Thursday, November 24, 2011

Reflecting on the TPACK Professional development (PD) design process

Recently I was involved in designing a TPACK professional development for elementary natural science teachers within Indonesian context. For this reason, I worked elbow to elbow with two Indonesian friends. Everything from the design process, working with TPACK, finding ways to stimulate teachers to integrate technology in education as well as thinking about the feasibility of our design in the Indonesian context was very challenging; but later it turned out to be a crucial eye opener towards becoming a better TPACK professional development (PD) designer. From this design experience, I gained insight into so many important factors that needed to be considered before, during and after the design process. In my opinion, I summarize these factors into five categories, namely: context, literature, design and implementation, assessment and evaluation and finally feasibility and up-scaling.

To start with, from our design experiences, I was able to immediately establish the significance of the context in guiding the development of an effective design. Under the context, we analyzed teachers, students, schools, Government policy and the environment surrounding the school. For example before designing, we made attempts to understand the teachers’ knowledge (TPACK), skills, beliefs and attitudes in Indonesia. With regard to students, we analyzed their learning goals, preferences and backgrounds. In the school, curriculum content, school leadership style(s), access to technology tools and the school infrastructure facilities guided our analysis, just to mention a few. The results of the analysis in turn informed our design decisions and choices. For example, the context helped us to identify the problem and in-turn the goal of the TPACK PD. In addition, it aided us in choosing the technology to use during the workshop phase with teachers in that Indonesian context. In short, the complexity of the technology chosen was entirely context dependent.

Again from that design experience, I can now from my own words define the context as the environment in which the PD design will be implemented to bring the desired change. I also intend to highlight that the context is a crucial factor that needs deeper analysis before you begin to design because it will directly determine the level of impact during implementation of your design. In other words, you can be an excellent designer, but the moment your TPACK PD design fails to align with the context then rest assured that your design is slowly heading towards the road of failure if at all it escapes from being branded irrelevant.

Finally, the design activity enabled me understand better why the first TPACK framework proposed by Mishra and Kohler (2006) deserved the scathing attack it received when it failed to consider the context in its framework. Now I know why the two proponents of TPACK had to coil their tails and forced to include the dotted line around the TPACK frame work to represent the context. Surely you cannot take a TPACK PD that works for instance in the Kenyan context and export it for use in the Dutch context. Similarly, a designer cannot adopt the design that works for school A for use in school B. That will be tantamount to professional suicide and a bad career move because of the differences in contexts. Therefore, since each context has its own unique characteristics, then each design must be drawn based on the uniqueness of that particular context. Designing with TPACK to me is not like the computer cut and paste activity.Each design must align independently in its own context.

Lastly, my advice to other TPACK PD designers is that a thorough understanding of the context for which you are designing is a big milestone towards the success of your design.

At this level of the design we went about reviewing relevant literature that helped us (the designers) to choose the right models to ground our design. For example the TPACK model by Mishra and Kohler (2008), TPACK measurement instruments like the TPACK survey (Schimidt et al., 2009), TPACK Rubric and so on. Literature review also helped us find additional information about the context as well as how previous TPACK PD were designed and implemented successfully. For those that failed, the literature can also give you an account of what caused the failure and the possible ways to remedy it. The literature thus became an important tool that informed some of our decisions and choices before, during and after the design process.

Design and Implementation
To me, this stage was made easier by our deeper understanding of the context and the literature review. Without the two, proceeding to this stage would be almost impossible. Therefore, armed with the knowledge of the context and literature what now mattered was simply translating our prior analysis into a concrete plan of activities. For example, allocations of time for all activities which in our case were the workshops, lesson study, choosing the best technology (MS PowerPoint), pedagogical approach (collaborative problem solving). May be what I found difficult in this part is choosing what activities to include or leave out, how they should follow each other logically, when to conduct them and what amount of time to allocate for each activity. This was a big challenge. In short, safeguarding a smooth logical flow of activities to promote cognitive construction of knowledge for the participants was not a bed of roses for us. Furthermore, helping teachers develop and operationalize their TPACK also turned out difficult. It took us several days to align this. From the design experience am now am aware that any slight disorganization in the logical flow can be detrimental.

I suggest that in order to guard against waste of money and time; all designers need to be careful with this stage since it’s also another potential source of TPACK PD design failure if not handled well.

Assessment and evaluation
Professional development in science education is grounded on continuous improvement (Blank de las & Smith, 2008). Right from the start, I was able to notice how difficult it was to come up with one final excellent TPACK PD design because humanly as a designer you may overlook certain factors or issues that may emerge later on and thus affect the impact of your design. Your design therefore needs to be flexible enough to allow for revisions during the implementation process. For example, the views of teachers that will arise during the workshop and implementation stages will need to be accommodated to help improve your design. It is due to this fact that an on-going assessment and evaluation become a key aspect in informing our revisions. In our case, we designed a pre and post continuous assessment instruments for use throughout the process. For instance, the TPACK survey and TPACK Rubric were to be used. We also developed TPACK lesson observation instrument based on the standards of the International Society of Technology education (2007) and Partnership for 21st century skills (2008). Also catered for was summative evaluation using TPACK survey (Schimidt et al., 2009).It was meant to enable us measure the degree of TPACK knowledge and skills acquired by the teachers at the end.
It is my belief that the knowledge gathered from evaluation of the PD program, coupled with on-going monitoring indeed would have influenced my thinking to a larger extent about the design framework and how designers collect data to improve their TPACK PD design programs.

Feasibility and up-scaling
A TPACK PD design to me is worthless if it comes to a halt after implementation and fails to consider its feasibility and up-scaling. Feasibility is ensuring that the design is doable while up-scaling is spreading the tentacles of the TPACK PD knowledge and skills to other teachers within the district and beyond whom for one reason or another did not find the opportunity to learn from the workshop. In our design we considered these factors well in advance although I later came to realize that we overlooked some factors. For instance, budget estimates, source of funding, motivation to participants such as certificates, provision of lunch just to mention a few were overlooked and could slightly disturb the feasibility and up scaling of the design. Therefore, whoever is tasked to design a similar program should not repeat the same mistake we did but to learn from our mistakes.

Integrating technology into classroom teaching and learning is complex according to the TPACK framework. For teachers to effectively integrate technology in their teaching; they must synthesize their knowledge of curriculum content, teaching strategies and the affordances and constraints of technological tools and resources. Layered behind and underneath these three intersecting domains of knowledge is the context of the classroom, including social, political, and cultural factors, plus student learning styles and preferences, among many other considerations during the design process of a TPACK PD for teachers.

A better way to help teachers plan for technology integration is to base primarily upon their students’ curriculum-based learning needs that is grounded in the TPACK framework. Our emerging understanding of how teachers plan for instruction and the contextual constraints teachers face daily in their classrooms should guide the design of the TPACK PD. Only then can we be able to design Learning Activity Types (LAT) to assist teachers in connecting curriculum-based learning goals with content area-specific learning activities and complementary technology tools.


1.Blank, R. K. & de las Alas, N. (2008) Current models for evaluating effectiveness of teacher professional development: Recommendations to state leaders from leading experts. Council of Chief State School Officers: Washington, DC.
2.Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A new framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record 108 (6), 1017-1054.
3.Schimidt et al.(2009).Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK): The Development and Validation of an Assessment Instrument for Pre-service Teachers. ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), 800.336.5191JRTE, 42(2), 123–149

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Challenges facing ICT integration in kenyan schools

While ICT continues to advance in western and Asian countries, African countries still experience a lag in its implementation, and that continues to widen the digital and knowledge divides. In a recent study by Kiptalam (2010), observed that access to ICT facilities is a major challenge facing most African countries, with a ratio of one computer to 150 students against the ratio of 1:15 students in the developed countries.
Whereas results indicate that ICT has penetrated many sectors including banking, transportation, communications, and medical services, the Kenyan educational system seems to lag behind. Further, recent report by the National Council for Science and Technology (2010) indicated that computer use in Kenyan classrooms is still in its early phases, and concluded that the perceptions and experiences of teachers and administrators do play an important role in the use of computers in Kenyan classrooms.
I therefore, see many challenges facing integration of ICT in Kenyan schools. They are:
  1. Lack of qualified teachers to teach ICT in schools; The demand for ICT learning has been tremendous and the number of teachers who are trained to teach ICT cannot meet the demand. There are more students willing to be taught computing skills than there are teaches to transfer the skills.
  2. Lack of computers; Computers are still very expensive and despite spirited efforts by the government agencies, NGO, corporate organizations and individuals to donate computers to as many schools as possible, there still remains a big percentage of the schools unable to purchase computers for use by their pupils.
  3. Lack of electricity; Many schools are still not yet connected to electricity; Kenya being a developing country, the government has not been able to connect all parts of the country to the national electricity grid. Consequently those schools that fall under such areas are left handicapped and may not be able to offer computer studies.
  4. Computers are still expensive in Kenya, in a country with a GDP of $1600, majority of the individuals and schools cannot afford to buy a computer and consider it as a luxury item, more expensive than a TV. While 2nd hand computers cost as little as $150 and branded new computers being sold at $500 or higher.
  5. Broken down computers; while a good number of schools have benefited from donated used computers, they have not been adequately equipped with the same on maintenance and repair, hence its very common to see a schools computer lab full of broken down computers, some repairable and some not. This has actually been a major problem, and the government has now put strict measures on any person, NGO or corporate bodies willing to donate 2nd hand computers. (It is seen as a dumping ground); e-waste management.
  6. Burglary; the fact that computers are still very expensive in Kenya, makes them a target for thieves who usually have ready markets to another party at a much less figure. This has made many schools to incur extra expenses trying to burglar proof the computer rooms. This extra expense makes some schools shy away from purchasing computers for their students.
  7. Fear by the administration; there is still a strong perception especially by the older generation that computers require highly skilled personnel to operate them, while this may not be the case, some school administrators also fear that their students will be exposed to adult sites and other undesired sites, through the use of the internet. Some also fear the infection of viruses to their computers leading to data loss, while this may be true to some extent, proper education on the safe use of computers and help alleviate some of this fears.
  8. Fear by the teacher, the teacher may fear being rendered irrelevant by the introduction of computers in his/her class. The ‘feel’ that the teacher still remains an authority and a ‘know it all’ in class is something that most teachers cherish, and anything that makes them otherwise is deemed an enemy of the classroom.
  9. Lack of internet or slow connectivity; most schools are not able to connect to the world wide web, due to the high costs involved in the connectivity. On average, it may cost approximately $120 per month to connect to about 15 computers on a bandwidth of 128/64kbps. This is considered as very expensive for a very slow speed.
  10. Lack of initiative by the community leaders; the community leaders who are charged with looking at the interests of a given community do not see the need to purchase and subsequent installations of computers to their schools as a priority. They consider health care, provision of water and other amenities as more important than buying computers for their schools.
  11. Obsolete computers lower the morale of both the teacher and the student; it is very common to find some schools using very old computers running on win98 or win 95.
  12. Increased moral degradation – internet pornography, cyber bullying and other anti-social behaviors is a worrying emerging problem.
The dilemma which arises in providing educational technology stems from a lack of financial resources and a limited distributive capacity. In addition, many African countries have not been able to employ teachers, and provide resources to keep up with this demand. This brings about compromised quality of education. Further, many African governments face the predicament of educational expansion that corresponds with economic development. Despite the setbacks, access to education is a strong focus of most governments.
Kenya as has put in place an ICT policy that aims to improve the livelihoods of Kenyans by ensuring the availability of accessible, efficient, reliable and affordable ICT services. The national policy addresses several sections, among them includes; Information technology, Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Postal services. However, it is the section on information technology that sets out the objectives and strategies pertaining to ICT and education.
The relevant objective in this section states that government will encourage:
“…the use of ICT in schools, colleges, universities and other educational institutions in the country so as to improve the quality of teaching and learning.”
ICT can play a significant role in equalizing opportunities for marginalized groups and communities. But the paradox is that for those groups that are unable to cross the technology divide, ICT is yet another means to further marginalize them. Education has a major role to play in resolving this problem. Thus, unless ICT becomes part of both the delivery and content of education, the disadvantage will deepen and development will suffer.
But the failure to use ICT is itself a result of the digital and knowledge divides that exist, and their causes are deeply embedded in the complex historical and socio-cultural context of the country. Fortunately, with the Vision 2030 goals, the Kenyan government has begun to implement strategies that will address these paradoxes.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

TPACK framework

In discussions involving technology integration in education, the acronym TPACK meaning Technological, Pedagogical And Content Knowledge takes prominence. For some people, it may be anew thing and for others, it’s not. At least for a professional teacher like me somehow, the literal meaning of TPACK components seem familiar to me. But still I have a stream of questions lingering in my mind. For instance, what was the main idea around TPACK? What details surrounds it? How can it be implemented successfully? Does it work in all contexts? Well, the answer to these questions may or may not be easy but I will discuss them. To start with, TPACK is simply an attempt to identify the kind of knowledge required by teachers in order to integrate technology in their teaching as well as how these knowledge mixes up in very complicated ways to support good teaching. To represent TPACK, we draw three circles each representing a knowledge domain base (Mishra and Kohler, 2009).
To begin, let us explore the main domains of knowledge essential when integrating technology as advanced by the TPACK framework.

§   The first required domain of knowledge is technology (TK). This represents technical knowledge such as the ability to use technical devices like computers, internet, software, interactive whiteboards and other standard technologies like books, blackboard or chalk.
§   The second domain of knowledge is the content knowledge (CK).In high school for example, this is the subject matter that is to be learnt or taught to the students. For instance, being a Mathematics or a history teacher.
§   The last domain is pedagogical knowledge (PK) which looks at how to teach. For example you may be an expert in Mathematics but this does not necessarily mean that you can teach it. You need pedagogical knowledge.
A close look at TPACK reveals that its approach goes beyond seeing the Pedagogical, technological and content knowledge bases in isolation. There are other sub-domains of knowledge that lies at the intersections between the three main knowledge domains. For instance, there is a sub-domain of knowledge called pedagogical content knowledge (PCK).This is where the pedagogical and the content knowledge of the subject matter meets to allow you to effectively teach that specific content. Another sub domain is the technological content knowledge (TCK) area in which one knows the technology and how it relates to his content knowledge. For example, if you are a teacher of Mathematics you know how to use technology to support your study or search in that field of Mathematics and so on. Again there is the technological pedagogical knowledge (TPK) in which you know how to use technology to support teaching. Finally, the whole idea of TPACK is to get out something that can help us learn with technology. Therefore the emphasis is at centre of the intersection where we get all the three domains namely Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge hence the acronym TPACK. This is the central point of focus in the TPACK framework. It emphasizes how technology, pedagogy and the content work together in a very complicated way to support good teaching.
Despite its appealing nature,TPACK has been under some attacks because its proposals seem to suggest that the entire framework package can work in any technological integration process. In defense, the proponents of TPACK responded by putting a dotted circle around the TPACK. This they call the contexts. This is to mean that for example, if you are in a high school, the way TPACK works will be very different if you are in higher education sector. Similarly if you are in the cooperate sector, again TPACK will be very different as well.
 Reflections on the added value of TPACK
Here I attempt to identify the areas in which TPACK has added value in practice and then concludes by criticizing shortcomings of TPACK from my own analysis and experience. To start with in my opinion, TPACK has added value in four areas namely, teaching, teacher training institutions, in-service teacher development and in the educational ICT policy standards.
Impact of TPACK on Teaching
At centre of the intersection are all the three domains namely Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK).It is true that good technology integration is about understanding and negotiating the relationships between these three components of knowledge. For example, a teacher who is capable of negotiating these relationships represents a form of expertise different from and greater than, the knowledge of a disciplinary expert (say a mathematician or a historian), a technology expert (a computer scientist) and a pedagogical expert (an experienced educator). Effective technology integration for pedagogy around specific subject matter like Mathematics requires developing sensitivity to the dynamic, transactional relationship between all three components. Good teaching means understanding how technology relates to pedagogy and content to be taught. We need technology to support teaching and not vice-versa. As Mishra & Kohler (2009) put it’’ knowing how to use technology is not knowing how to teach with it’’. Good teachers know the content, develops good pedagogical strategies inform of meaningful classroom activities for the content and can use and choose which technology can best support their lesson objectives. In addition, they know exactly where, how and when to incorporate technology during their lessons to maximize learning outcomes. It is not that easy in practice as TPACK portrays. All it takes is a skilful competent teacher armed with TPACK.
Impact of TPACK on teacher training
As the world goes digital, institutions are also trying to go digital. Courtesy of TPACK, teacher training institutions over the world are revolutionizing their training to be TPACK compliant. As a consequence they are trying to equip student teachers with technological knowledge (TK) in addition to pedagogical content knowledge (PCK).Call it TPACK. This prepares them to be responsive to needs of the modern digital world and to maximize the benefits of technology in their practice.
Impact of TPACK professional development
The emergence of TPACK has put pressure on schools to train their staff on technological skills as well. Teachers and staff who are not technology compliant continuously upgrade their technological knowledge so that they use it in instruction, communication, analyzing data and to assess and evaluate their students. Moreover, today’s student handles technology daily away from school. Teachers must cope in order to appeal to their learning interests. In this case TPACK offers the remedy framework that school leaders use to evaluate and thus organize training for his staff.
Impact of TPACK on Policy
TPACK seems to influence educational policy makers as well, both at the national, local and at the schools levels. As the world becomes a digital village, policy makers spend sleepless nights trying to institute changes that match digital changes so that their education system remains relevant and competitive. As a result, TPACK provides a framework that guides them in defining ICT standards that the teachers, school leaders and students must attain. For instance teachers must sit and pass basic ICT foundation course to be licensed as a practicing teacher. This simply means that the teacher must be TPACK compliant to practice.
Based on experience, I do observe one shortcoming of TPACK. It does not indicate the process in the technology integration. I mean for effective teaching, the three forms of knowledge cannot be assumed to bear the same weight as TPACK suggests. One domain must precede the others and so on. For instance, what knowledge domain is critical in making a good teacher in the classroom from the onset? Is it technology? content? Or pedagogy? This is a difficult question to answer but I feel that Pedagogy and content existed long before technology. In fact, Aristotle and Plato who were both teachers, taught without using technology and their students understood them. After all in teaching and learning the ability to achieve your lesson objectives is the key. So technology supports good teaching and not vice-versa. Take a look at online teaching for instance, where you still need a good teacher to facilitate. My point is that even though technology is necessary; we must not forget that there are effective teachers out there making effective teaching just like Aristotle and Plato without using sophisticated technology. This is a common practice especially in third world countries. For this reason we need to assign some level of priority in TPACK knowledge domains so as not to lose the meaning of effective teaching. Say for instance a good teacher must first be knowledgeable in content (CK). You cannot teach what you don’t know. Secondly, know how to teach it (Pedagogy).Lastly technology will support you to accomplish the two. However, you can effectively meet your lesson objectives without technology say through improvisation using locally available materials. It must then be clear that technology will not teach or organize your pedagogical techniques for you neither will it tell you that this is the best area or time for you to use it. It’s up to a good teacher to do that. Therefore, to me technology is simply a garbage in and garbage out tool. In other words, you use it well, it gives you good results. You use it badly the results will also be bad for your teaching no matter how well you know how to use the technology. I thus suggest that for teaching, TPACK need to incorporate priority progression from Content followed by Pedagogy and finally technology. You are a good teacher first and if he can use technology then it’s even better and not vice-versa. Currently, TPACK seem to send a signal that you can start from any domain of it components and still remain an effective teacher. This is a wrong notion as far as teaching is concerned and as far as am concerned.
TPACK is a good attempt to define the knowledge domains namely technology, pedagogy and content that teachers need to integrate technology for good teaching. It is also a good framework that impacts developments in areas of teaching, professional development, teacher training and policy. In the line of teaching, TPACK needs to prioritize content followed by pedagogy and finally technology in that order so that the meaning of effective teaching is upheld.

 Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Description of Simschool
The SimSchool is a classroom simulation which supports a quick accumulation of a teacher's experience in analyzing student differences then designing instruction to individual learner needs. In addition, it aids in gathering data about the impacts of instruction, and seeing the results of your teaching. It can be likened to a flight simulator but this case designed for educators. It presents instructors an opportunity to explore instructional strategies, examine classroom management techniques, and practice building relationships with students that will translate into increased learning.

Just like a flight simulator does to student pilots, the Simschool on the other hand, gives teachers experiences that are real and measureable. For example, it helps to improve the teachers’ general teaching skills, confidence in using technology and an increased belief that the teacher has the skills and ability to make a difference in a child's life. In addition, it helps improve pre-service teachers' performance in teacher preparation courses and attitudes toward inclusion of special needs students and to understand the significance of positive impact on the mastery of deeper learning capacities that comprise the readiness to teach. Lastly, it increases ones focus to remain on the path to the field of teaching acquired through rapid development of strong self-efficacy and resilience.

In conclusion, Simschool enables transformational experiences for teachers by helping to understand student behavioural and learning styles hence design an appropriate individualised instruction for each of them. At the same time, the teacher is able to develop positive classroom management techniques that makes them become more effective instructors in their classrooms and any other learning environments.

Description of Everly’s bad day
This is a classroom simulation in which learning tasks are assigned to a student called Everly Kassam. First of all, a lesson plan is prepared and Everlys is given learning tasks based on the plan and the knowledge of her profile also known as learning characteristics. Everly is talkative, likes variety, learns best by doing, takes risks, good in improvisation is creative and likes group work. Based on this knowledge, Everly is given learning tasks that suits her needs at various levels of Blooms taxonomy of learning so that her academic achievement, happiness, and power are raised. In the class the teacher gives the tasks and at the same time is able to track Everlys academic, happiness and power as she works on the tasks. Unfortunately, when the tasks are assigned, they impact negatively on Everlys academic performance, power and happiness. This is to mean that Everly did not achieve much learning from the instruction that was planned for that day. In fact by the end of the lesson Everly was worse than before the lesson began.  
In this module I was trying to find a better way to instruct Everly so that her achievement all round improves in terms of academic, power and happiness. This was done by planning and re-planning then choosing the best tasks to give Everly so that she meets the objectives of the lesson and striking a balance between her academic, power and happiness during the lesson.

A reflection on the Simschool in relation to pedagogy and technology
Pedagogy is the art or science of teaching while technology in education is commonly defined as a technical device or tool used to enhance instruction. According to Lever-Duffy, McDonald, and Mizell (2005) “educational technology might include media, models, projected and non-projected visual, as well as audio, video and digital media.”
By working through the Simschool, a lot of new understanding emerges to me regarding the relationships that exist between pedagogy and technology. The relationships are as described below:
i)                    Technology must be used to support the goal of a sound pedagogy. Selection of instructional technology is guided by good teaching and learning principles which is usually wide ranging in terms of applicability. That is to say that learning theories should guide the selection of the instructional technology. There is need for teachers to address the pedagogical principles that will guide their use of technology for teaching and learning.  As teachers explore the process of technology integration and search for ways that it can be effectively accomplished, they will develop the rationale to examine the appropriateness of the technologies they are using and whether such technologies are compatible with their lesson plan and learning outcomes. Technology is just a means to support instruction in the teaching and learning process and not vice versa. In the Simschool, this was evident when the teacher first has to choose and present the task. He also changes the tasks and guides the whole learning process meaning that technology cannot be used as a replacement to the teacher but as a tool to help him in reaching the goals set for the lesson.

ii)                  Technology should be considered as part of the instructional process. Technology should not be an appendage to be attached at any convenient stage during the course of instruction. The decision on the selection and use of technology for instruction should be made at the onset during the preparation and not in the middle or at the conclusion of the instruction. The objective s and methods of instruction including technology and outcomes of instruction should be specified at the planning stage. This is supported by Diaz and Bontemball (2000):

    ‘’Use of technology to enhance educational process involves more than just learning how to use specific piece of hardware or software. It requires an understanding of pedagogical principles that are specific to the use of technology in an instructional setting...Pedagogical –based training begins with helping teachers understand the role of learning theory in the design and function of class activities and in the selection and use of instructional technologies’’(pp.2 and 6).
In the Simschool, there is a laptop which when clicked gives us information about the student personality profile, academic ability and teachers’ reflections on the same. There is also a metre and a thermometer giving the student’s academic potential and feelings respectively as the lesson progresses. This is reflective of a real classroom teaching and learning environment. It points to the fact that, technology must be considered along with the issues involved in teaching and learning. For example issues like, developing learning objectives, selecting methods of instruction, feedback, evaluation and assessment including follow-up activities. The technology used for teaching and learning should therefore be considered as an integral part of the instruction and not as an object exclusive to itself. It is important that practicing teachers and in-service teachers recognize that technology in education is considered part of pedagogy. Technology should be implemented in the classroom only if its role in a given instruction is determined along with pedagogical issues related to a given instructional task. The role of technology in education can only be determined if teachers who implement technology at the classroom level are involved in technology decision- making because teachers have the responsibility of facilitating instruction.
  • Identifying learning objectives in a technology-based instruction requires teachers to select and/or adapt instructional technology to match the objectives based on the students’ needs.
  • Presenting instruction using technology as part of the instructional process requires teachers to choose the methods that are relevant to the objectives, the technology selected, learning styles, modes and pace of learning.
  • Evaluating technology-based instruction requires teachers to select appropriate evaluation techniques that are relevant to the objectives, methods of instruction, and to technologies that have been used.
  • Designing follow-up activities using technology requires teachers to select appropriate follow-up materials that are relevant to the objectives of the instruction and technologies that are accessible to the students as well as easy to use.
  • Developing course enrichment materials using technology requires teachers to provide opportunity for students to explore issues related to the course materials and to provide them with the opportunity to select and analyze course enrichment materials using technology in ways that broaden their problem-solving skills.
  • Locating sources for additional instructional materials using technology requires teachers to use the internet and multimedia networks to develop additional learning materials and expand instructional resources aimed at broadening the knowledge and the skill gained.
  • Designing a dynamic classroom using technology requires teachers to provide a learning environment that is colourful, engaging, exciting, interactive and energetic as a way of encouraging students to venture into the world of technology and to discover knowledge for themselves.
iii)                Technology should not entirely replace the teacher in the instruction process. From the Simschool it’s evident that students with different attitude and varied learning needs exist in a class. This variety cannot be managed and control by technology alone except with the teachers’ support. Teacher have to support student in the task process by guide or facilitate changing between tasks, give encouragement remarks and ensure that all the students are engaged towards meaningful learning. For instance, in the Simschool the teacher continuously assesses the students’ progress form the teacher’s console. He checks the academic, power and happiness levels of the student. He then devises when to change task, when to give a reinforcement to the student and decides which student needs attention at what time based on his knowledge of their individual differences and interests. This implies that teachers should develop strategies to motivate students to keep them focused as the instruction progresses and to consider that different students prefer different learning styles and that they learn at different rates. For example, for those students who like simulations provide games, for those who get along with others, give group work just to mention a few.

To conclude, it is important that teachers use a variety of teaching methods, and students must be taught to use the newly acquired knowledge and skill as well as to critically evaluate and modify such knowledge. In other words, teachers should be able to engage students in an exploratory learning experience which is designed to stimulate thinking. According to Bruner (1966), the essence of teaching and learning is to help learners acquire knowledge and use the knowledge they have acquired to create other knowledge.
iv)                Technologies like simulations can be used to train teachers on pedagogical approaches without hurting the student. They help one to nurture teaching skill through practice by varying different approaches with flexibility. Through them students can learn their mistakes and correct instead of transporting them in large-scale into a real classroom environment. It widens the teachers knowledge on individual differences that each student bring into class and how to manage them as a teacher to attain maximum learning for a majority students. In the Simschool it emerged that teaching and learning even becomes more difficult as the student number increases since each one of them has different learning needs that must be attended to in the lesson. Sometimes such situation lead to not adequately attending to some students at the expense of the others whose profile is liked by the teacher. The Simschool technology thus makes us aware of this fact before entering the real classroom.

v)                  Teachers should be comfortable with the technology they intend to use in the classroom. Topper (2005) believes that “for teachers to use technology in support of their teaching, and to see it as a pedagogically useful tool, they must be confident and competent with the technology they are planning to use (p. 304) otherwise, the learning goal may not be achieved. It is important that teachers recognize that a relationship exists between technology in education and pedagogical decision-making. According to Anderson and Borthwick (2002) research evidence shows that “participants whose technology instruction was integrated in their methods course reported more frequent use of technology for both teacher productivity and student projects during both on-campus courses and their first year of actual classroom teaching” (p. 5). There is no blueprint for technology integration, however, it is suggested that effort be made to link technology for instruction to all levels of pedagogical processes and activities.

vi)                imageModern technology offers educators a variety of new tools that can be used in the classroom. Technology can help teachers track and assess their students' -- as well as their own -- performance in the classroom. It can also be used to facilitate communication between students and teachers and to create digital records of student growth and development that can easily be passed along from grade to grade. Teachers can use technology to make their own work more productive -- teachers can use spreadsheets to track student work and also track their teaching plans. If a group of students is performing poorly in a particular area, this kind of record keeping can highlight areas that the teacher needs to focus on in their own teaching. These tools can also help administrators assess and improve teacher performance. Technology gives us a way to get feedback continually during the teaching process, instead of at the end of the teaching process -- when you end up with only a retrospective understanding. How can technology assist in understanding the minds of children? You can gather a lot of insight by talking to a child at length, but that is often not practical in the classroom. Given the constraints of the classroom, technology can provide another set of ways to assess what children understand and learning. It allows for continuing evaluation of the classroom lessons.
Technology integration should be considered as part of the process of instructional preparation. Instructional technology should be identified at the planning stage just as the students’ readiness is assessed, lesson objectives identified, methods of presenting are established, and evaluation strategies are determined. Follow-up activities should also be established at the planning stage. Poor implementation of technology integration is likely to affect the desired outcome. A better way is to consider relationships that exists in the pedagogy and the technology before putting the technology into practice it. In this case the technology is like a subset of pedagogy in the field of education. This can be illustrated in diagram below.

Diaz, D. P. & Bontenbal, K. F. (2000). Pedagogy-based technology training. In P. Hoffman & D. Lemke (eds.), Teaching and Learning in a Network World, pp. 50-54. Amsterdam, Netherlands: 105 Press.
Lever-Duffy, J. McDonald, J. B. & Mizell Al P. (2005). Teaching and learning with technology. San Francisco: Pearson
Topper, A. (2005). How are we doing? Using self-assessment to measure changing teacher technology literacy within a graduate education technology program, 12(3), pp. 303-317.