Teaching with Technology: The Birth of the HE-TPaCK Instrument

Working with higher education faculty on a daily basis, I hear the struggles they encounter with technology, such as setting up classroom projectors, using smartboards, creating screencast or videos with Office Mix, creating blogs using Google Blogger, creating and deploying online gaming surveys with Kahoot, hosting online chat sessions with Blackboard Collaborate or WebEx, and the list goes on. The illustration I want you to cogitate is the intersection of teaching with technology, which requires adequate technology plus content and pedagogical knowledge. This is where instructional methods get murky as technology based learning becomes more prevalent for faculty in higher education institutions.

With Higher Ed faculty in mind…

These blurred lines cause desperation of technology support for faculty. This peaked my interest in finding if it was a common occurrence, but as I began researching, I discovered that there was very limited research on the ability of faculty to intertwine technology, pedagogy, and content in higher education. However, there was a plethora of research on the intertwining of technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge in k12 settings, referred to as TPACK framework.

The TPACK framework offers an explainable rationale that instructional strategies increase as faculty in k12 settings gain more knowledge about the technology, pedagogy, and content (Mishra and Koehler, 2006). Well, in my opinion, in order for instructional strategies to increase, faculty would need some form of training to help foster the development of knowledge in formats such as self-pace, face-to-face, or online. So I ventured out to develop a survey that utilizes the conceptual model of the TPACK framework and training interest but with faculty in higher education as the foci (Garrett, 2014).

The survey developed by Lux, Bangert, and Whittier (2011) examined TPACK in k12 settings along with technology training research by Georgina and Olson (2008) served as my basis for the development of the HE-TPaCK instrument. You might wonder why the need to differentiate between k12 and higher education. Well, my primary reason was to emphasize that the requirements of the governing bodies (i.e., administrators and accreditation councils) are different for k12 and higher education. For instance, k12 faculty are regularly required to attended workshops which provides opportunities for them to enhance their skills to implement into their instructional strategies. However, based on my teaching experience in higher education, faculty generally have more academic freedom and autonomy, which lessens the use of available resources (i.e. training) to enhance instructional practices. This leads to the spontaneous use of technology as teaching tools in face-to-face and online classes. Spontaneity works for some who are self-efficient when it comes to implementing technology into their pedagogy and content. However, I work with a lot of faculty who are less aware of their technology based teaching knowledge, which results in them struggling then becoming agitated in the technology implementation process.

HE-TPaCK Dynamics

I developed the HE-TPaCK instrument to allow faculty in higher education institutions to self-assess their ability to integrate technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge to enhance student learning. There is also a component of the HE-TPaCK instrument that questions faculty thoughts of technology training that administrators can utilize in their efforts to provide support to faculty.

The HE-TPaCK instrument containing 49 survey items consists of seven domains and technology training section using a five-point Likert scale. Below are sample items from each of the seven domains and the training related questions to give you a feel for how the survey items invoke self-awareness and discovery of faculty needs.


Number of Items

Survey Item Sample

Technology Knowledge (TK)


I am familiar with a variety of hardware, software and technology tools that I can use for teaching.

Pedagogy Knowledge (PK)


I know how to assess student learning.

Content Knowledge (CK)


I have a comprehensive understanding of the curriculum I teach.

Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK)


I understand that there is a relationship between content and the teaching methods used to teach that content.

Technological Content Knowledge (TCK)


I understand how the choice of technologies allows and limits the types of content ideas that can be taught.

Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK)


I understand how teaching and learning change when certain technologies are used.

Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPaCK)


I understand how digital technologies can be used to represent content in a variety of formats.

*Technology Training (TT) section


Technology training would enhance my teaching.

*Note: The technology training section of the instrument is separate from the domains.

My HE-TPaCK instrument provides a blue print that higher education institutions can utilize in planning faculty support initiatives to enhance the use of technology with existing pedagogy and content. Results from the HE-TPaCK instrument can aid in a deliberative framing approach to establish common grounds of interest between accreditation councils, higher education administrators, and faculty in regard to technology-based pedagogy.

Time for Deliberative Dialogue

Based on one of my mentor’s, Dr. David Mathews (2014), philosophy that “deliberative framing should also make us more aware that we not only differ with one another, but also within ourselves” (p.91). From this viewpoint, I would like to start framing the dialogue, as such:

It’s time we take a closer look at our partnerships and the clients we serve in order to engage the needs of both. It can be done collaboratively, if we disrupt what we think we know about integrating technology with pedagogy and content in effort to enhance student learning.

*My dissertation containing the HE-TPaCK instrument can be requested in its entirety using the Contact link on site. The instrument may be used by individual faculty for formative purposes, but not for research purposes without permission of the author, Kristi Garrett, Ph.D.


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Kristi N. Garrett, PhD

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