AERA 2024 – It’s Not The Tool, It Is The Teacher How TPCK Shapes The Impact of Technology


The pandemic has put a spotlight on educational technology, especially in science classes. Teachers have been using existing tech to create virtual labs and share data, making it easier to demonstrate scientific concepts. However, there’s a problem: these digital labs don’t fully meet the goals of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). NGSS calls for a more comprehensive approach to teaching, including mastering various skills and concepts. This has led to a demand for technology that aligns better with NGSS. Enter Educational Technology. Smartphones now enable the use of virtual reality (VR) for virtual field trips, offering students immersive experiences. These VR tools allow students to explore data, learn from experts, and understand concepts more deeply. It’s a seamless integration of modern tech with NGSS-aligned teaching methods.


At this year’s AERA conference we are sharing our new research on the implementation of socially justice designed virtual reality lessons. We look forward to you added to this work.


The adoption of modern educational technology was limited by how well EdTech tools align with a teacher’s pedagogical goals for science teaching. Research on virtual reality in K-12 suggests VR has the potential to promote effective learning and promote greater engagement. Using the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) theory, we explored how different pedagogical uses of virtual reality produced different outcomes. This qualitative analysis of 45 virtual reality videos created by 9th grade Biology students revealed how individual, small group, and large group pedagogical approaches to using VR altered how students interacted with scientific ideas. The results of this study provide insights into how edtech tools achieve different goals based on teachers’ pedagogical decisions.


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