Academic journal article Australasian Journal of Engineering Education

Assessing Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge of Engineering Academics in an Australian Regional University

Academic journal article Australasian Journal of Engineering Education

Assessing Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge of Engineering Academics in an Australian Regional University

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

The twenty-first-century learning environment has become more challenging than ever as a result of the penetration of emerging technologies and technologies' paradigms. These have impacted on changes, not only in teaching and learning but also in redesign of the curriculum. Selecting the appropriate technology to match curriculum goals and objectives can facilitate varying teaching methods as well as students' learning styles, learning needs and individualised/group learning when necessary. Appropriate technologies can produce simulated images to enhance conceptualisation of content matter--and scaffold learning for the development of skills essential for the twenty-first century. These skills are especially important in facilitating lecturers' learning processes in order to support the pedagogies, content and technologies which are closely intertwined.

Alan Greenspan is quoted as describing the Conceptual Age (CA) as a 'shift toward value created through the exploitation of ideas and concepts ... from the more straightforward utilisation of physical resources and manual labour' (Pink 2005). Greenspan forecast that the demand in engineering knowledge had gone beyond technical know-how to the development of abilities to create, analyse and transform information with appropriate technologies. Engineering lecturers need to transmit these skills in the integration of their pedagogical knowledge (PK) and content knowledge (CK) using the most suitable technologies for the promotion of CA leaders. Two important frameworks to guide this transformation for the twenty-first century are the technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) framework (Mishra and Koehler 2006) and the design principles of the Apple School for Tomorrow-Today ([ACOT.sup.2] 2008). The later, together with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) are regarded as essential for the preparation of students for success in the twenty-first century (Beers 2011).

1.1. Technological pedagogical content knowledge

An important challenge encountered in the twenty-first-century learning environment is the fast growing tension between the knowledge to use ICT as a powerful teaching tool for pedagogical practices, and teachers' confidence to have the knowledge, skills and abilities to select the most appropriate technologies to make learning more stimulating and challenging for students. This tension can be gradually diminished as teachers learn how to construct, understand and apply the TPACK framework to their pedagogical practices. The TPACK paradigm emerges through the integration of three knowledge domains: technology, pedagogy and content (Mishra and Koehler 2006). This process can empower teachers to change how they teach, what they teach, how students learn and what students learn in the contemporary educational settings.

The TPACK framework was built upon the seminal work of Shulman (1986) on pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) which is the integration of two knowledge domains: content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge. Recent proponents in the early twenty-first century believe that there is a defining characteristic of technological knowledge (TK) in its relationship to Shulman's PCK (Angeli and Valanides 2005; Mishra and Koehler 2006; Niess 2005). The synergy of the integration of the three knowledge domains--technology, pedagogy and content is illustrated (Figure 1) by a Venn diagram with its emerging four constructs, technological pedagogical knowledge (TPK), technological content knowledge (TCK), PCK and TPCK also written as TPACK (Thompson and Mishra 2007-2008).

These domains and their constructs are fundamental to enhance understanding of appropriate ways to integrate technology in the learning environment. This understanding is instrumental in building teachers' confidence in planning activities and transforming learning in innovative and creative ways, thus reducing the tension to develop the confidence in integrating appropriate technology for teaching and learning. …

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