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Enhancing pre-service teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK): a mixed-method study


The main aim of this two-step mixed-method study was to explore the effectiveness of the strategies used to prepare pre-service teachers for technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK). Specifically, we focused on the strategies included in the synthesis of qualitative evidence (SQD) model: (1) using teacher educators as role models, (2) reflecting on the role of technology in education, (3) learning how to use technology by design, (4) collaboration with peers, (5) scaffolding authentic technology experiences, and (6) providing continuous feedback. To explore the relation between the perceived occurrences of the SQD-strategies and TPACK (controlled for pre-service teachers’ general attitudes towards technology), survey data were collected from a sample of 688 final-year pre-service teachers in Belgium. In a next step, 16 telephone interviews and 6 in-depth interviews were conducted to gain a more in-depth insight into the nature of the 6 strategies and their influences on TPACK. The quantitative analyses indicated positive correlations between the SQD-strategies and TPACK, controlled for general attitudes towards technology. The findings from the qualitative analyses showed that teachers acknowledged the importance of the six strategies. However, the respondents emphasized that some of the six strategies are often underutilized. Based on the quantitative and qualitative results, the discussion provides recommendations to improve the potential of pre-service training to enhance future teachers’ TPACK.

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Item wordings of the SQD-scale.

During my pre-service training,…

Role model (ROL)

  • (ROL1) I saw many examples of ICT use in an educational setting

  • (ROL2) I observed sufficient ICT use in an educational setting in order to integrate applications myself in the future

  • (ROL3) I saw good examples of ICT practice that inspired me to use ICT applications in the classroom myself

  • (ROL4) The potential of ICT use in education was demonstrated concretely

Reflection (REF)

  • (REF1) I was given the chance to reflect on the role of ICT in education (REF2) We discussed the challenges of integrating ICT in education

  • (REF3) We were given the opportunity to discuss our experiences with ICT in the classroom (i.e., during internships)

  • (REF4) There were specific occasions for us to discuss our general attitude towards ICT in education.

Instructional design (DES)

  • (DES1) I received sufficient help in designing lessons that integrated ICT (DES2) We learnt how to thoroughly integrate ICT into lessons

  • (DES3) We received help to use ICT when developing educational materials

  • (DES4) I received a great deal of help developing ICT-rich lessons and projects to use for my internship

Collaboration (COL)

  • (COL1) There were enough occasions for me to work together with other students on ICT use in education (i.e., we developed ICT-based lessons together)

  • (COL2) I was convinced of the importance of co-operation with respect to ICT use in education                                                                                                                

  • (COL3) Students helped each other to use ICT in an educational context

  • (COL4) Experiences using ICT in education were shared

Authentic experiences (AUT)

  • (AUT1) There were enough occasions for me to test different ways of using ICT in the classroom

  • (AUT2) I was able to learn to use ICT in the classroom through the internships

  • (AUT3) I was encouraged to gain experience in using ICT in a classroom setting

  • (AUT4) Students were encouraged when they attempted to use ICT in an educational setting

Feedback (FEE)

  • (FEE1) I received sufficient feedback about the use of ICT in my lessons

  • (FEE2) My competences with ICT were thoroughly evaluated

  • (FEE3) I received sufficient feedback on how I can further develop my ICT competences

  • (FEE4) My competences in using ICT in the classroom were regularly evaluated

Note Response categories: totally disagree, disagree, slightly disagree, slightly agree, agree, totally agree.

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Tondeur, J., Scherer, R., Siddiq, F. et al. Enhancing pre-service teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK): a mixed-method study. Education Tech Research Dev 68, 319–343 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-019-09692-1

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  • Technological pedagogical content knowledge
  • Pre-service teachers
  • Mixed-method study
  • SQD-model