TPaCK WebQuest



At several of our previous meetings we have used a "Prensky Scale" to examine lessons/projects. It's time to kick that up a notch with the TPaCK framework which helps educators label the knowledge a teacher needs to teach. Though the three knowledge bases of Technological Knowledge, Pedagogical Knowledge, and Content Knowledge are easy for teachers to grasp, the interplay of them is often subtle and distinctions can be hard to see at first. This WebQuest is designed to first familiarize you with the TPaCK framework, then to examine and discuss examples that combine the three bases to different degrees and success, and finally to help you define the areas of interplay in your own words.

The Task:

To understand and define TPaCK for yourself and your group you need to wrestle with existing definitions and real life examples. By the end of this WebQuest, you and your group will answer these questions:

  1. Which two lessons/projects listed below best blend thoughtful knowledge of technology, pedagogy, and content? Why?
  2. Which two blend the least thoughtfully? Why?
  3. What do best and worst mean to you according to your role?

The Process:

Step 1) First, you'll need a refresher on how Mishra, Koehler, and Harris define TPaCK. You'll view parts of the first video below as a whole group. For more background, you may also be interested in watching the second video (!gnite participants watched it this summer).

Step 2) Next, you'll be assigned a group of three. Each member of the group will be assigned one of three perspectives from which to examine the lessons/projects below. The three perspectives are:

T.gif The Technophile
(think David Pogue )
P.gif Pedagogy Expert
(think John Dewey )
C.gif Content Expert
(think The Professor)
You love the Tools. The newer, the shinier, the more powerful the better. To you, the best lessons/projects make the best use of the technology available to the kids and meet ISTE's standards . If the lesson/project makes minimal use of the tools, you'd rather use a more traditional assignment. Your mantra is "new things new ways ", but make sure it is integral, not an add-on.
You love variety in your methods. To you, the best lessons/projects have elements that are: hands-on, experiential, project-based, differentiated, address the multiple intelligences, etc.
You take to heart Comenius' quote, "Let the main object of this, our Didactic, be as follows : To seek and to find a method of instruction by which teachers may teach less, but learners may learn more ..."
You love your content. To you, the best lessons/projects meet your state standards (GLCE's), are rigorous, cover all of Bloom's taxonomy, and assess students' comprehension thoroughly. You want your students to appreciate your content area as much as you do.

Step 3) Next you will regroup with the other team members who represent the perspective you have been assigned. As a group, you'll examine each of the lessons/projects below and use the worksheet to jot down some notes of your opinions of each from your perspective (try not to let your everyday perspective cloud your judgement). You'll need to examine each site fairly quickly. Don't spend more than 7 minutes on any one site. Your instructor will keep time using this clock:

Time spent so far:

Here are the lessons/projects you'll be analyzing:
  1. Great U.S. Women PDF document (skip pages 1 & 2, lesson starts on page 3)
  2. Marketplaces of Asia
  3. Wiktionary Lesson Plan & Multi-Modal Glossary Sample
  4. Blending Fiction and Nonfiction to Improve Comprehension and Writing Skills Preview add Instructional Plan
  5. Google Earth - Whirligig

Step 4) When the perspective groups have examined all the lessons/projects, it's time to get together with your Jigsaw group to answer the questions.

  1. Which two lessons/projects listed below best blend thoughtful knowledge of technology, pedagogy, and content? Why?
  2. Which two blend the least thoughtfully? Why?
  3. What do best and worst mean to you?

One way to proceed would be to go around and poll each team member for the best two and worst two from their perspective. Pay attention to each of the other perspectives, even if at first you think you might disagree with them. Use the TPaCK diagram to determine where these lessons fall.

There will probably not be unanimous agreement, so the next step is to talk together to hammer out a compromise consensus about your team's nominations for best and worst. Pool your perspectives and see if you can agree on what's best for the learner. DO NOT JUST TALLY UP THE VOTES AND DECLARE A WINNER. Instead, begin to put aside your individual perspective and come to an agreement that takes into account all three perspectives.

One person in each group should record the group's thoughts.

When debriefing time is called, report your results to the whole group. Do you think the other groups will agree with your conclusions?


  • Individually, revisit the TPaCK definitions/examples handout from Step 1.
  • Discuss whole group.
  • How do your definitions compare with the literature's? "Cox (2008) identified 89 versions of TPACK definitions that attempted to tease out and capture the complexities inherent within the teacher knowledge framework." Cox Dissertation


As a group of three, pick one of the following activities, consider it from all three perspectives. What could you modify to help this lesson/project hit the sweet spot in the TPaCK venn diagram.

Modified from:
TPaCK Graphic: