Technology in professional development is a complex issue (Borko, Whitcomb, & Liston, 2008). Technology can, and has, helped higher education overcome previous outreach barriers, particularly in reaching students in remote locations. Because technologies are continually changing, the instability of technology, as well as the unfixed nature of the knowledge required in using them, places additional demands on faculty to keep up with the constant stream of new technologies. Due to the constantly changing nature and development of new technology, a gap exists in researching the effectiveness of new tools on teaching and learning. Positioning educational technologies as artifacts within their social applications of teaching and learning, and providing a grammar of practice identifying specific techno-pedagogical competencies allows faculty to make “the work of practitioners at the center of professional study” in a community of practice (Grossman, 2011; Lave, 1991).
Technology is a broad and constantly changing skill-set required of faculty, and selecting the appropriate techno-pedagogical strategies to effectively engage students in the content is a separate skill-set. Media literacy influences student development, and developing a critical analysis of media consumption is an important skill for students. In understanding how technology and media intersect with learning, consider the compatibility between theories of technology and education, and how that relates to your content.
There is a need for faculty, as well as the institutional level, to identify and articulate the occupational realities when technology and competencies intersect, while understanding and communicating how technological resources and strategies can engage students and enhance student learning (Moore & Readence, 1984). The Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge is a collaboratively developed framework of scholars and researchers seeking to conceptualize and clarify the competencies that evolve from the intersection between pedagogy and technology. Investments in new and interactive technologies in education require both the technical and pedagogical skills to use them. According to the National Educational Technology Standards, faculty should be competent in designing digital assessments, modeling digital work creatively, promoting digital citizenry, as well as inspiring student learning (Jacobsen, Clifford, & Friesen, 2002; Lebec & Luft, 2007; Voithofer, 2007; Wentworth, Waddoups, & Earle, 2004).
Therefore, in order to provide targeted and appropriate professional development and support for faculty, the Center for Teaching Excellence uses the Technology, Pedagogy and Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework for identifying interrelated competencies related to teaching with technology.
Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70.