Chapter 2 – Literature Review
Today’s youth have an increasing knowledge of technology that far surpasses many
people in older generations. This generation, the Millennials, are more ethnically diverse, less
religious, more educated, and extremely tech savvy. Three-quarters of this generation have
created a profile and interacted on a social-networking website and twenty percent have posted a
video of themselves online. While the majority of Millennials have cell phones, 88% of them
use their phones daily to text and 62% use wireless connections to access the internet while away
from home. Compared to Generation X, those whom are one generation older, twice as many
Millennials feel that technology is what defines their generation (PEW Research Center, 2010).
While many of today’s students use technology with ease, our education system lags far
behind in effectively educating today’s youth. Prensky (2001) coined the term digital natives for
the students of today who are well versed in the language and processes surrounding video
games, computers, and the internet. Conversely, people who were born prior to this generation
are digital immigrants. Digital immigrants are in a constant state of learning the language of
technology. However, growing up with little technology has impacted the way that these people
operate in today’s technology-rich world. Digital immigrants have learned how to use some
technologies, but the way in which they process and solve problems is very different. For
example, if a person needed to get the phone number of a restaurant and make reservations, the
digital immigrant would find the phone number in a phone book and call to make reservations.
In contrast, the digital native might look on the Internet for the phone number and possibly make
reservations online. It is very apparent that the two approaches are not right and wrong, rather
more provocative in how differently two generations approach a task based on their experiences
with technology (Prensky, 2001).
This technology gap between teachers and students affects the efficiency and
effectiveness of the lessons delivered in the classroom. Prensky (2001) examined the digital
natives and concluded that they are a generation that is used to multi-tasking, quick answers,
instant gratification, and work best when with other people. This begs the question, how do
today’s students learn in our current educational system? We have teachers who are digital
immigrants attempting to teach a generation of digital natives. Both speak different languages
and have drastically different methods for learning. Prensky (2001) suggested that teachers and
school districts address their methodology and content. Using the pedagogy presented in the
TPACK model, Mishra and Koehler addressed the issues of integrating content, pedagogy, and
technology. In addition to teaching reading, writing, and math, educators need to address the
technology and issues surrounding technology. Educators must teach students how to use
software, hardware, etc. However, they also must include the ethics, issues, and politics
associated with technology. In order to address the “digital divide”, school districts and teacher
preparation programs must address the social, cognitive, and communication barriers that exist as
well (Harper, 2003).
In order to begin the process of closing this gap, it is imperative that teachers look at their
own teaching, pedagogy, and content knowledge as it relates to technology. All teachers have
experiences, positive and negative, with technology that will affect how fully they implement it
in their classroom. In addition, there are external factors that also influence how well technology
is integrated and put to use in the classroom. These factors include the availability of
technology, support from administration, and training (Baek, et al, 2006).
Using Mishra and Koehler’s (2006) studies regarding technological, pedagogical, and
content knowledge (TPACK), it is clear that proper implementation has specific characteristics.
The teacher must have content, pedagogical, and technological knowledge. In addition, teachers
must also be able to learn and implement areas of combined knowledge such as content-
technological or pedagogical-content knowledge. Using this model and Harris’ (2009) research
on activity types, teachers can create activities taking into account the context of the standards
being taught. Mayer’s (2005) work with learning has many suggestions for how teachers can
present media to maximize learning and instruction.
In the current study, the researcher used Mishra, Koehler, and Harris’ findings to
determine the most affective plan for implementing new technologies at an elementary school.
First, the theoretical rationale for the current study will be outlined, followed by a summary of
integration factors. Next, we will explore the application of theory and integration factors to new
technologies. Lastly, the research findings as they apply to the current study will be examined.
In order for educators to begin to bridge the technology gap between themselves and their
students, they first must acknowledge that technology is advancing in all parts of our society and
that there is a generational divide between students and teachers (Watson, 2006).
Training teachers in technology goes back many years to a time when teachers took
courses in “visual instruction” during the 1920s (Betrus, 2002). As these courses evolved,
teacher preparation programs began offering classes on the history of visual instruction and the
psychology of visual learning. In the 1930s courses were offered in “using the stereoscope”,
“the use of lantern slides”, and “mechanics of projectors and projection” (Betrus, 2002). As
audio recording became available in the 40s, instructors incorporated it into these visual
instruction courses. Computers began to make their way into classrooms in the 1980s and 1990s.
Students began to use computers in the classroom and teacher preparation programs began
offering more courses in “computer assisted instruction” (Betrus, 2002). As technology has
evolved, so have the teacher preparation programs; however, there still exists a large gap
between using technology in the classroom and effectively integrating technology to increase
student engagement and knowledge.
Early in the 21st
century, researchers Mishra and Koehler did groundbreaking research
that paved the way for a model of effective technology integration. They took Shulman’s
research on pedagogy and content knowledge and extended it to include technology (Mishra &
Koehler, 2006). The research established that teachers must have specific knowledge about
technology, pedagogy, and content. Where these knowledge areas meet is a new area of
knowledge that teachers must learn.
Figure 1. TPACK Context Model
Using Figure 1, it is apparent that where content knowledge and technological knowledge meet,
that is a new kind of knowledge called technological content knowledge. An example of
technological content knowledge would look like this: combining the content knowledge of a
social studies lesson on the causes of the Revolutionary War and the technological knowledge of
using an interactive timeline to create a lesson about the causes of the Revolutionary War using
an interactive timeline and other required technologies. Teaching only the content requires
different knowledge than teaching the content in the context of technology. Although, TPACK
is not a prescription for how educators should train to teach, it is a model by which educators can
understand their own knowledge and better prepare themselves for teaching effectively with
In the TPACK model, each knowledge area covers specific topics and concepts that must
be understood in isolation before they are combined.
Content Knowledge. Content knowledge is the information, ideas, hypotheses, and
procedures within a given subject area. It is the knowledge specifically needed to teach a
subject. The content knowledge in a middle school art class is very different from the content
knowledge needed to teach a high school math course. Understanding content knowledge
includes the ability to compare and contrast different subject areas and determine if they have
anything in common. (Mishra & Koehler, 2006)
Pedagogical Knowledge. This kind of knowledge involves an understanding of how
people learn. Someone with deep pedagogical knowledge would thoroughly understand how
people construct knowledge, obtain skills, and create positive habits and attitudes in their
learning. Pedagogical knowledge requires an understanding of theories and how these theories
apply to students in a classroom. (Mishra & Koehler, 2006)
Technological Knowledge. Technological knowledge is knowledge about technologies
including books, magazines, and whiteboards, as well as more advanced technologies such as
digital videos and document cameras. This involves the knowledge needed to operate the
technology as well as use multiple technologies together. Technological knowledge
encompasses familiarity with computer hardware as well as software programs. Since the
technology available is always changing, someone with technological knowledge must be able to
move with the changes and adapt old knowledge to learn new technology. (Mishra & Koehler,
Shulman’s research on content and pedagogical knowledge is what Mishra and Koehler
used when they started their research on TPACK. Shulman’s idea about pedagogical content
knowledge (PCK) was important in conveying the concept of a new knowledge area where two
Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK). This area of knowledge includes
understanding pedagogy well enough to determine what type of lesson will teach the content
most effectively. It also includes knowledge of students’ backgrounds in the content area as well
as an understanding of what makes concepts easy or difficult to learn. Using PCK is what makes
up the art of teaching. (Mishra & Koehler, 2006)
Technological Content Knowledge (TCK). The relationship between technology and
content knowledge is always changing, however this type of knowledge is demonstrated when a
teacher uses a specific technology to teach content. Teachers must know the content, but also
how to use the technology in the context of the classroom in order for all students to learn. Many
software programs change the way that content is presented such as in a game format or virtual
manipulation of shapes in a geometry lesson. Some of these programs offer students the
opportunity to construct knowledge somewhat passively, while they “play”. (Mishra & Koehler,
Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK). The knowledge of what technologies
exist, how to use them, and understanding that teaching may change as a result of using specific
technologies are all aspects of TPK. In addition, this knowledge area includes an understanding
of pedagogical strategies and the ability to apply those strategies to different technologies.
Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK or TPACK). This is the
newest area of knowledge that extends beyond the three knowledge elements. TPACK is the
foundation on which solid teaching with technology occurs. This model of technology
integration requires a person to be thoughtful in how they intertwine the three core knowledge
areas. A superb technology integrator is one who has a firm grasp on the content and pedagogy
and is able to select the appropriate technology to deliver an effective lesson. Successful
integration balances these three components. Lessons are taught in a specific context. It is very
important to be aware of the context because it will change as the content and students change.
(Mishra & Koehler, 2006)
Due to the large amount of research supporting TPACK, the current study used TPACK
as a model for creating an implementation plan for teachers. In the following sections, the
hindrances and helps to integration are explored as well as the application of TPACK in training
Technology Integration Factors
Taylor, et al (2004) found that students, who learned subject matter with effectively
integrated technology, gained more knowledge than students who learned the same information
without technology. In order for technology to be implemented and used effectively, teachers
need training in how to do this. Many variables determine whether a teacher will fully integrate
computers or not. These factors included: (a) positive teaching experiences with technology; (b)
teacher’s comfort with computers; (c) beliefs supporting the use of computers as an instructional
tool; (d) training and support; (e) motivation; (f) and teaching efficacy (Mueller, et al, 2008).
Baek, Jung, and Kim (2008) found that many of the factors that affected implementation were
external and based on others’ requests or perceived need for technology. Their research also
suggested that teachers with more experience were less likely to begin implementing technology
in their classrooms while new teachers were more motivated to use it willingly.
Based on the TPACK model and the findings of Baek, et al and Taylor, et al, a
conclusion can be drawn that teachers’ willingness to integrate technology is somewhat based on
their training and comfort with technology. It appears that teachers are trained well in content
and pedagogy. Training in technology is now a requirement in teacher credential programs;
however much of the training is specific for using different technologies and software. This
training does not include hands-on application of content, pedagogy, and technology as
suggested in TPACK. Preparing teachers using the TPACK model includes the application of
the three knowledge areas and time to be successful in using technology. Mueller, et al (2008)
found that teachers’ positive experiences with computer technology were the greatest contributor
to integration. The researchers proposed that perhaps these positive experiences boosted
teachers’ confidence in using technology. The research indicated that teachers needed to see that
technology has the potential to improve learning before they are willing to use it in their
classroom. (Mueller, et al, 2008) This finding demonstrates the importance of making trainings
that are teacher-focused and based in pedagogy that is applicable to the content focus. Teachers
need to see how to integrate technology effectively as well as be convinced that technology
Addressing the integration factors in teacher trainings and preparation programs is
important; however, there are many teachers who received little or no technology training when
they were in a credential program. This lack of prior education forces school districts to be
responsible for training their teachers to be effective integrators.
In order for teachers to integrate technology, there need to be training standards and
professional development guidelines (Pittman, 1999). Before the Department of Education
adopted national standards in 2007, prominent organizations in the educational technology field
began putting forth recommendations for what best practices and models should be addressed.
Mishra and Koehler (2006) stated that teachers need to learn not only the basics of software and
hardware, but need a deep understanding of the technology available. This deep understanding
will allow teachers to be flexible and teachable through the many changes and enhancements that
will happen. In addition to a deep understanding, Mishra and Koehler found that it is important
for teachers to appreciate the interrelationships that exist between the technology, tools, users,
and methods. This is a very fluid and ever changing field. For teachers to be successful in
integrating and using technology, they must be able to appreciate it and be willing to learn new
things and apply their knowledge to new situations. The standards that were adopted in 2007
address performance indicators for students, teachers, and administrators. Each set of standards
addresses not only the use of technology, but also how to be a digital citizen and growing in your
knowledge of technological issues.
Mishra and Koehler (2005) suggested that teachers work in groups and learn through
solving an educational issue using technology. With this method, teachers have a lower affective
filter because they are working in a group and they can move at their own pace. Since they are
using technology to solve the problem that the trainer posed, teachers learn what it is like to be
on the student side of learning. In general, they focus more on solving the problem and less on
learning the technology. In other words, technology is being taught implicitly, not explicitly.
This constructivist model of learning by Piaget supports the idea that Young (2003) proposed.
She studied different computer-based learning environments. Her research findings suggest a
model in which students learn from computers not with computers. This means that students,
aided by a computer, actively construct knowledge in a specific context. In contrast to
instructor-led learning, the teachers in this class use a broader range of technologies to solve the
problem, hence giving them experience with a larger number of programs and platforms.
Brown and Warschauer (2006) studied the teacher preparation programs. Their findings
were that most programs and field placements fall short. Students reported that they were too
busy with other classes to focus and learn what they needed to for the technology classes. During
student teaching placements, the same trend was found. Student teachers were overwhelmed
with class work and found it difficult to integrate computers, so many chose not to use it. As
Mishra and Koehler found, the teacher preparation courses focused on mastering hardware and
software functions, rather than tasks that can be used for integrating technology. Brown and
Warschauer believed that infusing technology into the methods courses would provide a context
and a collaborative learning environment by which teachers would learn technology and content
more effectively. They also believed that teacher-education faculty needs to model the use of
effective technology integration. Once teachers complete the preparation program, Brown and
Warschauer suggested that teachers be placed with a technologically proficient mentor of their
new staff. This person would be a role model as well as be able to provide information and
suggestions for successfully integrated lessons.
Application to New Technologies
Teachers need specific contextual examples of how to integrate technology. Clemmons
(2010) focused on the interactive aspect of document cameras and gave many examples of ways
to integrate document cameras into curriculum. Her focus on effective integration supports
Mishra and Koehler’s research demonstrating that context along with technology is a new area of
teacher knowledge. Using the context of a content-specific lesson, Clemmons gives teachers an
opportunity to use technology successfully.
Harris’ extensive work with activity types demonstrated that lesson design is paramount
in effectively using technology and training teachers how to integrate technology. Harris,
Mishra, and Koehler (2009) gave extensive examples of technologies that were compatible with
specific activities. Suppose a teacher wanted students to create a narrative writing about an event
in the past. The technologies that Harris found to be most compatible with that activity are word
processors and concept mapping software. Although Harris’ research is not a prescribed set of
parameters for integration, she created a very user-friendly model.
Using Table 1, you can see that there are many activity choices for knowledge-based
activities. Perhaps a teacher wanted students to listen to the audio version of a radio broadcast to
learn about an event in history. The compatible technology includes MP3 files, podcasts, CDs,
and radio. Using this table, and other like it, helps teachers to determine quickly what kind of
technology would be best for a specific activity.
Knowledge Building Activity Types
Technology Implementation in the Current Study
Based on the research, it is clear that technology implementation is not a short, easy
process. Teachers’ prior knowledge, attitudes, and experiences must be a consideration when
developing an implementation plan.
Mayer (2003) researched design methods across different media and found that students
gained a deep understanding of the material regardless of the media used. This research is
important to implementation because it demonstrated that there are many different types of
media available. As long as the instructional design is sound, students learned the material with
significant depth whether it was using text and illustrations or narration and animation (Mayer,
Sound instructional design is rooted in the concepts presented in Mayer’s cognitive
theory of multimedia learning (CTML). This theory focused on the idea that multimedia
instructional messages designed in light of how the human mind works are going to be more
understandable than ones that are not (Mayer, 2005). The theory of learning that you have two
channels through which information enters your brain and there is a limit to how much your
brain can process helped Mayer form his conclusion. Mayer found that people learn more
effectively if pictures and words are presented simultaneously rather than separately.
Pairing Mayer’s CTML with Mishra and Koehler’s theory regarding knowledge, one can
create an implementation plan that successfully implements visual and auditory concepts with
content, knowledge, and technology. Although Mishra and Koehler don’t explicitly discuss
document cameras, or document readers, as a form of visual technology, they are beginning to be
used in schools and teachers need training on implementation. Visual media such as digital
photos, video, and document cameras are being used in classrooms with little training in
This study used the research and created an implementation plan for document cameras
based on the findings of Harris, Mishra, Koehler, and Mayer. Document cameras are a digital
projector that allows the user to project an image of an item or document onto a screen.
Document cameras are useful with microscopes, as a digital camera, and as an interactive tool.
While the current research on document camera use is very limited, studies on visual media and
technology integration are applied easily. Using this research, an implementation plan that
includes Harris’ activity types and examples of successful lessons using TPACK was created for
an elementary school that recently purchased document cameras.
Technology is changing daily and with those changes comes a need for teacher training.
Teachers not only need to know the content and pedagogy behind the standards that they teach,
but also should be able to select appropriate technologies to use. Mishra and Koehler’s research
on knowledge led to the creation of the technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge
framework for multimedia instruction. Using this research with Harris’ work on activity types,
the researcher created an implementation plan for using document cameras at an elementary
school. Part of this plan includes instructional strategies suggested by Mayer and his work with
multimedia learning. Applying the TPACK and activity type theories to document cameras was
a natural step forward since document cameras contain much of the same technology as
computers, digital cameras, and digital video recorders.
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