Global Educators Cohort Program - Teacher Education

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iTecs Innovative Ideas

January 23, 2009
Welcome to the first iTecs news blurb, a weekly note of ideas for using technology in instruction and to enhance your professional life. We'll keep it simple and brief, but feel free to contact us for more information or to schedule time to work with us.

Educational Ideas

  • takes user's text and arranges the words in multiple ways
  • in order to appear larger, a word must be typed repeatedly
  • requires user to consider which words to emphasize over others
  • user can choose easy Randomize or choose own fonts and colors
  • user can take screen shot, print, or save to gallery
  • does not require user name and password

  • requires Internet access
  • requires text input
  • not easy to control format of word cloud
  • words must be spelled exactly the same in order to impact size
  • takes single words, not phrases

TE Classroom idea
  • Using the instructor's computer and the ceiling mounted projector, brainstorm or share ideas on a concept or topic such as classroom management. Students decide how many times a word should be typed for emphasis.
  • Students could do the same in small groups, then share with the class and compare emphases.

Professional Ideas

Using Wordle for research

  • paste an interview transcript into wordle and see what themes emerge, what seems to be repeated
  • use a new lens on data
  • use only the interviewee's text and then also only the interviewer's text to gain more insights



These knowledge word clouds were produced by pasting the TPCK article into Wordle and randomizing.



In naming the knowledge that teachers draw on for teaching with technology, Mishra and Koehler (2006) built on the concept of PCK, pedagogical content knowledge, a term coined by Shulman (1986) to describe the type of knowledge required for teaching. PCK “represents the blending of content and pedagogy into an understanding of how particular topics, problems, or issues are organized, represented, and adapted to the diverse interests and abilities of learners, and presented for instruction” (Shulman, p. 8). Mishra and Koehler advocate technology as a third component (see Figure), leading to overlaps forming pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), technological content knowledge (TCK), technological pedagogical knowledge (TPK), and the three combined in technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK). They describe TPCK as
  • an emergent form of knowledge that goes beyond all three components (content, pedagogy, and technology)…. TPCK is the basis of good teaching with technology and requires an understanding of the representation of concepts using technologies; pedagogical techniques that use technologies in constructive ways to teach content; knowledge of what makes concepts difficult or easy to learn and how technology can help redress some of the problems that students face; knowledge of students’ prior knowledge and theories of epistemology; and knowledge of how technologies can be used to build on existing knowledge and to develop new epistemologies or strengthen old ones. (Mishra & Koehler, 2006, p. 1028-1029)


It is this knowledge that we iTecs aim to build for ourselves and seek to assist MSU teacher education instructors in constructing and using. We continue to discuss, study, and test the TPCK framework as we use technology and aid educators in their implementation of technology.
Mishra, P. & Koehler, M. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054.
Shulman, L. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4-14.

Comments? More ideas? Feedback?

Respond via email or click on the Discussion tab above to add your input to this issue.

Technology Use Surveys

Thanks for sharing your input on the surveys of Fall 2008 technology use. It is such a great help to us and others looking for ideas when you take the time to respond. We will be addressing questions in future newsletters and on the wiki, but do not hesitate to email any of us with questions or to set up time to work together.
If you have not yet added your voice to the survey results, please do so!


Innovation with Technology in Education Consultants (iTecs)

We are three graduate assistants at Michigan State University who aid the Teacher Education faculty and instructors in using technology to teach subject matter in pedagogically effective ways in their classes. We are available for meeting with teams or individual instructors or assisting with classes. More information can be found on the iTecs wiki,

If you would like to be taken off the iTec Innovative Ideas list, please email us. If you know someone who would like to be added, have them email us at and they will receive our next Innovative Ideas.

Issues will be archived on the iTecs wiki, Be sure to browse for other ideas there!

Volume 1 Issue 1