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“Cooking” with TPACK–not quite “Top Chef” quality

As part of our work with rethinking and re-purposing this week, we were challenged in CEP 810 to complete a random culinary task using kitchen tools selected at random by a friend or family member. My challenge: make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich using a saucer, cereal bowl, and a ladle.

In the following video, you can see my true culinary skills shine. I discovered very quickly that I would have to rethink some of my kitchen tools, such as the ladle, to fit the challenge (and the jar). My understanding of the purpose of this challenge was immediately realized upon completing the sandwich: in order for my students to succeed as learners, I must give them the right tools for the task at hand and help them improvise when those tools are unavailable.

This understanding directly relates to the TPACK theory of educational technology. I must understand the task at hand (content knowledge), know which tools will suit it best (technological knowledge), and how best to communicate the ideas to my students (pedagogical knowledge) in order for an task to be completed well.

While completing this challenge, I also thought about the order in which directions are given and tasks are assigned. If technology, rather than content or pedagogy, is driving the task, then students will likely feel like I did when I had my utensils selected but not my culinary challenge. In order to most effectively challenge my students, they must be able to fully understand the task at hand before selecting the best tools for completion.

This challenge encouraged me to reconsider the way I think about educational tools and technology, the way that I assign tasks, and the encouragement I must give to students to work through a challenge regardless of a lack of resources.

Without further ado… “Cooking” with TPACK.

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