On making a fruit salad using a fork, an apple and a watermelon

This week in CEP810, I undertook a cooking challenge that served as a metaphor for using technology in education.  I was told to ask an assistant, who has no knowledge of what our project was all about, to give me a plate, a bowl and one utensil.  Then the assistant chose a number from a hat (1-5).  Each number represented one cooking challenge.  My  task was to complete the cooking task using only the tools that  I was given.  I was given a dinner plate, a soup bowl and a fork.  My cooking challenge was to prepare a fruit salad of at least two fruits that were cut into bite-sized pieces.  I had an apple and a half of a watermelon in the house, and so those became my ingredients.

This exercise is a beautiful way to illustrate the TPACK educational theory of Dr. Matthew Koehler and Dr. Punya Mishra.  TPACK stands for Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge.  In this theory of using technology in education, the teacher considers the way technology intersects with pedagogy and content knowledge within the specific context in which they are teaching. The teacher does not just integrate technology into their curriculum, but rather uses technology in unexpected and innovative ways in order to help students learn.  This is played out in classrooms across the world every day.   We have a vision for a project and we have to complete it with the tools that are available in our classrooms.   Often, we find that we are using whatever is in the classroom in an unintended way to meet the goal.  From the examples that Dr. Mishra shared in a video about TPACK and 21st century learning, I think he wants teachers to look at the learning goals and think way outside of the box of how we normally approach our subject area.  Like using a fork to create a salad– who knew you could do it?  And who would want to?  But maybe the combination of watermelon and apple was just waiting for a crazy cooking project to make it happen.

To learn more about TPACK, you  may watch the video link above, or read more at Dr. Mishra’s blog.



One thought on “On making a fruit salad using a fork, an apple and a watermelon

  1. When I heard you talking about making a fruit salad out of a watermelon and a fork I was really glad that the watermelon was already cut in half!

    You did such a wonderful job of talking out loud as you were doing each task and I really loved that you gave a little bit of a story to the people eating the apple. As you were walking through which tools to use and which tools you wish you had you gave an in depth look at what would have been ideal but still came up with a tasty, edible, (and safe!) fruit salad.

    One part that stuck with me was when you mentioned how some of the apple was being wasted when using a sub-optimal tool. When the waste is only an apple it’s not a big deal but when you’re dealing with students the waste could be their time, which is precious. I feel that it’s important to utilize the ideas of TPACK but we should be sure the tool still fits with the overall proposed outcome and doesn’t create excess waste.

    Thanks for your thoughtful take on Cooking with TPACK 😀


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