Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge Development of Turkish Pre-service Teachers of English

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Changes having occurred in the field of education have affected the body of knowledge that teachers need to promote successful language learning of their students (van Olphen, 2008). The present study aims to examine the TPACK development of Turkish PTs of English as they participated into a study explicitly focusing on the framework of TPACK and designed following Learning Technology by Design approach. Participants were 22 PTs enrolled in the ELT program of a state university in Istanbul, Turkey. During the 12-week study, PTs were informed about the TPACK framework, explored various technologies collaboratively, developed technological materials, designed technology-integrated lessons and taught in a real classroom setting. Data came from the adapted version of the Survey of Preservice Teachers’ Knowledge of Teaching and Technology (Schmidt, et al., 2009). Results showed that there was a statistically significant increase in TK, TCK, TPK and TPACK scores of PTs of English from the beginning to the end of the study. Theoretical Framework Technology has become a significant aspect of life in the 21st century. All spheres of education have been influenced by this phenomenon and there has been an increasing interest in the application of computers and computer-related technology in the classroom. As new advanced technologies have come to the classrooms, traditional conceptions of what constitutes a classroom, how learning occurs and the role of the teacher and qualities of teacher knowledge bases are all challenged by the capabilities of new technology. Teacher knowledge has been reported as one of the key barriers for effective technology integration (Hew & Brush, 2007; Mishra & Koehler, 2006). The issue of what teachers need to know about technology for effective teaching has been the centre of intense debate in the recent past (ISTE, 2002; Zhao, 2003). It is clearly stated that the mere introduction of technology to the classrooms will not have the desirable outcomes as “it is what people do with the machine, not the machine itself that makes a difference” (Mehan, 1989, p. 19). Similarly, Koehler and Mishra (2005) stated that the adoption of new technologies does not guarantee successful teaching and learning experiences. They emphasize the importance of focusing on identifying what teachers need to know about the role of technology to be effective in the classroom (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). In other words, the construction of a knowledge base for teachers is crucial for effective integration of technology into their teaching and for expecting teachers to add technology education to the learning areas that they are required to teach. Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) has been introduced as conceptual framework for teacher knowledge needed for effective technology integration (American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, 2008; Koehler & Mishra, 2008; Mishra & Koehler, 2006, 2008). The TPACK framework builds on Shulman’s construct of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) which refers to “the most powerful analogies, illustrations, examples, and demonstrations – in a word, the ways of representing and formulating the subject that makes it comprehensible to others” (1996, p.9) to include technology knowledge. The framework consists of three main components of knowledge, i.e., content (CK), pedagogy (PK) and technology (TK) and their intersections represented as pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), technological content knowledge (TCK), technological pedagogical knowledge (TPK) and technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK). Mishra and Koehler describe TPACK as follows: TPACK is the basis of good teaching with technology and requires an understanding of the representation of concepts using technologies; pedagogical techniques that use technologies in constructive ways to teach content; knowledge of what makes concepts difficult or easy to learn and how technology can help redress some of the problems that students face; knowledge of students’ prior knowledge and theories of epistemology; and knowledge of how technologies can be used to build on existing knowledge and to develop new epistemologies or strengthen old ones (2006, p. 1029). Teacher education has become a key area for the implementation of the TPACK framework (Maor & Roberts, 2011). Hofer and Grandgenett (2012) mentioned that in teacher education programs, various courses and field experiences help pre-service teachers (PTs) develop their TPACK. A number of research studies have been carried out among the PTs of different subject matters such as science, mathematics or social studies to investigate the effects of these courses on their TPACK development. Cavirn (2007) investigated the development of TPACK in six PTs from mathematics and science education majors as they participated into a micro teaching lesson study (MLS) process. During the MLS, the instructor modelled technology-enhanced instruction with PTs as students; PTs kept written reflections on each modelled instruction; and PTs developed and micro taught a content area lesson plan integrating technology. The findings of the data coming from audio recordings of group meetings, video recordings of micro teaching, interviews and PTs’ written reflections revealed that they began to consider the relationship among content, pedagogy and technology, indicating a progress in their TPACK and did modifications in their plans and teaching to enhance the effectiveness of the lesson. In a more recent study, Koh and Divaharan (2011) worked with PTs to help them develop their TPACK through a design project which involved using interactive whiteboards (IWBs). The participants were 74 PTs enrolled in an educational technology course. The researchers developed TPACK-Developing Instructional Model which was based on the following three phases: (1) faculty modelling of a new ICT tool; (2) building technical proficiency and pedagogical modelling; (3) and pedagogical application. Data came from preand post-surveys to examine PTs’ level of confidence and attitudes towards the use of IWB and PTs’ end-of-class reflections. Data analysis showed that PTs built their confidence in integrating IWBs into their teaching and their high level of positive attitude toward IWBs stayed high throughout the study. The reflections of PTs revealed no significant focus on TPACK throughout the study but while PTs emphasized TK at the beginning of the study, TPK became their focus when the study ended. In their study with PTs of various subjects such as mathematics, biology and social sciences, Hofer and Grandgenett (2012) focused on the development of TPACK through a three-semester teacher preparation program. During the program, PTs received general coursework on education in the first semester, contentspecific teaching methods course with practicum experience, content reading and writing, an educational technology course and a course on classroom management issues in the second semester and courses on classroom-based assessment, collaboration with families and school personnel, and a content based instructional planning course with practicum experience in the final semester. PTs completed the semester with a student teaching experience at their practicum sites. Data were collected at the beginning of the first semester, at the beginning and end of the fall semester, and at the end of the spring semester through the TPACK survey (Schmidt et. al., 2009), structured reflections, and lesson plans. Findings of the survey showed significant growth in PTs’ TPACK throughout the study. PTs’ lesson plans demonstrated adequate TPACK though the scores on the plans revealed a slight decrease during the student teaching semester from the fall semester. Finally, PTs’ reflections demonstrated that PTs mostly focused on their TPK for technology integration. The present study seeks to contribute to the literature on how TPACK framework can guide the development of PTs’ effective technology integration skills. Specifically, the aim of the present mixed methods study was twofold: (1) to examine the TPACK development of Turkish PTs of English as they participated into a study explicitly focusing on the framework of TPACK and designed following Learning Technology by Design approach; and (2) to investigate how this knowledge was reflected in PTs’ lesson plans and presentations. Due to the limited space, only the first research question based on the quantitative data will be discussed below.