Cooking with TPACK: Adventures in PB & J

Well, this week’s assignment was a lot of fun!  “Cooking with TPACK” asked us to prepare one of five basic food items using only three tools, selected for us by an unknowing assistant.  My helper selected for me, a large plate, a cereal bowl and a serving spoon.  He then drew number four, which was to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Luckily for me, “repurposing” the large serving spoon was a pretty effective way to make the sandwich.  As you can see in the video I never did use the spoon as it’s design intended, but I was able to pretty easily put together the sandwich.

People look at me funny when I tell them that my homework for grad school this week was to make a sandwich.  However, the lesson was much bigger than that.  Technology in education is a hot topic right now.  However, often when schools think about bringing technology into education they begin the conversation with WHAT technology.  The focus is on the tool, not the education.  The problem with being “technocentric”, a term discussed by Dr. Punya Mishra in his keynote speech at the 21st Century Learning Conference in Hong Kong, (2012) is you miss out on so many opportunities.  Teachers are some of the most creative people I have ever met.  It is a mistake to give them only one tool and tell them how they MUST use it.  TPACK offers a different perspective.  It encourages thinking globally about educational opportunities to decide how technology, content and pedagogy can best come together to serve the needs of students.  That “best” is going to be different depending on so many different variables.  It is important to consider the task at hand, assess the tools available and use creativity to help drive the decision making.  It is where technology, pedagogy and content knowledge meet that the magic really happens.


Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054. Retrieved from download .pdf

Mishra, P. (2012, March). Punya Mishra- Keynote Speaker @ 21st Century Learning Conference- Hong Kong 2012 . Retrieved August 5, 2014, from


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One Response to Cooking with TPACK: Adventures in PB & J

  1. Missy McCarthy says:

    Really nice post, here. Starting with WHAT TECHNOLOGY is a dangerous place to start. A better question is “what do we want to accomplish”? What do we want students to learn? What’s necessary for them to learn it?

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