suggested that andragogy made the following assumptions about the design of learning:
(1) Adults need to know why they need to learn something
(2) Adults need to learn experientially,
(3) Adults approach learning as problem-solving, and
(4) Adults learn best when the topic is of immediate value.
I am not going to throw the TPCK baby out with the bathwater, but does TPCK change when applied in higher education settings, moving from technological pedagogical content knowledge to TACK – technological androgogical content knowledge?
In sailing, when on tacks, one brings the boat across the wind but continues sailing in roughly the same direction. Replying to Jon, I do not want to really disaggregate the lessons I am finding in the K12 edublogs, but I do think that I need to be careful to apply the andragogy lens to faculty development and to help the faculty I work with apply that same lens to their students who are entering the adult world. The learning will stick if we make it relevant to adults. For that reason, I still feel the need to seek out other higher education bloggers to help us sort out teaching and learning in an adult world.
I would be interested in what others think. Is this simply a semantics exercise or should teaching and learning – and TPCK – at postsecondary institutions be looked at differently?