dinsdag 29 november 2011

Professional development in science and TPACK

Together with my team members we developed a professional development plan for science teaching at primary schools using TPACK. I think it's a good plan and that I would like to be the trainer of the workshop. We designed a program that will covers a time span of 3 years. You could question if it is not to long for a professional development plan.

Three Year training, is way too long!

The length of the training program was a discussing in our group. If you do a program that takes three years their is a possibility that not all the teachers who start will finish the program. Their is also a possibility that teachers won't feel like taking a course that will obligate them to follow for tree years. I can understand and follow these arguments but their are other arguments as well. First of all their is all lot to learn, for example Content Knowledge, Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Technological Knowledge and TPACK. To put all this in a course of less that half a year it is not achievable. Actually you can see the course as tree courses: (1) A TK and CK course, (2) a PCK course and (3) a TPACK course. Secondly the first two parts of the course are more "one size fits it all" approach and will take 1 year. The TPACK part will take 2 years and is mostly an individual counseling and individual developing program. Therefor the program doesn't have a lot of group meetings. The program isn't that long in groups, on that account I think it isn't too long.

More than a TPACK training

If you've been reading my previous blogs you know TPACK isn't a easy state to reach as a teacher ( I'm not there yet). But if you reach this state at science teaching maybe you can transfer it to other subjects. In the first two parts of our training program we try to prepare the teachers for the difficult and task of reaching TPACK level. For having a change and daring to try out Technology in classrooms practice teachers need to have confidence in the other parts of TPACK, like CK, PCK or TK. In one year we try to reach the state where all the conditions a teacher needs before the TPACK stage are contended. the second and the third year of the training are for internalizing TPACK. When TPACK is completely internalized in the science lessons I'm convinced that the integration of Technology at other subjects will come naturally without any other training. Therefor this training deliverers more than you pay for; it delivers actual and wide change in teaching.

For who is this training?

This training is developed for a primary school in the Netherlands. All the teachers of a primary school who participate in this training will follow this training, it's obligatory for all. Why would you make it obligatory? I think when you do such a training that can effect your way of thinking and teaching it is not desirable to train only a few teacher at a school. The teacher can become isolated in the teaching staff or can be demotivated because there is a lack of support. The disadvantage is that teachers who join the training aren't motivated. We try to solve this by making time in the training for showing the importance of science and technology integration. The teachers who are enthusiastic can be a role model and help the less enthusiastic teachers. When more than one school is following the training program the teacher can change ideas trough the ELO.


A three year program looks long, but it actually is a three training programs with a follow up partly included. It is in a year not that much time consuming, there are only a few workshops a year and the other parts are normal preparations for teaching. I would like to teach this program because of the variance in the training and the effect it could have. It can really change the way science is taught at primary school. And it can even be more than that because this program can make a permanent change in all the teaching at primary school in the integration of technology. That's why I think we designed a very good training program.

dinsdag 25 oktober 2011

Teaching with laptops

When starting my carier as a teacher, I had just two problems. My first problem was that the children in my class didn't always do what they where supposed to do. The second problem I had was with the subject matter, how could I let the children understand something so difficult as science? After a few years I got the hang of it and most of my problems where solved. Now I have a new problem! My classes all have a laptop and I have to do something with that! That changes a lot of my normal routine and I have to adjust my pedagogies and rethink about the Content. Maybe the TPACK model can help me.

What is TPACK?
The TPACK model (Mishra & Koehler, 2006) can be seen as an evolution of the PCK model of Shulman (1987). In the PCK model there is a Pedagogical component and a Content component. The Pedagogical Knowledge and the Contant Knowledge overlap and they form a new kind of Knowledge called PCK (Pedagogical Content Knowledge). The TPACK model, figure 1, is an expantion of the PCK model of Shulman (1987). Within the TPACK model is Technology been integrated in the PCK model. While integrating Technology in the PCK model several new overlapping areas were created. The TPACK model includes seven knowledge areas, (1) Technological Knowledge (TK), (2) Pedagogigal Knowledge (PK), (3) Content Knowledge (CK), (4) Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), (5) Technological Content Knowledge (TPK), (6) Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TCK) and (7) TPACK.

Knowledge of TPACK

Every area has its own specific knowledge area. TK is a dynamic knowledge because of the constant development of new technologies. Koehler and Mishra (2009) use the definition of FITness; use technology at work and in daily live, recognize when technology can be helpfull and conctant adapting to the changing technology. PK is the knowledge of the learning proces of students, how to stimulate a class and an individual. It also covers controling the class (Koehler & Mishra, 2009). CK is the knowledge of the subject that the teacher teaches. According to Shulman (1986) it also contains knowledge about concepts and theories. PCK is knowledge of Pedagogies for a specific subject. TCK is the knowledge about the way Technology and Content influence each other. Koehler and Mishra (2009) describe that a teacher should know how technologies interact and combine with specific content. Knowledge of the way technologies influence the pedagogies is called TPK. TKP involves the knowledge of teachers of the way technologies can change the way students learn and understand (Koehler & Mishra, 2009). TPACK is according to Koehler an Mishra (2009) the understanding of the influencing of TK, PK, CK. TPACK is the foundation of effective use of technologie in education.


When preparing my lessons to the laptop class I never think about TPACK in particular. Now I'm wondering, why don't I? Do I believe that TPACK isn't useful? Do I believe that the TPACK model isn't helpful? In my opinion integrating Technology in education is really necessary. And I think TPACK is a good model for thinking about the integration. I consider myself as a believer in the TPACK model, but still I don't use it for preparing my lessons. Maybe TPACK is a framework of the knowledge teacher should have and not a tool for professional development of teachers. Niess et. al. (2009) describes a
develpment model of the TPACK framework, figure 2. Niess et. al. (2009) recognized 5 stages of integrating technology into the PCK.
1. Recognizing: teachers are able to work with technology and recognize the alignment of the technology with the subject area. The teachers do not inegrate the technology in the lessons.
2. Accepting: Teachers develop an attitude about using technology withinh the subject area.
3. Adapting: teacher enact in activities that lead to a choise to adapt or reject teaching woth technologies.
4. Exploring: teachers explore the posibilities of integrating technology in the lessons. They actively experiment with using technology.
5. Advancing: Teachers evaluate the results of the decision to integrate technologies.
The model of Niess et. al. (2009) give me opportunities to think about the integration more as a proces. When I try to look at my own integration proces, as a teacher, I can recognize the different stages in the proces. As well as the hesitasion after a assignment that didn't go well.
TPACK is a framework that helps thinking about integration of technology. It can be helpfull measuring the integration level of Technology with teachers. But I think that there is a lot of researching and exploring the TPACK model.


Koehler, M.J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What Is technological pedagogical content knowledge?                  Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education (CITE), 9(1), 60-70.

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M.J. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A framework for        teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record 108 (6), 1017-1054.

Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 4-24.

Shulman, L. S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform.  Harvard Educational   Review, 57(1), 1-22.

Niess, M. L., Ronau, R. N., Shafer, K. G., Driskell, S. O., Harper S. R., Johnston, C., Browning, C.,
Özgün-Koca, S. A., & Kersaint, G. (2009). Mathematics teacher TPACK standards and development

dinsdag 11 oktober 2011

Teacher training with simulations

Last week I first heard of the simschool simulation. This is a simulation for practicing your teacher skills. While I'm co-teaching a class at the teacher education I looked at the simulation with great interest. Maybe I can use it in the class?

What is Simschool?
Simschool is a simulation enviroment where a person can practise teacher skills. When you start the simulation you see a classroom with students. Depending on the simulation you get a number of students in the classroom. There is a possibility to create a custum simulation. All the students have a table and sit alone, as you can see in figure 1. The teacher can look for information of the students at the laptop. The teacher can assign assignments to the class by using the bell. The whole class gets the same instruction. You can also assign assignments by selecting a individual. The assignment is only for that person. The assignments can be choosen out of a number of assignments like; assignt an oral quiz, go over last weeks lessons, do sillent reading, do a team worksheet or design on multiple criteria. You can speak to the students in the class (individual or as a class). You got a number of possibilities to say. For example you can say something positive like: ÿou are setting a good example to others" or something negative like: "detention for you, see you after school!". When you've tried out a number of assignments you can end the lesson. At the end of the lesson you can look at a chart of the personor persons you have been teaching. You can see a number of variables like academic, openess and extroversion.

Everly's bad day
For explaning the useability of the simschool simulation I'm going to look at one person in the class: Everly. When looking at the laptop we get some information about Everly at a personality profile, teacher reflection and academics level. Some short desciptions of Everly: Everly is self confident, likes stimulation, likes a challenge. The learning enviroment for Everly is best with outside stimulation and social interaction, creative projects. everly likes variaty in the assignments. You would think that Everly would have a bad day when the teacher goes over last weeks lessons for a long time. In figure 2 you can
see the result of this assignment. You can see that Everly's Academic score is becoming worse. Maybe the teacher has to try something that suits more with the learing style of Everly.
For example take a popquiz and make a team worksheet. The results of this approach you can see in figure 3. The difference in the results is striking. Everly seems like a different kid. First he looked disinterested, but with an approach that suits Everly he is a very good student.

Simschool useful for teacher education?

The difference on the behaviour on Everly with different approaches is striking, see figure 2 and figure 3. I think every teacher should know what the impacxt can be when using different approaches and alternating approaches. Simschool can be a useful tool to experience this. Teachers can also see and learnand experience that there is no approach that works for all students. When teaching at a teacher education you can use Simschool for inquiry learing about differences between learners and different pedagogies. Simschool is a safe environment compared with teaching a class. It is possible to experiment en experience in the Simschool simulation. Simschool is an useful technologie for teacher education, but it can be more useful in my opinion by making a few changes.
First of all a simulations is never a real situation. So it is imposible to expect that it can replace the real situation. But it can have added value in combination with actual classroom experience. Especially because there is a possibility to create your own simulation. I think it can be more useful if there is a possibility to make Simschool even more personal made. For example you can only say anything to Everly choosing from a number of sentences in stead of typing your own remarks. You have a limited choise for assignments instead of making your own assignments.
Second remark I have is that there is no possibility for content. Looking at the PCK model of Shulman (1987) teaching is a combination of content and pedagogie. In the simulation you can only choose for different pedagogies but there is no content linked to it. As a teacher you choose your pedagogies in accordence with the content.

Simschool an useful technological tool?

Simschool can be a technologie I going to use when I'm teaching at the teacher education, but not at this moment. Why not? It isn't in the native language of the students. Teaching is already a complex thing to do and I think it would be more complex when it is in a different language. It can be used in different settings of the education. For example you can test a case from the classroom experiece of the students or you can make an assignment with inquiry learing.
As a technology Simschool is a good start of making the teacher education more technology centered. Hammond et. al. (2009) wrote that using technology in teacher education has a predictable value for Technologie use after teacher education. I hope that the development of Simschool contibutes to the further adjustement of the teacher education to the changing times.

Hammond, M., Fragkouli, E., Suandi, I., Crosson, S., Ingram, J., Johnston-              Wilder, P., Johnston-Wilder, S.,                 Kingston, Y., Pope, M., & Wray, D., (2009). 'What happens as student teachers who made very good use of ICT during pre-service training enter their    first year of teaching?', Teacher                 Development, 13: 2, 93 — 106.                 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13664530903043939

Shulman, L. S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform.  Harvard Educational   Review, 57(1), 1-22.

dinsdag 4 oktober 2011

Flexible learning

I think not many people think about flexibility when they think  about education. Is this an opportunity missed? According to Collins and Monnen (2001) it is. They differ 5 ways to make education more flexible.

Flexible in time
When following a course you always have deadlines interfering with your personal life. The time and planning of the course or courses require you to adjust your life to the courses insteat of the other way around. This can be arranged different for instance their can be flexibility in the starting and end time of a course. I'm thinking of the example of the 15 year old boy in the book "het puberende brein" who has an yetlag because of the early times the school starts (Crone 2008). Adjusting starting and ending time to the sleeping rhythm of the individual can help. Or for example my own situation with submitting the assignment before the deadline of the flexibilty course. The first deadline I missed because of the time of the course on a wednesday and my studie time on the tuesday. More flexibility with the deadlines can increase my possibility to pass this course.

Flexibility related to content
The background of the learner has an impact on the interrests of the learner. For instance an teacher in middle school has a different interessest for flexibility then a designer of a webbased learning enviroment. The course content can be made flexible for the learner at different topics of the course.  Maybe the learner has a specific preference about the sequence of treating the different topics. The content of a course can be very theoretical but also very practical or maybe the learner wants a combination of theoratical and practical.

Flexibility related to requirements
I'm a trainer of a swimming course at the moment. When you want to participate in this course you have to at least be able to swim more than 2 km in one hour and you have to be able to master all of the swimming strokes. This course has a list of requirements before you can enter the course. Other courses have no requirments at all, if you want to you can enter.

Flexibility related to instructional pproach and resources
When a give a course or teach a subject I'm always thinking what to do with the pedagogy. Do I give a group assignment or an individual assignment? Do we use a digital learning environment or only the book? This is not a flexibile approach because the teacher desides what is teh pedagogys of the course. When I want to teach more flexible I can be flexible with my pedagogy in different ways. I can be flexiblile in organisation of the learning ( face-to-face, induvidual), language (dutch, english or maybe dialect Twents), learning resources ( practicum, internet, books, etc) or instructional organisation ( instuction, assigments, experts model, etc)

Flexibility related to delivery and logisticts
You can learn everywhere and at any time you want, but schools normaly don't work that way. You have a specific time and place and the learner has to be there on time. With flexible learning you can choose to let it go, for example the LOI is a school where you can study in your own time an place.
The WWW nmake it possible for my students to contact me outside the lessons. They can send me a email or they can find information on the ELO ( Electronic learning enviroment). All the assignments and support are on the ELO so the sudents can find and use then whenever they want to. An Elo is a handy when you are trying to make the learning more flexible.

An ELO like blackboard or IT's Learning helps me to be more flexible in teaching. The students can ask questions to me or to each other, they can find information, scaffolds and assignments on the ELO. The ELO I use is It's Learning http://www.itslearning.nl/

Collis, B., & Moonen, J. (2001). Flexible learning; it’s not just about distance. In J. Moonen (Ed.), Flexible learning in a digital world: Experiences and expectations (chapter 1). London: Kogan Page
Crone, E. (2008). Het puberende brein. Bert Bakker