This morning we made breakfast.
With no information on what we were to make, each group could grab one container and one tool. We were then told what we had to make with our chose items, and given the relevant ingredients.
Make fruit salad in a bowl with a garlic press
Make a granola parfait in a bowl with tongs
Spread butter and jam on bread on a plate with a meat tenderizer
Whip cream in a jug with a whisk (“The luckiest grab ever” says Mary)
On the face of it, this lesson was about choosing the right tools for the assignment. But, no. This was a lesson in repurposing tools. That is, when life gives you lemons, corner the lemon market and drive up prices. Or something like that.
So when your team gives you a garlic press (because, like, that’s such a breakfast thing, right?), don’t just “make do”. Instead, Alan, David and Erin not only took the garlic press apart to find sharp edges to use for cutting and peeling, they also rebuilt it and used it as a press to crush strawberries and drizzle strawberry juice on their finished fruit salad.
Taylor and Hayley tenderized the butter to make it easier to smear, and spread jam with the flat side.
Rosemarie, Becky and Donna, who would probably liked to have the tenderizer, smashed granola bars on the table and spooned the layers of yoghurt with the tongs.
Chelsea, Laurie and I? We used the whip to whip the cream. D’uh. I think we may have missed out on a creative opportunity, there.
But we weren’t just making breakfast, here. This activity was a visual and engaging representation of the TPACK model in education. Technology (T), Pedagogy (P), and Content (C) all join to form a new Knowledge (K). Yet, each of the three core components remains an important and equal part of the model. The section in the middle is TPAK, where the three domains overlap, but each domain is still present:
For a great 15 minute explanation of TPACK, see this video:
As the authors say, we have no option to to incorporate new technologies in the classroom. We can just stop having that debate, already! “Technology changes what we teach, and how we teach it.” What I really love is that TPACK makes the Content (“C”) more interdisciplinary.
But I want to ask a further question, and take the discussion to the edge, perhaps, of Educational No-man’s Land:
What about using TPACK to change who teaches, too? The obvious step is to use TPACK to shift the classroom from teacher lead learning to student led learning. Teach students how to teach themselves.
The question I have, more out there in Educational No-Man’s Land, is: “Don’t we need a whole new type of teacher graduating from our colleges of education?” I don’t just mean introducing teachers to TPACK, which is happening, but also selecting teacher training candidates with a whole new mindset about what teaching is. We can incorporate models like TPACK and watch the organic adoption of them in classrooms across the country, but we can also fill the pipeline of incoming teachers with those who are, quite simply, not “teachers” in the way the majority of teachers in our classrooms are.