Social Media for Senior using TPACK


Image: Matthew J Koehler 2017

Dr. Z recently challenged us to come up with a practical application of TPACK.  TPACK stands for Pedagogy – Content, Technology-Content knowledge and technology – pedagogy.  I like this short video does a great job of explaining it.

He gave us a number of great sources to help us get a deeper understanding of TPACK.  Many of the insights on TPACK come from Mishra and Koehler.  For a long time, we have talked about how educators have to find the right combination of pedagogy and content, but now we add in a third component, technology.  Mishra and Koehler explain how good teachers bring these together on this site.

I work in an assisted living facility so thinking of a way to incorporate technology, and TPACK, into something I want to teach the residents is difficult.  I have to laugh when they whip out their flip phones to show me how they are up to date with technology!

I have found that the residents have interaction among each other, but they still feel lonely at times so we come up with all kinds of things to help with this.  Many of the residents write letters and receive letters, but this takes a long time. We have organized events so the surrounding community comes to visit, but that is not the same as having their children or grandchildren here with them.  This is where pedagogy, content and technology collide.

What we want to teach the residents is a way to stay in touch with family members that is faster and more interactive than writing letters.  We have two challenges, they don’t know social media and they don’t know devices beyond their flip phones.  We have to get them beyond their fears of technology because, they can do it!  That’s why I like how the instructions on this site start off.  It talks about adjusting your perspective and clearly and slowly explaining what Facebook is before the technology is even brought to the table.  As Fijor points out in another article, we want to make sure  we do an overview of Facebook that tells what it is but does not go into so much detail that it overwhelms the residents.   Hurdle one is accomplished without any technology in hand.  Once the fear is subsided, we can concentrate on the rest of the instructions to get Facebook setup.  The focus will be on Facebook and setting up the account, not on the iPad or computer.  I want the residents to see Facebook and experience the joy it can bring before we get bogged down with ‘how tos’ about the computer or device itself.  Once they fall in love with Facebook, they will find learning how to use the device is worth it.  I fear we will not get past turning the computer on if we start there.