Characterizing Middle Grade Mathematics Teachers’ Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) in Practice
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Effective teaching with technology requires a developed, nuanced understanding of the complex interplays between three key kinds of knowledge: content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and technological knowledge; and how they play out in specific contexts (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). Mishra and Koehler’s (2006) model for describing this complexity of knowledge is called technological pedagogical and content knowledge (TPACK). Much of the research about TPACK attends to pre-service and practicing teachers’ beliefs and attitudes about technology and about self-efficacy beliefs regarding integrating technology in practice. Additional research uses rubrics to assess TPACK but are limited in that the data sources are oftentimes only a lesson plan. The purpose of this study was to characterize teachers’ TPACK more comprehensively by attending to the planning of, the implementation of, and reflections about lessons that incorporate technology. The data for the study came from a graduate course for middle school science and mathematics teachers about using technology in instruction. The course was taught four times over four years and included an assignment called the Technology Lesson Cycle. The Technology Lesson Cycle, a representation of how teachers operationalize their TPACK in practice, consisted of a written lesson plan, video of implementation of the lesson, and a written reflection about the lesson. The first phase of this study was the development of a rubric to characterize TPACK. Interrater reliability of the rubric was examined using Intraclass Correlation, and the internal consistency of the scores was tested using Cronback’s Alpha. Once reliability and validity of the rubric was established, fifteen Technology Lesson Cycles were assessed. Findings from the study illustrate that the in-service mathematics teachers’ pedagogical knowledge (PK) and the knowledge components that contain PK are significantly weaker than other components. Among all seven TPACK components, the technological pedagogical knowledge (TPK) was the weakest knowledge component. This work brought forward a deeper understanding of how TPACK translates to practice. Recommendations were provided for teacher education programs and for future studies.