New Literacies – Web 2.0 and Beyond

Leu, D. J., & Forzani, E. (2012). New literacies in a Web 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, …∞ world. Research in the Schools, 19(1), 75-81.

The authors presented a multifaceted description of many new literacies and issues that have evolved due to the rapid emergence of the Internet and its applications in education. Leu & Forzani showcase a wide variety of articles to articulate the changing landscape and provide their analysis to tell the new literacy story. The articles selected revolved around adolescents and social media, the home and school involvement of young children in digital spaces, the usage of tools and literacies in an ELA classroom, the 21st Century literacies in Teacher Education, reading multimodal texts, and much more.

This review of articles can either be viewed as fascinating and enriching or overwhelming and not achievable to an educator. However, when these articles are placed in context, it becomes quite obvious that these new literacies are only the tip of the iceberg. The authors illustrated in their review that literacy can mean many things to many people, but that these new literacies have the potential to make the teaching and learning environment very rich and robust.

As I personally read this article, I appreciated the concept of the “turn-around” pedagogy as a strategy for reconnecting youth with the academic literacies of school and plan on talking to some of the middle school teachers in our district about this approach. Another concept in this article that caught my eye, is the important need to document literacy acquisition of our youngest learners as they experience digital media and traditional forms of literacy simultaneously. Our district currently runs a “best fit” program for all Kindergarteners as well as offering a personalized digital platform to work on reading and math literacies. Spending some time looking at the data we are receiving and perhaps talking to both the teachers and students can broaden my understanding of how students acquire skills in this digital age. Finally, one other concept that continues to be a topic of discussion in our district and also appeared in this article revolved around teachers as designers. For teachers to continue to grow in this area, they will need a framework to help categorize and conceptualize new online literacies. At the present time, TPACK could serve this purpose. Overall, the Internet plays a powerful role in the teaching and learning process and requires educators to embrace what it has to offer today, tomorrow and in the future.

TPACK: A Framework for Teacher Knowledge

Misha, P., Koehler, M.J. (2006). Technology pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for integrating technology in teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054.

The authors proposed a conceptual framework as a way of thinking about effective technology integration and specifically the knowledge associated with integrating technology effectively into learning environments. Constructed as an extension of Shulman’s (1986) formulation of “pedagogical content knowledge”, the Mishra and Koehler framework is known as Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge or TPACK. This model showcases the interweaving of all three key sources of knowledge: technology, pedagogy, and content. As highlighted in the article, there is a critical need to have a conceptually based theoretical framework about the relationship between technology and teaching that can transform the conceptualization and practice of teacher education, teacher training and teacher professional development (p. 1019). Especially so, since teaching is a complex cognitive skill occurring in a dynamic, interrelated and sometimes ill-structured environment.

This model has revolutionized how some teachers, districts and higher-education organizations view, support and justify technology integration. High-quality teaching requires a deep understanding of the complex relationship that exists between pedagogy, content and technology. Also, there is no one-size-fits-all with regard to technology solutions for classroom teaching and learning. Mishra and Koehler suggest that TPACK serves as a great resource to guide the design of curriculum in an approach they call learning technology by design. The authors suggest that this framework allows teachers to tease apart some of the key issues that are necessary for scholarly dialogue about educational technology classroom integration (p.1046). Having a better handle on how technology supports the learning environment can afford students better opportunities to transcend the passive learner role and instead take control of learning through authentic and engaging ill-structured problems that reflect a complexity of the real world (p. 1035).

Personally, I have been training teachers on integrating technology into their classrooms for over nine years. My first year in the position, I continued the district-driven, skills-based approach to teacher technology training. In year two, I quickly realized that teaching just the technology tool skills had little to no impact back in the classroom even though that’s exactly what the teachers wanted. Through a variety of learning frameworks including TPACK, the district moved to a messy professional development model that is content-driven, pedagogically supported and technologically enhanced. Teachers come to training to have the tough conversations, work on their perceptions and/or fears, developed sound instructional units and “play” around with the content-pedagogy-technology relationship. We still have a long way to go as a district, but we are having the best and deepest conversations about effective technology integration these past couple of years. TPACK is a great conceptual framework that our teachers can reference, easily relate to and work through to construct new ways to teach and learn.





On My Mind…TPACK Model

This week’s EDU800 readings revolved around the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge developed by Punya Mishra and Matthew J. Koehler (2005). Their framework most famously known as TPACK was built to understand and describe the kinds of knowledge that teachers need to employ for effective pedagogical practice in a technology enhanced or mediated learning environment. The TPACK framework examines the relationships between pedagogy, content and technology. The articles listed below provide a point of view about the TPACK contextual factors through the lens of specific grade levels, departments or programs:

  • Blackwell, C., Lauricella, A., Wartella, E. (2016). The influence of TPACK contextual factors on early childhood educators’ tablet computer use. Computers & Education, 98, 57-69.
  • Jang, S., Tasi, M. (2013). Exploring the TPACK of Taiwanese secondary school science teachers using a new contextualized TPACK model. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 29(4), 566-580.
  • Olofson, M., Swallow, M., Neumann, M. (2016). TPACKing: A constructivist framing of TPACK to analyze teachers’ construction of knowledge. Computers & Education, 95, 188-201.
  • Smith, S. (2013/2014). Through the teacher’s eyes: Unpacking the TPACK of digital fabrication integration in middle school language arts. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 46(2), 207-227.
  • Wetzel, K., Marshall, S. (2011-12). TPACK goes to sixth grade: Lessons from a middle school teacher in a high-technology-access classroom. International Society for Technology in Education, 28(2), 73-81.