Cooking With TPACK: Fruit Salad Edition

In an epic battle that will go down in history, I entered the kitchen this week with one clear mission: to prove that general kitchen tools actually have a lot to teach us about our classroom pedagogies.


Three kitchen tools.

Two (successful)  fruits.

One kitchen.


Don’t believe me?  Banish your misconceptions, and be enlightened.  Watch the once-in-a-lifetime showdown below:

This week, one of my graduate courses at Michigan State University put me in foreign territory: the kitchen.  Though I consider myself to be at least proficient at the preparation of food, since getting married to my wonderful wife, that part of my brain has developed atrophy.  At the risk of creating a disaster, I entered the wild with one task: take three randomly selected kitchen tools–a plate, a bowl, and a utensil–from a friend or family member (in this case, it was my wife) and complete one of five random kitchen tasks using those tools.  Out of a hat, I drew the number three, shaming me into creating a fruit salad using a pizza cutter.

At the beginning of the video, I try to split the apple in half, but can’t cut through the apple core with a pizza cutter.  The solution was to use the pizza cutter to create apple slices, straight out of the whole apple.  I liked this repurposed method for cutting apples so much, I may never use a regular knife to cut an apple again.

The metal guard that I reference as a “divot”–there’s my North Carolina slang, for you :)–makes an excellent tool for prying the slices out of the apple cleanly.  I’d say that this method cuts down on time necessary for standard apple slicing by at least half (if you don’t have an apple slicer/corer, of course).  Just don’t cut your fingers off, like I almost did.

The war was on, and I fought valiantly, but at the end, I ran into some complications with the grapes.  I found that trying to cut the grapes, the pizza cutter just “mushed” the grapes.

Grapes: 1

Pizza Cutter/Me: 0

In reflection (as I discuss in the video), maybe they actually didn’t need to be chopped at all–just because you have the option of repurposing a tool for a task, doesn’t mean that it is the best decision in every situation–sometimes, you may not need the tool at all (this is not always the case, but the grape incident reminded me of this).

The big takeaway from this activity is to come to an understanding of the various ways that we can use the TPACK framework (more on that here) to manipulate and repurpose existing technologies to enhance our curriculum (to tack on yet another Southern euphemism, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat).  Importantly, we should also walk away reminded that technologies should not be misused in the classroom–for example, digitizing a handout is not proficient technology integration, but turning the activity that would have been a handout into an interactive webquest is a better idea.

Please leave comments and let me know what you thought of this fight to the death!


Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054. Retrieved from


One thought on “Cooking With TPACK: Fruit Salad Edition

  1. Pingback: Reflecting on Learning Experiences in CEP 810 | Mr. EduTech

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