Many times, distance students easily lose their interest on trainings and, most of the time, this situation is explained through the lack of commitment towards learning on behalf of students, but have you ever asked yourself how the development of technology in teachers has affected the outcome of online classes?
Between 2006 and 2009, Punya Mishra and Mattew J. Koehler, professors at the University of Michigan, developed TPACK, Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge, a framework through which they asked themselves and exposed the type of knowledge that teachers need to master in order to effectively teach using technology, and came to the conclusion that TICs by themselves do not represent an optimization in the teaching-learning process.
The fact that technology is present in the classroom does not necessarily mean that the traditional teaching model has been changed by innovative methodologies. So, what is the challenge for teachers in online education?
It is clear, almost obvious, that teachers should know and master the topic they teach, but, apart from that, and this goes beyond virtual education, teachers must be "context-sensitive". This means to understand and know the learning preferences of students and the sociocultural contexts in which classes are given, aiming at filtering information and adapting the speech to the academic situation.
Teachers make a particular interpretation of the content that must go together with the knowledge of the teaching and learning process. But, unfortunately, in many cases, virtual classes’ teachers end up being professionals with a wide working experience but lack didactic training. If we want virtual education to keep on improving, it is necessary for our courses trainers to acquire pedagogical training which enables them a deep understanding of the learning process, besides the criteria for the class management, lessons planning and students’ evaluation.
Teachers need to know the way in which technologies influence the presentation of their material, and understand which specific technological tools are more adequate to approach the teaching and learning of different contents. In this way, they will be able to recognize whether the elements facilitate or hinder learning and the adaptation of their students to the virtual environment.
Taking into account these points, TPACK model can help to change and improve your virtual course's outcomes. It is fundamental that the teachers of your programs train not only in content and didactics, but also in technology, since we cannot keep on associating the evolution of education to the simple use of new means; we need a methodology change. We want more!