For the Cooking with TPACK activity, I had to slice vegetables for a vegetable platter using a plate, plastic bowl and a wooden spoon. This activity is a metaphor for TPACK (Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge). The three tools I used represent the technology, the vegetables represent the content and the method I used to make the platter represents the pedagogy. Check out this post for a more detailed explanation of TPACK.
At first, I thought it would be nearly impossible to slice the vegetables (broccoli, celery, zucchini and a yellow pepper) with the tools I had. The only possible tool for slicing would be the spoon, but it had rounded edges and was not sharp. I then noticed that the end of the spoon handle did have a pointed tip which I was able to utilize to “slice” the zucchini and pepper. I also realized that I could easily break the broccoli and celery into fairly neat bite-sized pieces for the platter. In the end, the vegetable platter came out much better than I had expected.
To accomplish this task, I had to think about repurposing the tools I had. I had to think of the spoon as not being a spoon, but as a tool for slicing. The authors of the TPACK Handbook explain that we have a tendency to view tools for the purpose they were originally designed for, thus creating a “functional fixedness.” We are not able to see more creative ways to use tools due to this. Repurposing the spoon as a slicing tool helped me to avoid this scenario. I also used the plate for its traditional purpose since I needed a “platter” for the vegetables. I ended up not using or needing the bowl. I do wonder if someone else who did this activity with the same materials would have found a use for the bowl.
The Cooking with TPACK activity has helped me to solidify my understanding of TPACK and to raise my awareness of the importance of thinking creatively when using technology in the classroom.