The social construction of the practicum (a research experience that occurs prior to the dissertation)

Written by: Josh Rosenberg

Primary Source: Joshua Rosenberg

In my program the practicum is a research experience that occurs prior to the dissertation — and I defended my practicum on Wednesday to my committee members Matthew Koehler, Leigh Graves Wolf, and Andrea Zellner, and my friend Spencer Greenhalgh.

In one sense, my practicum was a solitary experience. In another sense, my ideas were shaped through interactions from more knowledgeable peers – especially those of my my practicum committee members – but also friends and colleagues like Spencer, Michelle, Mete, Ben, Luke, and my wonderful wife, Katie.

The importance of these social interactions connects to the topic of my practicum, which is a call for more attention to context in research about Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge. Here is the abstract:

Context is an important component of the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework, but research suggests context is frequently not included when researchers describe TPACK in their work, and that when context is included in the framework, its meaning is unclear. We conducted a mixed methods content analysis of peer-reviewed journal articles about TPACK. We found that context is included in 37% of 192 articles and that when researchers included context, what they meant what they meant differed according to the five categories of the coding frame for context. Micro, classroom factors, were included in 84% of publications; Meso, school factors, in 61%; Macro, societal factors, in 14%; Teacher, teacher factors, in 57%; and Student, student factors, in 44%. Results provide stronger empirical support that context is important but missing from research about TPACK, empirical support for the widespread meaning for context, and an identification of the number of peer-reviewed journal articles about TPACK. We make recommendations with concern to the incorporation of context and contextual factors into analyses of TPACK and educational technology.

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Joshua M. Rosenberg is a Ph.D. student in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology program at Michigan State University. In his research, Joshua focuses on how social and cultural factors affect teaching and learning with technologies, in order to better understand and design learning environments that support learning for all students. Joshua currently serves as the associate chair for the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) Special Interest Group in the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education. Joshua was previously a high school science teacher, and holds degrees in education (M.A.) and biology (B.S.).