Assessing New Zealand high school science teachers' technological pedagogical content knowledge.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) is the knowledge required for effective technology integration in teaching. In this study, New Zealand high school science teachers’ TPACK was assessed through an online survey. The data and its analysis revealed that New Zealand’s high school science teachers in general had a high perception of their understanding of TPACK and its related constructs. Science teachers had high mean scores on all the constructs on a five- point Likert scale except technological knowledge. There is thus an indication that science teachers in New Zealand perceived themselves as being able to teach with technology effectively. Correlation analysis revealed that all six constructs correlated significantly with TPACK (also referred to as TPCK). Multiple and stepwise regression analyses revealed that Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK) and Technological Content Knowledge (TCK) made statistically significant unique contributions to Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK). Pre-registered teachers indicated that their levels of TCK and Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) were lower than more experienced teachers. This implied that recently graduated teachers found it difficult to appropriate the affordances of technology to affect the content they taught. Also, these recently graduated teachers lacked the experience to represent content in a format that made it comprehensible to their learners. The contextual factors that influenced teachers’ use of technology as well as teachers’ TPACK levels were investigated through multiple embedded case studies of six teachers who were regular users of technology in their teaching. The case studies revealed that science teachers used technology to support inquiry learning in a wide range of ways in lower levels of high school but mostly to clarify concepts and theories when it came to the senior level of high school. Teachers demonstrated different levels of expertise and engagement in the use of technology for transferring different types of knowledge from one teaching and learning context to another and for addressing differences amongst learners. This signalled that science teachers’ TPACK apparent developmental levels shifted depending on the context of the assessment requirements of the students. This is a major finding in this study because although previous researchers have assumed that context influences teachers’ TPACK characteristics and development, this study provides evidence of how specific aspects of context influences teachers’ TPACK. This evidence shows examples of how the development of an individual’s TPACK can be considered as dynamic where the interacting constructs and characteristics shift and change based on the context. The recommendations from this study propose that teacher education programmes should ensure that there is a focus on teaching preservice teachers how to appropriate the affordances of technology to teach specific content instead of teaching one technology skills based course. The evidence from this study indicates that teachers in New Zealand schools use collegial approaches in the use of technology. Therefore professional learning programmes should target groups of teachers in the same school or cluster of schools rather than targeting individual teachers. This will enable teachers to share ideas and provide leadership for their colleagues in terms of how to use technology. Again, technology related professional development programmes should move away from enriching teachers’ technological skills to emphasising how teachers can appropriate the affordances of technology in their classroom practices to meet their instructional goals as well as students’ learning outcomes. There is a consequent obligation for teacher educators, educationists and stakeholders to enable teachers to understand how best to harness the increased knowledge retrieval capacity that Information and Communication Technology affords, its information sharing abilities as well as the capacity to engage young people to act as experimenters, designers and creators of knowledge.