EFL Teachers’ Technological Professional Development
In this blog post I will try to explain why teachers (for the specific case of my research: EFL teachers) need to develop their skills in using technology in a pedagogically sound way. I will start with providing information on the technological changes that we have experienced in the last few decades and how it has affected education systems. I will then describe the technology pedagogy and content knowledge (TPACK) theory and why teachers – in my opinion – should aim to develop their TPACK knowledge. I will conclude my blog by inviting fellow EFL teachers to participate in the “EFL- TPACK” survey that has been developed for EFL teachers.
About 2400 years ago Democritus stated, “The only thing that doesn’t change is change itself”. This statement emphasises the general principle of life, which is “change”. We live in a world in which everything is changing constantly. For example, although its use was restricted to the British Isles in the sixteenth century, English is now (in the twenty-first century) commonly described as a lingua franca and used all over the world. Similar to the status of English, technology has recently become an indispensable part of our lives. From banking to health, all sectors including education have been affected by technology and the change it has brought. In educational settings, the change started with creating adequate technology infrastructure in learning environments and governments are still working on providing technology (i.e. computers) in every classroom.
Providing classrooms with technology, however, would not be enough in order to create an effective teaching environment. The consumers of technology – in the case of education that would be teachers and students – would need certain skills to be able to make use of these new tools in the teaching/ learning process. In fact, teachers would need to gain not only the basic skills to use the newly introduced technology but also the knowledge about how to use them for teaching more effectively (Harasim, 2012; Hubbard & Levy, 2006). Technology should not be just an add-on to teachers’ current practices because a successful integration requires not only basic skills but also a change in the pedagogy practised by teachers.
Technology pedagogy and content knowledge (TPACK), a term which was first used by Mishra & Koehler (2006), provides a comprehensive framework that deals with technology integration. TPACK harmonizes three separate knowledge-base for teachers; these are technology, pedagogy, and content. A visual representation of the framework is given below in Figure 1. It could be seen that the framework is represented by three main circles which stand for content, pedagogy and technology and the intersections of each circle represents a subcomponent of the framework namely technological content knowledge, technological pedagogical knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. The heart of the framework, where all of the three circles intersects, represents TPACK, which is the fundamental element for being able to teach effectively with technology (Koehler & Mishra, 2009). TPACK requires an understanding of how to use technology in a meaningful and pedagogically sound way in order to provide the opportunities for learners to better understand the content to be learned.
Figure 1. TPACK Image (Downloaded from http://www.tpack.org on June 9th, 2013)
In an effort to apply the TPACK framework to the EFL context, I have developed a survey titled “EFL-TPACK” based on an extensive review of literature related to language teachers’ technology, pedagogy and content knowledge-base. If you decide to participate in the survey you could win an iPad by entering the prize draw. Additionally, your participation will help me to develop a valid and reliable survey which could be used for various purposes, for example in deciding the objectives of a technology training event and/or as a rubric to check to what extent the aims have been achieved in EFL teacher training programs.
Your participation is important and appreciated and I really hope that you will be able to help me with this small but potentially useful project. You can find further details and information by clicking the link provided below. Should you have any questions please feel free to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Thank you in advance for reading this post and participating in my study.
Survey Link: www.bit.ly/efltpack
Address: 2nd Floor Berrick Saul Building, University of York,
York, United Kingdom
Harasim, L. (2012). Learning theory and online technologies. New York, Rutledge.
Hubbard, P & Levy, M. , (Ed), (2006), Teacher education in CALL, Amsterdam, John Benjamin B.V.
Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70.
Mishra, P., Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A new framework for teacher knowledge. Teacher College Records, 108 (6), 1017-1054