Music Teachers and Technology: The TPACK Framework


William I. Bauer, Case Western Reserve University


The purpose of this presentation will be to propose and discuss a research-based conceptual framework for integrating technology into music teaching and learning. Building on the work of Shulman (1986), Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) (Koehler & Mishra, 2008) provides a way to conceptualize and actualize the knowledge, skills and dispositions educators need to be able to effectively use technology with students. Technology-assisted music teaching is a complex, ill-structured “problem” with which teachers may struggle. The TPACK framework takes the focus off of technology itself and places it on ways in which technology might assist students in achieving curricular goals.


Technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge are each necessary for effective teaching with technology. However, it is in the way these domains overlap and interact that impacts a teacher’s choices regarding the use of particular technologies and pedagogies, and even the specific content to be taught. Teachers who have an understanding of the essential content and pedagogical needs for a subject can then examine the affordances (benefits) and constraints (limiting features) of any particular technology, making decisions as to how to appropriately utilize it. Considering the dynamic relationships among content, pedagogy and technology when contemplating learning outcomes related to creating, performing, understanding, and responding to music is essential.


Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge is in a continual state of development and refinement. Taking a workshop or class, reading journal articles and books, and even using technology while teaching will not result in TPACK that will suffice for a career. Like any aspect of teaching, a commitment to ongoing learning and professional development is necessary. Due to the protean nature of technology, an essential component of TPACK is a disposition of adaptive expertise.


Both routine experts and adaptive experts continue to learn throughout their lifetimes. Routine experts develop a core set of competencies that they apply throughout their lives with greater and greater efficiency. In contrast, adaptive experts are much more likely to change their core competencies and continually expand the breadth and depth of their expertise. This restructuring of core ideas, beliefs, and competencies may reduce their efficiency in the short run but make them more flexible in the long run. These processes of restructuring often have emotional consequences that accompany realizations that cherished beliefs and practices need to be changed (Bransford, Derry, Berliner, & Hammerness, with Becket, 2005, p. 48-49).


Suggestions for developing TPACK in pre- and in-service music teachers will be provided.




Bransford, J., Derry, S., Berliner, D., & Hammerness, K., with Beckett, K. L. (2005). Theories of learning and their roles in teaching. In L. Darling-Hammond and J. Bransford (Eds.), Preparing teachers for a changing world (pp. 40-87). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2008). Introducing TPCK. In AACTE (Eds.), Handbook of technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK) for educators (pp. 3-29). New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group for the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education.

Shulman, L. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4-14.