This week for my CEP 810 class, I was given a challenge: to cook something using only a bowl, plate, and utensil. The twist was that all of these things were blindly chosen by someone else! Watch my video to see how I fared:
Although I initially thought it would be very challenging to use the wine bottle opener (officially called a wine key or sommelier knife) for this task, I think I was actually pretty lucky. It only took minimal repurposing, as I was able to use its little knife, originally intended for cutting through foil wrapping, for scooping and spreading the peanut butter and jelly. My prior experience with this utensil enabled me to quickly repurpose it for my sandwich making. If I’d never used a tool like this before, I might not have realized that there was a knife hidden in there.
You might be surprised to realize that this task is directly related to what teachers do as they construct learning experiences for their students! The TPACK framework outlines how technology, pedagogy, and content are interconnected. Dr. Mishra, one of the creators of this framework, emphasizes in this talk that teachers take technology, which was often not intentionally created for use in educational settings, and repurpose it to fit the content they teach and the pedagogy they use. A teacher uses technology most effectively when their teaching is NOT dictated by the tool, but instead when they use the technology in a creative way to support the learning outcome they desire.
I could have tried make my sandwich using the corkscrew part of my utensil, but it would have probably made a mess, and I would be wasting the potential of my tool. Similarly, I could use technology like Screencastify to record my lectures and have students watch them at home. I’d be integrating technology, which is great. But if I keep teaching outdated content or using bad pedagogy (individual work on in-class worksheets, or front-loading content with lectures instead of having students inquire first), it’s still bad teaching. Instead, I could repurpose the technology: have students make videos explaining how they solve a problem as evidence that they’ve mastered the content and have metacognition about their strategies.
Instead of letting your pedagogy and content be controlled by the technology available, I challenge you to explore the tech tools available to you, and then think about whether you could creatively use them to enhance the way your students learn!