ClassroomTech: Puddles of Quivering Jelly #TPACK #TIM #edtech @diben


Like an after-thought in many districts, technology is dropped in when convenient, ignored when not. Too often teachers, administrators, leaders focus on the productivity aspects of technology, go "app crazy," or disregard it entirely.

And, it's not surprising to see instructional technology sacrificed on the altar of high stakes testing and test-prep...after all, if kids can't read and write well, let's not waste time on's a distraction.

Yet, as many Around the Corner readers know, any district should have, as a part of its core mission, a willingness to prepare students for life, a way to give them what they need to make their way in the world (that's money to live), and a way to use technology as a lever to improve their lot in life.

Just as life, learning and work are interconnected, we must embrace technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge and the relationship between each. 

The TPACK framework ( suggests that technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge areas do not stand alone and not one of them “drives” the others. While I often hear or read that "pedagogy or content" comes first, in truth, they are triune.

All three are interconnected.

When considering revamping a school district's approach to curriculum, professional learning, and technology's relationship with that, the TPACK model can be a helpful visual to explain the interconnections between the trinity TPACK represents. But TPACK may not be seen as enough of a framework to clearly describe what technology in the classroom should look like. For that, we must turn to other tools, ranging from Dr. Chris Moersch's Levels of Teaching Innovation (LOTI) and H.E.A.T. and/or the Technology Integration Matrix (TIM). These approaches allow us to frame progress for staff.

A quick overview of TPACK and TIM appears below:

  • Content Knowledge: The content is the “what” will be taught in class. Content knowledge (CK) is teachers’ knowledge about the subject matter to be learned or taught.
  • Pedagogical Knowledge: The pedagogy is the “how” teachers will instruct whether it is through pairs, direct instruction, etc. Pedagogical knowledge (PK) is teachers’ deep knowledge about the processes and practices or methods of teaching and learning. This refers to the transformation of the subject matter for teaching. Specifically, this transformation occurs as the teacher interprets the subject matter, finds multiple ways to represent it, and adapts and tailors the instructional materials to alternative conceptions and students’ prior knowledge. PCK covers the core business of teaching, learning, curriculum, assessment and reporting, such as the conditions that promote learning and the links among curriculum, assessment, and pedagogy.
  • Technology: Technology is a partner to content and pedagogy, and is to be used to enrich the “what” and “how”. Technological pedagogical content knowledge is an understanding that emerges from interactions among content, pedagogy, and technology knowledge. TPACK is the basis of effective teaching with technology, requiring an understanding of the representation of concepts using technologies; pedagogical techniques that use technologies in constructive ways to teach content; knowledge of what makes concepts difficult or easy to learn and how technology can help redress some of the problems that students face; knowledge of students’ prior knowledge and theories of epistemology; and knowledge of how technologies can be used to build on existing knowledge to develop new epistemologies or strengthen old ones.

To provide specific examples of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge, we can rely on the Technology Integration Matrix (TIM). TIM illustrates "the sweet spot" where the trinity of content, pedagogy and technology can be effective for transforming teaching and learning. We can rely on the wealth of video examples and descriptions, making it unnecessary for school districts to create their own.

We also need to consider how the TIM aligns to an organization's beliefs, values, goals:

  • The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) is aligned if your organization values developing real-world problem solvers.
  • The organization should value collaborative thinking and TIM promotes student collaboration to solve shared problems.
  • TIM would align with your organization's vision of growing creative and innovative individuals by encouraging students to explore and investigate in order to develop solutions and new ideas.
  • If your organization believes in developing and fostering life long learners, then TIM can provide learning opportunities that promote cross-disciplinary thinking and encourage growth in teachers and students.

Overview (What and How):
In the chart below, you can see how TIM distinguishes between entry and transformation levels.

Consider that entry involves technology as a content delivery system, which is usually what happens when you "plop" a student down in front of a device and have them run through Istation (for example) tutorial. Entry level isn't necessarily an evil level and shouldn't be characterized as "bad," because it may occur due to technology availability or some other factor beyond the teachers' desire to use available classroom technology. 

That said, though, all an organization's teachers must be made to strive for Transformation. I say "made" because it is not necessarily a place where we are comfortable...we have to work hard to get to transformative uses of technology in our classrooms. That's why I like rubrics like the Classroom Learning Activity because it provides a gauge, not only of technology, but of pedagogy and content strategies.

The end goal of any technology is to accelerate a student's movement to higher-order thinking, collaborative problem-solving (in the classroom, as well as at a distance when appropriate), and result in the creation of some incredibly awesome multimedia product that fully engages our human senses. This leaves us, a warm puddle of quivering excitement, because we are so moved as human beings.

Technology Integration Matrix (TIM)

The teacher begins to use technology tools to deliver curriculum content to students.
The teacher directs students in the conventional and procedural use of technology tools.
The teacher facilitates students in exploring and independently using technology tools.
The teacher provides the learning context and the students choose the technology tools to achieve the outcome.
The teacher encourages the innovative use of technology tools.
Technology tools are used to facilitate higher order learning activities that may not have been possible without the use of technology.

Like a picture of a healthy person in a gym inspires someone trying to improve himself, the TIM provides teachers with a reflective tool. It can also serve as a way for third-party observers, coaches, objectifying the language of what teachers are doing in the classroom...less personal, less likely to prick the pride of a classroom educator.

And, TIM provides examples of lesson plans of what it would be like to be at the next level. The matrix is replete with video examples, lesson plan samples, and other resources to support teachers as they grow. Digital coaches can work with teachers in their content area to develop lessons to move them along the continuum. Curriculum documents with accompanying professional learning can be revised to include technology tools and electronic resources to give teachers ideas of how they can blend technology into their classroom, and provided at the varying levels of the matrix.

See the Matrix online at

What does Success look like?
Students engage in ongoing metacognitive activities at a level that may have been unattainable without the support of technology tools. Students are empowered to extend the use of technology tools and have greater ownership and responsibility for learning. The teacher creates a rich learning environment in which students regularly engage in higher order planning activities that may have been impossible to achieve without technology.

The teacher sets a context in which students are encouraged to use technology tools in unconventional ways that best enable them to monitor their own learning. The setting includes access to a wide variety of technology tools and robust access to online resources for all students simultaneously.

Supporting Research:

  • Balula, A., & Moreira, A. (2014). "SCAI: A three-dimension model for e-teaching evaluation in higher education" in Evaluation of online higher education: Learning, interaction and technology. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.
  • Barbour, D. R. (2014). The Technology Integration Matrix and Student Engagement: A Correlational Study. NORTHCENTRAL UNIVERSITY.
  • Kieran, L. & Anderson, C. (2014). Guiding Preservice Teacher Candidates to Implement Student-Centered Applications of Technology in the Classroom. In M. Searson & M. Ochoa (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2014 (pp. 2414-2421). Chesapeake, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).
  • Kruger, M. & Bester, R. (2014). Integrating eLearning to Support Medical Education at the New University of Botswana School of Medicine. The Electronic Journal of e-Learning. 12(1), 52-76.
  • Welsh, J.L., Harmes, C., & Winkelman, R. (2011). Tech Tips: Florida’s Technology Integration Matrix. Principal Leadership, 12 (2).

  • “Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by”
Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70.

Digital Coaching Links

  1. Applying the EdTech Coaching Model: A Vignette
  2. Exploring EduCoaching and Growth Mindset
  3. On Visioning
  4. Collegial Coaching Podcast
  5. 5 Responses to Edtech Coaching Questions
  6. Digital Coaching Resources
  7. The Effects of Technology Integration Coaches
  8. Peer Coaching Supports Teachers
  9. Instructional Coaching

Special Thanks: Portions of this have been adapted, or inspired, from Clear Creek ISD's Technology Plan. I hope those parts are unrecognizable but it would be remiss of me to not thank them for sharing!

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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