Scholarly article on topic 'Relationship between math teacher candidates’ Technological Pedagogical And Content Knowledge (TPACK) and achievement levels'

Relationship between math teacher candidates’ Technological Pedagogical And Content Knowledge (TPACK) and achievement levels Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

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Abstract of research paper on Educational sciences, author of scientific article — Ahmet Erdogan, Ismail Sahin

Abstract In this study, math teacher candidates’ technological pedagogical and content knowledge (TPACK) is analyzed based their departmental affiliation and gender information. These teacher candidates’ TPACK is also examined to find out whether it predicts student achievement or not. Results of the study show that there is a significant difference between primary and secondary mathematics teacher candidates’ TPACK domains. When teacher candidates’ TPACK is examined based on gender, significant differences are found between male and female students’ TPACK dimensions in favor of males. Additionally, it is seen from the results that the teacher candidates’ TPACK significantly predicts their achievement levels.

Academic research paper on topic "Relationship between math teacher candidates’ Technological Pedagogical And Content Knowledge (TPACK) and achievement levels"

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Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 2 (2010) 2707-2711

WCES-2010

Relationship between math teacher candidates' Technological Pedagogical And Content Knowledge (TPACK) and achievement

levels

Ahmet Erdogana *, Ismail Sahina

aAhmet Kelesoglu Education Faculty, Selcuk University, Konya, 42090, Turkey Received October 22, 2009; revised December 31, 2009; accepted January 12, 2010

Abstract

In this study, math teacher candidates' technological pedagogical and content knowledge (TPACK) is analyzed based their departmental affiliation and gender information. These teacher candidates' TPACK is also examined to find out whether it predicts student achievement or not. Results of the study show that there is a significant difference between primary and secondary mathematics teacher candidates' TPACK domains. When teacher candidates' TPACK is examined based on gender, significant differences are found between male and female students' TPACK dimensions in favor of males. Additionally, it is seen from the results that the teacher candidates' TPACK significantly predicts their achievement levels. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Mathematics teacher candidates; technological pedagogical and content knowledge; department; gender; achievement.

1. Introduction

Information technologies have lead to changes in the areas of communication, learning, and teaching. Besides offering many opportunities to the learners, these technologies have changed the teaching methods and beliefs of teachers. What the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) means to the teachers is considerably important to integrate technology successfully into teaching processes (Shin, 2009). It is necessary to understand how to plan and apply teacher training programs in order to balance students' pedagogical and technological knowledge. Because of many inefficient teacher training programs, teachers have difficulties in relating technology, pedagogy and content knowledge each other. While providing an efficient training supported with technology, understanding the three main components (technology, pedagogy and content knowledge) and their relationship are very crucial. These three knowledge constructs form the TPACK. Mishra and Koehler (2006) describe a framework for teacher knowledge of technology integration called originally TPCK, now known as TPACK, or technological pedagogical and content knowledge. This framework is built on Shulman's (1986) construct of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) by involving technology knowledge.

* Ahmet Erdogan. Tel.: +90-332-323-8220; fax: +90-332-323-8225 E-mail address: ahmeterdogan@selcuk.edu.tr

1877-0428 © 2010 Published by Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.03.400

The components of TPACK are explained along with their definitions and sample survey items in Table 1.

Table 1. Definitions and sample survey items of TPACK components

Knowledge Types Definition Sample Survey Items

Technological Knowledge (TK) .. .consists of all teaching tools, from whiteboards to computers and advanced technologies (Koehler, Mishra, & Yahya,, 2007). It usually refers to knowledge of various technologies used in teaching and learning settings (Margerum-Leys & Marx, 2002). I have knowledge in using software in my field.

Pedagogical Knowledge (PK) .includes teaching strategies for addressing individuals' learning needs and ways of presenting the subject matter (Kanuka, 2006). In another words, it refers to practice, procedure, or methods necessary for teaching and learning (Koehler et al., 2007). I follow the latest developments and applications in my field.

Content Knowledge (CK) .refers to the subject matter that needs to be taught (Koehler et al., 2007). It is basically "what-to-teach" knowledge (Margerum-Leys & Marx, 2002). This is field-specific knowledge in areas such as mathematics or science. I have knowledge in different learning theories and approaches (i.e., constructivism, multiple-intelligence theory, project-based instruction)

Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK) .requires an understanding of general pedagogical strategies applied to the use of technology (Margerum-Leys & Marx, 2002). I have knowledge in the principles and standards of the curriculum of my course.

Technological Content Knowledge (TCK) .. .helps teachers visualize instances in which technology can be effectively integrated into their teaching (Margerum-Leys & Marx, 2002). I have knowledge in technological (computer) applications that positively affect learning.

Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) ..refers to teaching knowledge applicable to a certain subject area (Harris, Mishra, & Koehler, 2007). I have knowledge in developing classroom activities and projects that include educational technologies.

Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) .requires understanding the representation and formulation of concepts using technologies; pedagogical techniques that utilize technologies in constructive ways to teach content; knowledge of what makes concepts difficult or easy to learn and how technology can help address these issues; knowledge of students' prior knowledge and theories of epistemology; and an understanding of how technologies can be utilized to build on existing knowledge and to develop new or strengthen old epistemologies (Koehler et al., 2007). I know how to teach by combining technology, pedagogy and content knowledge domains successfully.

Although the importance of the TPACK is clear, extensive research on this type of knowledge has not been conducted yet (Strawhecker, 2005). In this study, mathematics teacher candidates' TPACK based their departmental affiliation and gender information is analyzed and the prediction of their achievement levels by their TPACK is examined.

2. Method

2.1. Participants

The participants consist of senior students who are pursuing their undergraduate degrees in math teacher education programs and who have completed the majority of their classes in technology, pedagogy, and content areas, in a college of education in Turkey. A total of 137 teacher candidates participated in the study. Of those, 38 teacher candidates are from the Department of Secondary Math Teacher Education that includes only one section while 99 participants are from the four sections of the Department of Elementary Math Teacher Education. 42% (n=57) of the participants are males and 58% (n=80) females.

2.2. Research instrument

In this study, a scale regarding college students' perceptions in technological pedagogical and content knowledge (TPACK) domains, originally developed by §ahin (submitted), is used. In the Survey of TPACK, higher scores for each subscale indicate higher perceived acquaintance with the applications of the knowledge base. The TPACK Survey includes seven subscales (technology knowledge, pedagogy knowledge, content knowledge, technological pedagogy knowledge, technological content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, and technological pedagogical and content knowledge) with 47 survey items. The survey items are on a Likert-type scale with five response choices, including "1=no knowledge," "2=little knowledge," "3=moderate knowledge," "4=quite knowledge," and "5=complete knowledge." In the development study of the instrument, the Cronbach alpha reliability coefficients are found between 0.86 and 0.96 for the subscales of the survey indicating that the instrument is a reliable measure. Also, to determine the achievement levels of the participants, their GPA scores are obtained from the administration office and matched with the survey data.

2.3. Data analysis

An independent t-test is used to compare college students' TPACK knowledge based on their departmental affiliation (elementary and secondary) and gender information. Also, the relationship between student achievement scores and TPACK constructs is analyzed. In stepwise linear regression analysis, the relationship between the dependent variable, GPA scores, and the following seven predictor variables is tested: technology knowledge, pedagogy knowledge, content knowledge, technological pedagogy knowledge, technological content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, and technological pedagogical and content knowledge. Data are analyzed using SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) 15.0 software.

3. Results and Discussion

Findings from the current study show that teacher candidates from the Department of Elementary Mathematics Education report more competency in all of the seven TPACK domains than the ones from the Department of Secondary Mathematics Education (Table 2). Following reasons for explaining this difference may be suggested: course alternatives, employment opportunities, and school internship timing. Because of its selective courses and curriculum, the Department of Elementary Mathematics Education offers more information on TPACK and opportunities for employment to its teacher candidates while the Department of Secondary Mathematics Education offers limited opportunities for employment and its school internship program is available to its teacher candidates after all pedagogy and technology courses are completed. It is seen in the literature that the more knowledge domains teacher candidates have, the higher vocational self-efficacy beliefs they have (Sahin, Akturk, & Schimidt, 2009). This statement suggests that if the instruction using TPACK is performed more effectively, this will help teacher candidates increase their professional competence.

Table 2. Math teacher candidates' TPACK according to department

Subscale Department N Mean Std. dev. t p

T Primary Secondary 99 38 49.5859 44.1316 11.48913 10.33015 2.556 0.012

P Primary Secondary 99 38 19.2727 16.3421 3.86459 3.95431 3.948 0.000

C Primary Secondary 99 38 20.8990 15.8684 4.23902 5.05201 5.889 0.000

CP Primary Secondary 99 38 23.9394 19.3158 4.99759 5.29714 4.768 0.000

TP Primary Secondary 99 38 13.2323 10.6579 3.05336 3.08682 4.405 0.000

TC Primary Secondary 99 38 12.4747 9.5789 3.05174 2.95581 5.015 0.000

TPACK Primary Secondary 99 38 16.5455 11.6316 4.04635 3.62738 6.542 0.000

In all of the TPACK constructs, male teacher candidates report more competency than female teacher candidates. Although the difference is not significant in two domains (pedagogy and content), it is significant in other five dimensions (Table 3). Four of these five dimensions require associations among different knowledge fields. Accordingly, male students state more adequacies in the knowledge connections between the fields. In the literature, gender-related self-efficacy differences have been reported and self-efficacy of males is found to be statistically superior to that of females (Randhawa, Beamer & Lundberg, 1993; Skaalvik & Rankin, 1994).

Table 3. Math teacher candidates' TPACK according to gender

Subscale Gender N Mean Std. dev. t p

T Male 57 51.7719 12.02084 3.319 0.001

Female 80 45.4375 10.23378

P Male 57 18.7544 3.75253 0.710 0.479

Female 80 18.2500 4.32976

C Male 57 20.3684 4.87571 1.721 0.088

Female 80 18.8875 5.02650

CP Male Female 57 80 24.0702 21.6500 5.24357 5.44036 2.605 0.010

TP Male Female 57 80 13.3684 11.9125 3.18832 3.19887 2.629 0.010

TC Male Female 57 80 12.3860 11.1625 3.18901 3.27416 2.179 0.031

TPACK Male Female 57 80 16.1930 14.4625 4.54909 4.35147 2.251 0.026

Moreover, the TPACK significantly predicts GPA scores (Table 4). The TPACK itself explains about 7% of the variance in GPA. This result shows that the TPACK plays an important role in student achievement.

Table 4. Prediction of math teacher candidates' GPA scores by their TPACK constructs

Model Sum of Squares Df Mean Square F Sig.

1 Regression 17,182 1 17.182 9.675 0.002

Residual 239,752 135 1.776

Total 256,934 136

Predictor: TPACK; Dependent Variable: GPA scores

Accordingly, having strong TPACK, students will be more successful. In the literature, the relationship between self-efficacy and academic success is indicated as significant (Bandura, 1993; Zimmerman & Bandura, 1994) and self-efficacy is associated with semester and final grades (Pintrich & De Groot, 1990).

4. Conclusions and Recommendations

In this study, mathematics teacher candidates' TPACK is examined based on their departmental affiliation (elementary and secondary). There is a significant difference between two department students' TPACK in favor of elementary math teacher candidates. In all of the TPACK dimensions, elementary math teacher candidates' higher adequacy can be explained as follows:

• More elective courses on technology and pedagogy are provided in the elementary math education curriculum.

• While the pedagogy courses of the Department of Elementary Math Teacher Education are distributed evenly in the curriculum, those are isolated in the other department's curriculum and provided separately in the last year of the program.

• Employment opportunity is higher for elementary math teacher candidates so this can motivate them better in the teaching profession and in using TPACK.

When all of these aspects above are considered, TPACK is an important knowledge base to increase teacher candidates' professional competencies and in the design of teacher education programs.

Also, mathematics teacher candidates' TPACK is examined based on gender. In general, male students have higher levels of competencies in the TPACK dimensions. This finding suggests that female students' self-efficacy beliefs in the TPACK dimensions need to be improved.

Finally, and most importantly, the TPACK is a significant predictor of student achievement. Since the TPACK requires confidence in combining different knowledge domains successfully, it is related to self-efficacy beliefs (Sahin et al., 2009). In fact, self-efficacy is significantly related to student success.

Recommendations by the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE, 2006) state that teacher education programs should "provide opportunities [for teachers] to acquire the knowledge and experiences needed to incorporate technology in the context of teaching and learning mathematics" (p. 1). By developing math teacher candidates' TPACK, they are not only prepared for the classrooms of today but they will have the knowledge and skills to navigate within the classrooms of tomorrow. However, there is a clear need for future research to observe effects of TPACK on teachers' practices with their students.

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