The Many Faces of TPACK/Primary Teacher Education

A View to K-5 (Primary & Pre-school) Teacher Education with TPACK LensEdit

by Hatice Çilsalar

In our current age, focus has moved toward technology because of increasing the place of technology in life. After Schulman (1986)’s introduction of PCK, teacher knowledge domain had gone beyond it. Practical deficiencies in teaching and learning environments have occurred by not meeting the needs of students and society. Mishra & Koehler (2006) studied technological pedagogical content knowledge in order to revisit the knowledge for effective technology integration. Therefore, there are a lot of studies related to drawing a general overview about TPACK in teacher education. Specifically, K-5 level teacher education (primary teacher education) has to be analyzed carefully because of its importance on being first level of formal education.

This chapter will first introduce TPACK studies in K-5 teacher education and the will represent examples of classroom applications of TPACK in K-5 level. Therefore, there are to main part of this chapter.

In the first part of study, some researches about K-5 teacher education are examined to draw and overview on the teachers’ TPACK. In order to conduct review, TPACK newsletters, specifically Punya Mishra’s, Matt-Koehler’s, and Mary Jo Weisenburger’s newsletters, are the main source and also databases were searched such as; EBSCO-host and ERIC. While selecting studies, the criteria is that researches should be published articles in scientific journal and it should be article about K-5 level teachers’ TPACK. At the end of the process nine articles has reached which fix the criteria.

The reviewed articles’ main focus is TPACK, and so at the end of this chapter, it is aimed to have a conclusion about what have been done for development of TPACK in K-5 level teacher education.

The table of literature review which includes articles and summary of these article in Appendix 1. Eight articles which are published on a journal take place in this study while six of them(Fig& Jamani,2011;Graham, Broup&Smith, 2012; Kaya&Dağ, 2013;Chaia and et al., 2011; Ana, Wildera&Limb,2011) are about pre-service teacher education while others(Polly,2011; Bos,2011; Chuang&Hoan, 2011) are about in-service teacher education. Two of them(Kaya&Dağ, 2013; Chuang&Hoan, 2011) explain the adaptation of Schmidt et al. survey to different settings which are translation to Turkish and adaptation to, Taiwan setting considering early childhood teachers. In some articles, researchers try to examine the effect of one specific course on teachers’ TPACK knowledge that are introductory educational technology class(Graham, Broup&Smith, 2012), ICT course(Chaia and et al., 2011), online education course(Ana, Wildera&Limb,2011), instructional technology course (Angelia&Valanides,2009). Being case study, all researches in this study have participants instead of using sample. Some articles have focused on the effect of creating technology rich environment by teachers on their TPACK.

The participant number range from 2 to 834. This means that this type of researches can include either mostly specified participants or huge number of participants. In this area, researchers are flexible to choose their participants. Different data collection tools were used in these studies that are questionnaire(Fig& Jamani,2011; Graham, Broup&Smith, 2012; Kaya&Dağ, 2013, Chuang&Hoan, 2011; Ana, Wildera&Limb,2011), interview(Fig& Jamani,2011), observation(Fig& Jamani,2011), lesson plan design(Fig& Jamani,2011, Graham, Broup& Smith, 2012; Angelia&Valanides,2009) course assessment(Graham, Broup&Smith, 2012;), reflective thinking rubrics on assignments(Graham, Broup&Smith, 2012; Ana, Wildera&Limb,2011), peer evaluation(Bos,2011; Angelia&Valanides,2009), self-evaluation(Angelia&Valanides,2009). All these tools show that this type of researches collect both qualitative and quantitative data. However using questionnaire is the most common method in this area. Because it is really helpful to collect data in a standardized and objective way and also enables to collect data from a large group of participants(Frankel, Wallen & Huyn,2012). Almost all empirical researches in this study collected data from different sources such as by using questionnaire and interviews or observations. This means that researchers tried to understand TPACK concept in depth. In the light of these information, articles were group according to their participants level(in-service or pre-service). All articles can be seen on the Literature Table(*).

As stated before, the articles about pre-service primary teacher educations are written by Fig& Jamani(2011), Graham,Broup&Smith(2012), Kaya&Dağ(2013), Chaia and et al.(2011), Ana,Wildera&Limb(2011). Brief information about these articles are given below. Fig& Jamani’s (2011) study is about exploring teacher knowledge on technology enriched teaching environment. According to results, taking feedback from experienced teachers is more beneficial being independent for pre-service teachers because they need support for increasing student engagement in deciding the sequence of technological activities. Lesson design, focused on content knowledge, has impact on learning outcome while technical skills of teachers promote meaningful learning of students considering not only content but also technological knowledge. Introducing technological tools to pre-service teachers supports their lesson plan designs, TPACK-in-practice activities.

Determination of use of technology in pre-service teachers’ growth was articulated in TK, TPK, TPACK that is indicated in Graham,Broup&Smith’s(2012) study. Technology is used, generally, for making content more visual; similarly, technology usage had positive effect on outcomes of content learning activities. In quantity issues, explicitly increase was found for TPK and TPACK categories while in quality issue, length of students’ answers and number of their rationale behind choosing the strategies was found as increased. In the study of Kaya& Dağ(2013), the scale which was developed by Schmidt et al.(2009) was adaptated to Turkish and explanatory and confirmative factor analyses was conducted. 352 pre-service teachers from three state university in Turkey were participated in to the study and it was concluded that alpha levels of the dimensions of scale change between 0.77 and 0.88. Confirmatory and explanatory factor analysis indicate that the adopted version of scale have similar factors with the original one.

Chaia and et al.(2011) studied to construct relationship among seven sub dimensions of TPACK by trying to answer some questions that are what factors of TPACK are perceived by Singapore pre-service teachers when a TPACK survey, contextualized for the pedagogical approaches applied in their ICT course, is being used, and how these identified factors of TPACK are related structurally before and after the ICT course that 834 pre-service teachers registered. In this study, researchers design the course of ICT for meaningful learning by conducting the scale of Schmidt et. Al.(2009) scale’s adopted version to Singaporean context. By conducting factor analysis and structural equation model, it was concluded that pedagogical knowledge had a direct impact on TPACK at the beginning of the course. As teachers made connections between their TK and PK to form TPK during the course, the direct relation between PK and TPACK became insignificant where as the relations between pedagogical knowledge and technological pedagogical knowledge, and technological pedagogical knowledge and TPACK were strengthened. Relations between CK and TPACK have become more significant.

Ana, Wildera and Limb(2011) tried to answer the question that to what extent and in what ways the teacher candidates’ technical competency, development of TPACK, and beliefs and attitudes toward their technology integration practices changed after taking an online educational technology course. Online survey, students’ written reflections, students’ assignments were used to collect data about the course’s effectiveness on teachers TPACK. As a result of the study, online educational course has positive impact on students’ development of TPACK and also pre-service teachers’ attitudes and beliefs were improved and also show tendency to use technology adequately for students. Candidate teachers improved their designing instructional activities more learner-centered. They have tendency to use technology in their teaching places and see it as a motivator.

Angelia and Valanides (2009) proposed ICT-TPACK model which is a derivation of TPACK model and measured students learning in design task to examine the impact of technological mapping and assessment of ICT-TPACK model. 215 pre-service teachers were joined the study and peer assessment, self-assessment, instructor assessment were used to look for Pearson r between self and peer assessment. ICT-TPACK competency developed and improved. Teaching ID has positive impact on development of students ICT-TPACK knowledge. Although researches on pre-service K-5 teachers are predominated in the field, some research were conducted to understand TPACK of in-service primary teachers, specifically primary teachers. This researches generally focused on development of teachers’ TPACK. Summaries of some researches were given below.

When come to in-service teacher training about technological pedagogical knowledge, their knowledge of creating instructional materials which is enriched by technology tried to examine in the study of Polly(2011). In this research, teachers want to use Google documents, wikis, and other resources online in order to enrich their technological knowledge. While developing their TK, teachers stated that they make connections between PK, PCK, TPK, and TPACK.

In order to use the TPACK framework with practicing teachers as they developed instructional units using Web 2.0 instructional tools and mathematical objects to verify whether technology increased their knowledge and enabled them to assimilate technology into an instructional unit adhering to TPACK, Bos(2011) reached 30 teachers who had a mean teaching experience of 5 years and were enrolled in a graduate elementary number concepts course in order to answer the question how TPACK seems when determining websites for instructional units in the mathematics classroom. Teacher’s experience helps them to see importance of pedagogy and mathematical knowledge with their technology interaction. Technological availability in class for each student can limit teachers’ TPACK use in class. The researcher stated that the transition from a causal relationship with technology to a more connected bond built on an understanding of appropriate student-oriented pedagogy, conceptualized mathematical content, and cognitive complexity can lead to more teachable moments with technology as the manipulated medium and arm of instruction rather than as a glitzy add-on.

Chuang and Hoan (2011) translated and adopted Schmidt et al.(2009) by adding some items related to context and conducted to 335 teachers in Taiwan. After pilot study with 202 in-service early childhood teachers, it was concluded that adopted version of scale has level validity and reliability. Manova, Pearson product-moment correlation analysis were conducted to examine the relationships between each of TPACK subscales and three demographics. Specifically, there are significant differences between different teaching experience levels, age groups, different technology use in a week.

When these articles were analyzed, most of them are related to pre-service teachers TPACK development. However, there is a huge in-service teacher potential. In order to make current educational system update, teachers’ knowledge should be kept updated. Students need to be faced with current knowledge, current applications and recent activities.

Banks, Leach and Moon(2011) stated that “La transposition didactique” of Chevellard is defined as a process of change, alteration and restructuring which the subject matter must undergo if it is to become teachable and accessible to novices or children. Similar with this subject matter change, nowadays teachers’ knowledge is required to such change by considering technological knowledge. In primary school settings, students face first real educational activities; reading and writing letters, words, sentences, knowing numbers, counting, solving mathematical problems, etc. These are first activities done with the aim of developing basic academic knowledge of the freshmen. So, primary teachers who are expecting to meet society, learner, and subject matter have to reconstruct their knowledge by considering these needs. The most common one is technology and the knowledge should be adapted in-service teachers’ knowledge to this domain. This is substantial for both not missing the generation and also preparing adults to next centuries. In addition to requirement of more study on in-service teachers TPACK, development of teacher educators in faculties TPACK should be considered. The instructors in education faculty require training of development TPACK. Instructors with lack of TPACK may not contribute candidate teachers for development of their technology integration ability.

In addition to these knowledge, the researches in this study indicate that the researchers are aware on the issue that teacher education should be designed by considering TPACK. From this point, it can be concluded that all courses which are about teaching and learning should be combined with technology from beginning to end of teacher education programs.

To conclude, more inservice training to adapt their knowledge to TPACK, more teacher educator programs on TPACK and finally redesign of teacher education program considering TPACK are required. So there should be more consideration on TPACK in both pre-service, in-service and professional development of teacher educators.

Final part of this study is about the technological sources on primary education. Specifically these tools are for primary teachers that they can use in and out class for making education more enjoyful. First one is . This site is a free, community-supported network. And this site is for those who are "beginners" and will find this a supportive comfortable place to start being part of the digital dialog. In this patform, teachers share their ideas with colleagues around the world. Once the membership of ateahcer is approved, the best way to find or become part of a conversation is to us the search box at the upper right or the topic list to the lower left. this website gives opportunity to find mobile applications for educational activities under the title of play. For example, teachers can find a lot of games on gravity and electricity. This games helps students to learn topics in an enjoyful way. : In this website, there are a lot of little essays on technology integration in to education and tools that can be used with educational purposes. : This page give information about the 100 best web tools which can be used in classes. On this page, some links about technological tools’ webpage are given. Such sites are helpful for teachers specifically primary education teachers. Because primary school students enjoy playing games is the opportunity for primary school teachers to find activities make them enjoyful.


  1. Banks, F.,Leach, J. & Moon, B.(2005): Extract from new understandings of teachers' pedagogic knowledge. Curriculum Journal. 16:3, 331-340.
  2. Fraenkel, J., Wallen, N. and Hyun, H. (2012). How to design and evaluate Research in Education. Mc Grow Hilll.
  3. Koehler’s newsletter:
  4. Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A new framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record 108 (6), 1017-1054.
  5. Mishra’s Newsletter:
  6. Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher. 15(2), 4- 31.
  7. Weisenburger’s Newsletter: