Technological pedagogical content knowledge

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A Venn diagram of technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge
TPACK venn diagram

Technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) is a framework to understand and describe the kinds of knowledge needed by a teacher for effective pedagogical practice in a technology-enhanced learning environment. Mishra and Koehler added technology as a modeling element to Lee Shulman's pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) construct.[1][2] They proposed that addressing content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and technology knowledge concurrently provides a framework for technology integration in the curriculum. [3]


The TPACK framework looks at the relationships between technology, pedagogy, and content.[3][4] A teacher capable of negotiating these relationships represents a form of expertise different from, and (perhaps) broader than, the knowledge of a disciplinary expert (say a scientist or a musician or sociologist), a technology expert (a computer engineer) or an expert at teaching/pedagogy (an experienced educator).[1][2][4][5][6]

2-area overlap[edit]

Technology knowledge (TK) refers to an understanding of the way that technologies are used in a specific content domain. For example, for physics teachers, it is an understanding of the range of technologies that physicists use in science and industry. Within the context of technology integration in schools, it appears to most often refer to digital technologies such as laptops, the Internet, and software applications. TK does however go beyond digital literacy to having knowledge of how to change the purpose of existing technologies (e.g. wikis) so that they can be used in a technology enhanced way.

Content knowledge (CK) is “a thorough grounding in college-level subject matter” or “command of the subject” (American Council on Education, 1999). It may also include knowledge of concepts, theories, conceptual frameworks as well as knowledge about accepted ways of developing knowledge. [7]

Pedagogical knowledge (PK) includes generic knowledge about how students learn, teaching approaches, methods of assessment and knowledge of different theories about learning.[7] [8] This knowledge alone is necessary but insufficient for teaching purposes. In addition, a teacher requires content knowledge.

3-area overlap[edit]

Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) is knowledge about how to combine pedagogy and content effectively.[7] This is knowledge about how to make a subject understandable to learners. Archambault and Crippen report that PCK includes knowledge of what makes a subject difficult or easy to learn, as well as knowledge of common misconceptions and likely preconceptions students bring with them to the classroom.[1]

Technological content knowledge (TCK) refers to knowledge about how technology may be used to provide new ways of teaching content.[9] For example, digital animation makes it possible for students to conceptualize how electrons are shared between atoms when chemical compounds are formed.

Technological pedagogical knowledge (TPK) refers to the affordances and constraints of technology as an enabler of different teaching approaches.[10] For example online collaboration tools may facilitate social learning for geographically separated learners.

4-area overlap[edit]

Koehler and Mishra (2005) added technological T to Shulman’s pedagogical content knowledge PCK, getting technology, pedagogy, and content TPCK or TPACK.[1] Technological pedagogical content knowledge refers to the knowledge and understanding of the interplay between CK, PK and TK when using technology for teaching and learning.[11] It includes an understanding of the complexity of relationships between students, teachers, content, practices and technologies.[1]


Teachers are limited by what they are able to do within their own environment. For example, teachers with limited access to technology are unable to use Web 2.0 tools available to students in schools that have ubiquitous access to the Internet. Time, training, and the nature of assessment in schools also impacts on how technology may be used in classrooms. Context is thus an important factor.[4]

Archambault and Crippen found that "adding the element of technology to Shulman’s notion of pedagogical content knowledge befuddles an already complex model". They found that potential users of the framework found it difficult to define the boundaries of the different TPACK knowledge areas.[1]


Archambault and Crippen found that "adding the element of technology to Shulman’s notion of pedagogical content knowledge befuddles an already complex model". They found that potential users of the framework found it difficult to define the boundaries of the different TPACK knowledge areas.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Archambault L, Crippen K. (2009) Examining TPACK among K-12 online distance educators in the United States. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 71-88
  2. ^ a b Mishra P, Koehler MJ. Presentation at SITE08.
  3. ^ a b Wetzel K, Marshall S. (2011-12) TPACK goes to sixth grade - Lessons from a middle school teacher in a high technology access classroom. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education
  4. ^ a b c Koehler M. TPACK Explained.
  5. ^ Mishra, P. Having fun with TPACK (songs, skits & more…)
  6. ^ Brent Zeise. TPACK Sprach Zarathustra.
  7. ^ a b c Shulman LS. (1986) Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(4).
  8. ^ Harris J, Mishra P, Koehler M. (2009) Teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge and learning activity types: Curriculum-based technology integration reframed. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 41(4), 393-416
  9. ^ Niess ML. (2005) Preparing teachers to teach science and mathematics with technology: Developing a technology pedagogical content knowledge. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21, 509-523.
  10. ^ Mishra P, Koehler MJ. (2006) Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054.
  11. ^ Schmidt DA, Baran E, Thompson AD, Mishra P, Koehler MJ, Shin TS. (2009) Technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK): The development and validation of an assessment instrument for preservice teachers. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 42(2), 123-149.