You are here:

Distributed TPACK What kind of teachers does it work for?

Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society Volume 12, Number 3, ISSN 1826-6223 e-ISSN 1826-6223 Publisher: Italian e-Learning Association


Technology at school can be either integrated as an everyday support to normal, curricular activities or as a trigger for special projects. Drawing on the distributed cognition theory, the distributed TPACK (Technology, Pedagogy and Content Knowledge) model (Di Blas et al., 2014) claims that, at least in the latter case, the knowledge required does not reside in just the teacher’s head but is rather distributed within a complex system of resources that includes students, colleagues, relatives, experts, the internet, etc. After introducing the distributed interpretation of the TPACK model, this paper focuses on the profile of the teachers who “enact” it within their classroom, based on data from a large case-study with digital storytelling at school. Results are quite surprising: most of the teachers are quite aged, with more than 20 years of teaching experience, with a background in humanities rather than science; many admit a poor command of Technology Knowledge. Yet, they succeed: benefits for their students are substantial, over a wide spectrum. What lesson can be drawn? That contrary to what may be expected, PK and not TK is probably the issue when introducing technology at school.


Di Blas, N. (2016). Distributed TPACK What kind of teachers does it work for?. Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society, 12(3),. Italian e-Learning Association. Retrieved March 25, 2019 from .


View References & Citations Map


  1. Angeli C. (2008), Distributed Cognition: A Framework for Understanding the Role of Technology in Teaching and Learning, Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 40 (3), 271-279.
  2. Di Blas N. (2013), Technology at School: Special Event or Everyday Practice?, in: Parmigiani D., Pennazio V., Traverso A. (eds) Learning& Teaching with Media& Technology. ATEE-SIREM Winter Conference Proceedings. 7-9 March 2013, Genoa (Italy). 210-217, Brussels, ATEE aisbl. D i B las N. (2016a) , ICT in education: teachers’ competences in a distributed TPACK perspective, in: Rui, M., Messina, L., Minerva, T. (eds), Teach Different! Proceedings della Multiconferenza EMEMITALIA2015. Genova, 9-12 Sept. 2015. 99-103, Genova, Genova University Press. Di Blas N. (2016b), Digital Storytelling inFormal Education: Collaboration and Curriculum Connections, in: Huion P. (ed) Teaching and storytelling, special issue of Fictions, vol. XVI (in press)
  3. Di Blas N., Paolini P. (2013), Beyond the School’s Boundaries: PoliCultura, a LargeScale Digital Storytelling Initiative, Educational Technology& Society [Special issue], 16 (1), 15–27.
  4. Di Blas N., Paolini P., Sawaya S., Mishra P. (2014), Distributed TPACK: Going Beyond Knowledge in the Head, in: Searson M., Ochoa M. (eds), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology& Teacher Education International Conference 2014. 2464-2472, Chesapeake, VA, AACE.
  5. Hewitt J., Scardamalia M. (1998), Design principles for the support of distributed processes, Educational Psychology Review, 10 (1), 75-95.
  6. Hutchins E. (2001), Distributed cognition, in: Smelser N.J., Baltes, P.B. (eds), International encyclopedia of the social and behavioral sciences. 2068-2072, New York, Elsevier Science.
  7. Hutchins E. (1995), Cognition in the Wild, Cambridge and London, MIT Press.
  8. Karasavvidis I. (2002), Distributed cognition and educational practice, Journal of interactive learning research, 13 (1/2), 11–29.
  9. Kim B., Reeves T.C. (2007), Reframing research on learning with technology: in search of the meaning of cognitive tools, Instructional Science, 35 (3), 207–256.
  10. Koehler M.J., Mishra P. (2005), What happens when teachers design educational technology? The development of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Journal of Educational Computing Research, 32 (2), 131-152.
  11. Koehler M.J., Mishra P., Kereluik K., Shin T.S., Graham C.R. (2014), The Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge Framework, in: Spector J.M., Merrill M.D., Elen J., Bishop M.J. (eds), Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology. 101–111, New York, Springer.
  12. Koehler M.J., Mishra P., Yahya K. (2007), Tracing the development of teacher knowledge in a design seminar: Integrating content, pedagogy and technology, Computers& Education, 49(3), 740–762.
  13. Jones D., Heffernan A., Albion P. (2015), TPACK as shared practice: Toward a research agenda, in: Slykhuis D. Marks, G. (eds), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology& Teacher Education International Conference 2015. 3287-3294, Chesapeake, VA, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).
  14. Mishra P., Koehler M.J. (2006), Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge, Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017–1054.
  15. Pea R.D. (1993), Practices of distributed intelligence and designs for education, in: Salomon G. (ed) , Distributed cognitions: Psychological and educational considerations. 47–87, New York, Cambridge University Press.
  16. Phillips M. (2013), Investigating in-service teachers’ workplace TPACK development, Australian Educational Computing, 28(2). 1–10.
  17. Phillips M., Koehler M.J., Rosenberg, J.M. (2016), Looking outside the circles: Considering the contexts influencing TPACK development and enactment. Paper
  18. Steketee C. (2006), Modelling ICT integration in teacher education courses using distributed cognition as a framework, Australasian Journal of Educational Technology 2006, 22(1), 126-144.
  19. Shulman L.S. (1986), Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching, Educational researcher, 4-14.

These references have been extracted automatically and may have some errors. If you see a mistake in the references above, please contact

Also Read

Related Collections