Theory Behind Integrating Technology with Learning – TPACK

TPACK – Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge

{Image courtesy Matt Koehler & Punya Mishra,}

While the same could be said of face-to-face instruction, the application and integration of content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and technological knowledge is at the heart of an online class.

As the professor, you certainly have very specific content knowledge.  You also have a sense of how this content should be taught – pedagogical knowledge.  You are teaching this content in the context of an online environment using specific technical applications and practices.  Your online class is therefore where the intersection of content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and technological knowledge occur.  This has implications for course design.  It also suggests that someone teaching math online will use different practices and processes from someone teaching writing or teaching health practices.

Koehler and Mishra (2005) stated:

“We view technology as a knowledge system that comes with its own biases, and affordances that make some technologies more applicable in some situations than others” (p. 132).

It therefore makes sense that you consider the context in which you will be teaching and the best applications to use in that context when you teach online.  A study of K-12 online teachers found that they were confident in their ability to deal with issues associated with content or pedagogy, but less confident in dealing with issues associated with technology.  Our reason for providing you with this “toolbox” is to remove some of the uncertainty associated with technology and give you our take on a variety of tools and their associated application to learning, which you can then integrate into your content and teaching practice.

TPACK – Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge

This website linked below by Mishra and Koehler addresses the concept of TPACK – Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge.  At the heart of the TPACK framework, is the complex interplay of three primary forms of knowledge: Content (CK), Pedagogy (PK), and Technology (TK).  In using technology to teach (an inherent component of online classes), one needs to consider the RIGHT technology for the RIGHT pedagogy associated with your SPECIFIC content.

Serhart Kurt updated this overview in his 2019 article, TPACK: Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge Framework.  Kurt noted:

“However, TPACK has remained such a powerful principle for almost 12 years because the complex constituents described above allow room for a range of specific educational circumstances. Any effective implementation of technology in the classroom requires acknowledgment of the dynamic, transactional relationship among content, pedagogy, and the incoming technology – all within the unique contexts of different schools, classrooms, and cultures. Factors such as the individual educator, the specific grade level, the class demographics, and more will mean that every situation will demand a slightly different approach to edtech integration. No one monolithic combination of content, pedagogy, and edtech will be applicable for every setting, and TPACK leaves room for researchers and practitioners to adapt its framework to different circumstances.”

With TPACK in mind, go to the next page to review practices associated with the use of online tools.