Stephen Wheeler

eLearning Technologist

Technology, Pedagogy and Content Knowledge
Published on (Thursday, February 22, 2018) by Stephen Wheeler.

(Video transcript)

Blackboard is chock full of tools you can use to improve teaching and learning, but why would you use them if you don’t know why you would want to use them? The most useful quick tip I can give to you is to look at your course content, consider the best way to teach that content to your students, then match that to the most appropriate Blackboard tool.


The Technology, Pedagogy, Content Knowledge (TPaCK) framework is something to consider when writing your module and putting your Blackboard space together.

This framework is based on the interplay between three distinct forms of knowledge:

Content Knowledge
Teachers’ knowledge about the subject matter to be learned or taught.
Pedagogical Knowledge
Teachers’ deep knowledge about the processes and practices or methods of teaching and learning.
Technology Knowledge
Knowledge about certain ways of thinking about, and working with technology, tools and resources.

Rather than seeing these three kinds of knowledge in isolation, where they intersect creates three secondary, and distinct, knowledge areas:

Pedagogical Content Knowledge
The idea that the knowledge of pedagogy is applied to the teaching of specific content.
Technological Content Knowledge
An understanding of the manner in which technology and content influence and constrain one another.
Technological Pedagogical Knowledge
An understanding of how teaching and learning can change when particular technologies are used in particular ways.

Finally, where all three types of knowledge overlap, we get:

Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge
Underlying truly meaningful and deeply skilled teaching with technology, TPACK is different from knowledge of all three concepts individually.

Try these suggestions for using Blackboard tools:

To test research skills
set an activity
To impart information
embed a video
To test knowledge
set a quiz
To assess reflection and critical thinking
set up a journal
To test understanding
moderate a forum
For collaborative working
use a wiki

Whatever the technology you use, whatever the content, whatever the pedagogy you prefer, you should strive to have all three types of knowledge align with each other.


  • Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70.
  • Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9620.2006.00684.x.
  • Shulman, L.S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4-14.