Contemporary Issues In Teaching Science: TPACK Model

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This essay deals with the effective use of technology and other aspects of teaching to deliver an effective learning experience for a student in a classroom setting with the help of TPACK model. With the advent of different technology sources and a combination of the TPACK model the issues of teaching can be addressed with a progressive approach to cater to the needs of different learners and involves various pedagogical approaches and dynamic content to address the issues presented in the current educational setting

Effective teaching depends on the access to a multitude of resources in a well organised and structured manner, these resources can be thinking methodologies, teaching resources, teacher knowledge [Subject matter] or as ever-growing technological support. (Glaser, 1984; Putnam & Borko, 2000; Shulman, 1986, 1987)

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Context for the Lesson

The lesson is designed for a 12-year-old student in grade 7 in Brisbane at the Aspley state high school. Aspley state high school is a Public-school catering to the year 7 to year 12 classes and categorised as a secondary school. The school has 81 teaching staff and 52 non-teaching staff supporting 867 students. The ICSEA school value is 997 versus a average value of 1000 amongst the schools. The student is from a non-English speaking background which constitutes 23% of the total students enrolled in the school.

The school has a compulsory science enrolment policy for years 7 to 10 and delivers its program with the help of six designated science laboratories in the science precinct. The school has bring your own IPAD policy to enhance the learning experience in the classroom with some recommended applications to support the process. The school also entertains various extracurricular activities such as ICAS science competition, the science experience, Sparq-ed and Aspley solar car challenge to name a few.

TPACK model

The paper dwells on the knowledge framework of teachers and the integration of technology in a teaching environment called as Technology pedagogical content knowledge or TPACK

TPACK is a concept built upon Lee Shulman’s concept of PCK and talks in detail about integration of technology in the Pedagogy, content and knowledge aspects of it individually, as a combination of each aspect and all of them as unified model. The key to delivering an effective lesson is just not understanding concepts in Pedagogy, content and knowledge individually but to seamlessly integrate all these aspects with technology and deliver it to the students in a meaning full way.

The TPACK model considers both analog and digital technology as “technology” and considers integration of newer technology more complex in the current teaching environment. The model also places greater emphasis on the importance of content and pedagogical knowledge as it forms the basis for effective lessons and helps the teachers to construct, asses, understand and build skills in students in the class along with the integration of technology. Similarly each of the focal points Content Knowledge, Pedagogical knowledge, Pedagogical content knowledge, technological content knowledge, technological pedagogical knowledge and the technology pedagogical content knowledge each illustrate the effect on teaching and how fluid technology is when we integrate with our ideas and changes with context of the lesson.

Context clearly is the defining force behind the TPACK model as it determines how the technology in the class is going to be used , for example a class having a projector is going to be differently organised to a class with individual iPad for each kid, there is a bit more experience based learning in the later.

Based on the TPACK model this essay is designed to integrate a lesson [Content] from the Australian curriculum mapped along with a pedagogical method aided by thinking tools and technology and its effective delivery.

Lesson Concept

The concept described in the essay is Year 7 Physical sciences concept of “Change to an objects motion is caused by unbalanced forces acting on the object”. The lesson talks in specific about balanced and unbalanced forces on an object and its effect. The lesson helps the students determine what different kinds of forces are and the effects of forces on object or body. The concepts are explained with activities which the students can analyse and comprehend using thinking tools and record them on devices to refer when needed. The concept entertains students to work in groups and communicate with each other to develop their knowledge. The use of verbal, written, practical and digital sources help students relate to the personal understanding of individual students.

Learning objective

The WALT [Learning intention], sets the agenda for the class and students so that the students can be focussed and generate ideas, actively observe the class in motion.

The WALT in this specific lesson was designed as

  • Types of forces
  • Identify balanced and unbalanced forces
  • Analysing results of the experiment

WILF Success criteria

WILF is all the information a student needs to understand the concepts including, content, practicals and procedures and day to applications. The need to set a expectation falls on the teacher and the scale of measuring the success differs from each student to student depending on their capability.

  • Differentiate balance and unbalanced forces
  • Link the learning to Newtons second law of motion.

The Lesson

Science learning in classes specifically in middle schools are based on refreshing the students existing knowledge and building information using various techniques. The students based on the information gained construct logical solutions and record information to further research on more complex subject matters. [Oh & Oh 2011]. According to Vygotsky spontaneous learning is based on a person’s surroundings and everyday learning whereas non-spontaneous learning happens in a school and clearly differentiated it a setting. Scientific learning clearly happened in a systematic setting and builds on a base of already existing information and this happens with a help of a system so that the student can organize information on a logical hierarchy and helping them with a new direction.

The constructivist pedagogy or theory supports Science learning in a class based on the inquiry-based learning model. Inquiry based learning helps students make meaning of a concept when teachers set parameter which can be external and internal ,but true inquiry is based on certain Characteristics such as emphasis on process [Communicating, collaborating, Analysing etc], students ideas are given more importance, metacognition, constructing ideas and observations and taking the lead to further learning.

The thinking tool used in the classroom to generate ideas about forces is a Venn diagram which is effective tool to generate ideas , compare and analyse the information , considering Blooms Taxonomy of higher order thinking and the inquiry based learning “Analyse” is a optimum level to guide the students through the learning process.

The class is provided with a task to help the students explore the idea of balanced and unbalanced forces. The cognitive verb introduced to execute these activities is “Differentiate” which will be executed with the help of an tug of war. The classroom starts with a basic introduction and understanding about forces among students with the basics of newtons law of motions as the basis and trying to understand different concepts like Pull /Push, gravity, friction, the measurement of force and different types of forces in our everyday life. A simple refresher for students to start thinking about forces is initiated by asking about a football being kicked in the playground and why it moves and reaches another part of the field so key points like force , direction and how gravity plays a part in the motion are revisited in this activity before dwelling into the concept. This activity is done in the class with a simple text [Resource] of a paper crumpled and converted to a paper ball and the fingers used as a leg to strike the ball for safety. This step is a vital part in the constructivist enquiry model where the students relate to their experiences from external sources to form a understanding about the concept and also use as tuning in session to understand their conceptions and misconceptions. The following lesson is based around the simulation which the kids are going to be observing making their observations which we will deliberate and Analyse to come to a conclusion, so Based on the TPACK model we see a clear overlap of Technology Paper, iPad or computer, simulation software, content [force simulation] , Pedagogy [Constructivist Inquiry model] and the teachers Knowledge about the concept and the thinking tools used to instigate the thinking process amongst the class.

The simulation Phet website simulates a tug of war with a value of forces and the direction being depicted. The student analyses the action taking place in the first step where the equal force is applied from both directions on the object, discovery questions like “what do you think is happening right now” starts the thinking process, some students need a bit more deeper questioning like “What do the arrows depict” , “what are the two figures doing”, the simulation progresses with different settings example 2 people on one side and one person on the other , so further questioning happens, this Simulation session happens in a group of 2 students so that they can take turns in executing the simulation and writing down the different observations. So Venn diagram is used to depict the 2 different types of forces balanced and unbalanced forces which initially is named step 1 and step 2 so the observations made will help the students identify the similarities and differences. One of the key higher order thinking levels in Blooms taxonomy Analyse plays a key role with effective questioning like “ Analyse four perspectives from your observation” , “Discuss similarities and differences between the two events”.

The Venn diagram is used as a tool to record the ideas by the team which is further discussed to explain the newtons second law of motion and its relation to unbalanced forces. The analysis helps the students identify when objects accelerate and how forces play a direct part along with the mass of the object affecting the motion as well [decreases the motion]. This understanding helps the teacher introduce the Formulae for Force [net] = M*A to help further workings. This inquiry-based learning technique allowed the teacher to educate the students about newtons second law of motion from the observations and also utilize effective questions to think and help them relate their thoughts and observation to the concept .

Technology in teaching

Technology in TPACK model can be analog and digital, similarly the above lesson has been effectively taught to the kids using a wide variety of resources [Text] example Paper, iPad, white board, simulation software, Queensland science curriculum.

The lesson has been majorly executed through a simulation application on a student’s own IPAD so that they can experience the activity, explore the features of the simulation application record the observations as notes and most importantly analyse the data and share the ideas as a group which is a key aspect in the constructivist theory which supports external learning among the peer group and later the teacher enriches and helps unlearn the misconceptions.


  1. Shulman, L. S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57(1), 1–22.
  2. Putnam, R. T., & Borko, H. (2000).What do new views of knowledge and thinking have to say about research on teacher learning? Educational Researcher, 29(1), 4–15.
  3. Phil Seok Oh & Sung Jin Oh (2011) What Teachers of Science Need to Know about Models: An overview, International Journal of Science Education, 33:8, 1109 1130, DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2010.502191
  4. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in Society: The development of higher psychological process. Harvard University Press.
  5. Conklin, J. (2005). Educational Horizons, 83(3), 154-159. Retrieved March 15, 2020, from
  6. Anderson, L. W., Krathwohl, D. R., & Bloom, B. S., 1913. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives (Complete ed.). New York: Longman.
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