What is TPACK?

In this entry, you will find: a general definition of TPACK, a brief discussion of the three main categories, a brief YouTube video that reiterates TPACK and some initial thoughts about TPACK within the context of a secondary-level English class.

Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge or TPACK  is a framework that deals with the need for, and interdependence of, 3 facets of educator knowledge:

  1. Content knowledge: refers to the educator’s knowledge of accepted, established, and or prevailing  ideas and concepts within the discipline.  It also speaks to established practices and approaches toward developing such knowledge (M.J. Koehler & P. Mishra, 2008).
  2. Pedagogical knowledge: refers to practices and strategies utilized by the educator in order to teach the content knowledge (M.J. Koehler & P. Mishra, 2008).
  3. Technological knowledge: is defined as the educator’s broad knowledge of technology that enables him or her to select appropriate technology to support student learning.  Further, a necessary component of technological knowledge is that the educator is able to reimagine or repurpose tools so that they may function in ways that are different from their primary or identified uses (M.J. Koehler & P. Mishra, 2008).

A key component of  this framework is that the three categories are interrelated, creating subcategories themselves: Technological Pedagogical Knowledge, Technological Content Knowledge and Pedagogical Content Knowledge.


Image: Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by

Click to view a 3-minute video that reiterates the definition of TPACK.

TPACK in a high school English classroom:

In an 11th grade American English class, the educator’s content knowledge includes the role that language plays in a society and the ways in which American authors have targeted particular audiences and achieved their intended purposes by using literary and rhetorical strategies.

In order to get students to the desired learning outcomes, the educator designs experiences that utilize various formats to allows students to examine an author’s work and investigate the relationship between audience, purpose and language. Some strategies may include small and large group discussions, reading aloud and annotating, re-reading, as well as questioning strategies.Through the course of these experiences, the teacher utilizes various forms of formative assessments to assess students’ understanding of the content and depending on the results, the teacher makes adjustments on individual and/or group levels.

Throughout the entire experience, the educator integrates technology seamlessly to help students engage in analysis, research, synthesis, collaboration and writing.  They may research the life and times of the author as well as global writers of the time to help juxtapose the different voices.  They may also access and listen to audio versions of texts.  When collaborating on writing tasks or working on developing an idea, the teacher is knowledgeable about which tools would support their process  and depending on the students, context and learning goals, the teacher makes suggestions to aid in their communication and collaboration.


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