Activity Types Taxonomy with TPACK


Integrate technology with ease.


The TPACK framework of knowledge has been floating around education spheres for a while. It’s an extremely useful tool for educators, particularly when it comes to lesson planning integrating technology.


Putting TPACK into practice can take some work. The theory is fantastic, but the practical implications require thought and research. Busy teachers and kaiako will be glad to know that someone else has already done the mahi, resulting in the comprehensive and helpful Activity Types Taxonomy.



TPACK framework: What is it?


First, let’s break down the basics of TPACK. It is a helpful framework that identifies three different knowledge types that kaiako do and should possess: content, pedagogy, and technology. The content, of course, is the teachers’ knowledge of the subject matter at hand. The pedagogy is the “how” of it all, the processes and practices that are used to present the content which could include lectures, discussions, debates, inquiry, groups, and more. The technology aspect is the teachers’ understanding of information technology and how to use and apply it to achieve goals. In the middle of these three knowledge types is the “sweet spot”, where technology supports the chosen pedagogy which effectively conveys the content and meets students’ needs.





Putting it into practice


But which activities are included in that sweet spot? What are the implications of TPACK in the classroom, and how should kaiako best implement it? Judi Harris and Mark Hofer have created a fantastic resource that packages up what we can learn from TPACK to suggest different Learning Activity Types to implement in the classroom, and the technology to support them.


Harris and Hofer co-wrote “Grounded” Technology Integration: Instructional Planning Using Curriculum-Based Activity Type Taxonomies”, which says this:


“To assist with technology integration, therefore, we suggest using what is understood from research about teachers’ knowledge and instructional planning to form an approach to curriculum-based technology integration that is predicated upon teachers combining technologically supported learning activity types selected from content-keyed activity type taxonomies.”

Online resources for tech integration in learning


It’s heady stuff, and here’s what it boils down to. The Learning Activity Types website is available online as a resource for educators which suggests TPACK-based learning activities for an array of subjects: currently, K-6 literacy, mathematics, music, physical education, science, secondary English language arts, social studies, visual arts, and world languages. There are also suggestions for ESOL teaching strategies. Each field is broken down into categories, and within each category is a range of specific activity suggestions with matched technology aids.


As an example, the Mathematics taxonomy includes “consider”, “practice”, “interpret”, “produce”, “apply”, “evaluate”, and “create” categories. One of the “practice” activity types suggested is to solve a puzzle, with examples of applicable technology including web-based puzzles and brain teaser websites. One of the “evaluate” activity types is to test a conjecture, which might involve technology including GeoGebra or Desmos, statistics software such as iNZight, online calculators, and robotics. Although some of the software recommendations are a few years old, they provide a good guide—and as tech advances, you will find that there are even more tools at your disposal. If you have any suggestions for new activities and associated tech tools, we’d love to hear them. Drop us a line on Twitter or Facebook!



The TPACK framework is fantastic for kaiako wanting to integrate technology into their lessons in a way that supports learning effectively, but it can be a difficult thing to wrap your head around and put into practice. The Activity Types taxonomy made available by Harris and Hofer offers practical, concrete ideas to use in your lesson planning. Take a look at this ever-growing resource and find that “sweet spot” where content, pedagogy, and technology are combined optimally.


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