The Role of Standards in TPACK Lesson Design

From a Coaching Perspective

But first, a review…

The Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework, builds on Shulman’s idea of PCK, and attempts to capture some of the essential qualities of knowledge required by teachers for technology integration in their teaching, while addressing the complex, multifaceted and situated nature of teacher knowledge.  The TPACK framework looks at the relationships between technology, pedagogy, and content, in specific contexts.”


“At the heart of the TPACK framework, is the complex interplay of three primary forms of knowledge: Content (CK), Pedagogy (PK), and Technology (TK). Effective technology integration for pedagogy around specific subject matter requires developing sensitivity to the dynamic, transactional relationship between all three components. A teacher capable of negotiating these relationships represents a form of expertise different from, and greater than, the knowledge of a disciplinary expert (say a mathematician or a historian), a technology expert (a computer scientist) and a pedagogical expert (an experienced educator). (Mishra, 2015)”

In my experiences as a technology peer coach, classroom teacher, and DEL graduate student, I tend to approach lesson design from a TK perspective. With my passion for effective technology integration, it has become a habit of mine to seek the technology first. That is not to say that content and pedagogy are neglected, but rather, it is as if they have become second nature in my teaching and sometimes are taken for granted. One thing I’ve learned in a coaching role, however, is to focus on the teaching first, and the technology later. It’s important to begin with the foundation of a lesson: learning standards. Lesson standards should drive the development of a learning activity: What do I want students to learn? What do they need to be able to do? Using these questions to identify standards and indicators of meeting those standards leads to a backwards design approach. “We cannot say how to teach for understanding or which material and activities to use until we are quite clear about which specific understandings we are after and what such understandings look like in practice.”

  1. Identify desired results: In a coaching role, this should be the focal point of initiating conversations about the learning activity. Clearly identify the teacher’s objectives and specifically state the standards being addressed. These goals will guide the entire process.
  2. Determine acceptable evidence: With your coaching partner, determine what type of evidence students will need to produce in order to demonstrate meeting the standards. Here is an ideal stage to create projects that demonstrate 21st Century Skills.   
  3. Plan learning experiences and instruction: Now that there is a clear destination in mind, discuss and develop activities in which students can acquire the knowledge and skills to reach their learning goals. These learning activities should aim to balance technology, content, and pedagogy. (Wiggins, McTighe, 1998) 

Our curriculum and instruction should lead a clear path to a specific desired outcome.


The role of the standards (district, state, national) should be at the forefront. Identify the standards first and they will then act as a beacon for navigating the TPACK model. Attempting to equally balance the three knowledge components of TPACK can be a daunting and overwhelming task without a clear sense of direction. Let the standards be your guide!


I’ve spent the past couple of weeks in a reflective stage of my current coaching role, as I was losing my sense of direction on the project. That led me to dig deeper to clearly define the learning standards we were aiming to meet. I pulled specific, attainable objectives from the Common Core State Standards, American Association of School Librarians standards, ISTE Student Standards. In hindsight, I would have began with a backwards design and identified the standards initially, but they will now play a guiding role as we see the learning activity to completion.



Introduction to the TPACK model. Retrieved from:

Koehler, M. (2012) TPACK. Retrieved from:

Mishra, P. (2015). TPACK. Retrieved from:

TPACK in k-6 literacy education. (2016) Retrieved from:

Wiggins, G., McTighe, J. (1998) Understanding by design. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Design. Alexandria, WA. Retrieved from:

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