Despite large-scale investments into the technological infrastructure of K-12 education, research has repeatedly shown that many teachers lack the expertise to effectively incorporate technology into classroom teaching. To support teachers in this, there is a need to understand how and when the relevant knowledge develops during teacher training.

To this end, Joshua Weidlich and Marco Kalz conducted a study at Heidelberg University of Education, sampling prospective teachers (N = 526) and analyzing their self-reported technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) across the seven dimensions of the framework. Specifically, they assessed (1) the extent to which students more advanced in their studies reported higher TPACK, (2) the effect of gender on these trajectories, and (3) the potential role of curricular cornerstones of the teacher education program.

Regarding (1), they found that not all of the TPACK dimensions were associated with study progress. Specifically, non-technological dimensions (e.g. pedagogical knowledge (PK), content knowledge (CK)) were positively associated with study progress, whereas technology-focused dimensions (e.g. technological knowledge (TK), technological pedagogical knowledge (TPK)) were not or less strongly so.

(2) Crucially, this lack of association can be partly explained by gendered differences, in that it was specifically students identifying as women who did not report higher TPACK-rating in the technological dimensions when they were further advanced in their studies. This, however, was not the case for pedagogical-focused dimensions, where both self-identified men and women show clear associations with study progress.

Finally, (3) there was evidence that curricular cornerstones of the teacher education program were partly effective in supporting TPACK of prospective teachers, however, with room for improvement. Specifically, students who completed the integrated internship (“integriertes Semesterpraktikum”) reported higher TPACK in pedagogical dimensions but not in technological dimensions. The professional field placement (“Berufsfeldpraktikum) showed associations with almost all TPACK dimensions across the board, thus also supporting technology-integration knowledge. Finally, the choice of a study profile with a technology focus was strongly associated with technology-related TPACK dimensions.

All in all, this study provides insights into key issues of today’s teacher education. Further research may shed light on the reasons why self-identified women teacher students do not reap the same benefits of their training, particularly in those knowledge domains with high relevance for successful technology-enhanced teaching. Further, the study provides implications on how to improve teacher education, for example, by strengthening the technological components in existing curricular cornerstones.

Suggested citation:

Weidlich, J. & Kalz, M. (2023). How well does teacher education prepare for teaching with technology? A TPACK-based investigation at a university of education. European Journal of Teacher Education, 1-21. LINK