Professional teachers can guarantee the progress and the promotion of society because fostering the development of next generation is up to them and depends on their professional knowledge which has two kinds of sources; content knowledge and teaching skill. The aim of the present research was studying the effect of integrating problem-based learning with Information and Communications Technology (ICT) on developing content knowledge and teaching skill of trainee teachers. The research design was a quasi-experimental one, and the participants were elementary education trainee teachers of Shahid Bahonar teacher training center of Hamadan, Iran. Two groups were given tests of theory and practice on teaching mathematical concepts at elementary school, and then a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to compare the pretest-posttest scores. There was a significant difference, in both multivariate and univariate analyses, in scores. The findings suggest that trainee teachers who integrate problembased learning with ICT in solving a problem may develop more professional content knowledge and teaching skill than those who merely employ ICT.
Keywords: Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Problem-Based Learning (PBL), Content Knowledge, Teaching Skill
Teachers' professional knowledge has two kinds of sources; content knowledge and teaching skill. Teachers usually obtain this professional knowledge in teacher training colleges; however, we should accept that, at least in Iran, the number of teachers who graduate from these colleges is very small. Moreover, trainee teachers in these colleges usually become familiar with teaching methods traditionally. Therefore, their learning may not last for a long time, and as soon as they begin their career in state schools, this will affect their students' learning negatively.
The results of TIMSS studies in 1995, 1999, and 2003 showed that Iranian students have problems with science and mathematics. In 1995, elementary school fourth graders were ranked 25 out of 26 participating countries, and in 2003 they were ranked 22 among 25 countries (Iranian Research Institute for Education 2012). One can say that one of the main reasons of this failure is the method of teaching; since a professional well-trained teacher is able to approach problems in syllabus and the like employing appropriate methods or techniques. How a teacher who either has not been trained in mathematics teaching methodology or has been trained passively can teach students mathematical concepts in an appropriate way. Therefore, employing active and involving teaching methods is not only necessary for students but also teachers themselves should be trained in the similar way. As students learn social interaction and personal thinking through active search, teachers can also learn actively and constructively through experience, since this process provides them with opportunities for obtaining modern knowledge (Aghazadeh 2009).
One of the most efficient methods for trainee teachers' effective and active learning is integration of technology in syllabus. Nowadays, there is a widespread use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education, and a lot of schools around the world have been equipped with technological facilities. Thus, teachers need to exploit the considerable potential of these facilities in education. Churchill (2009) argues that ICT adds a new dimension to teaching effectiveness by enabling teachers to do things that might not be possible within the traditional classroom. Nevertheless, teachers need professional training to be able to integrate technology in the syllabus. Using modern technology alone or without considering learning theories will not be effective. Most teachers in Iran regard MS PowerPoint as the only way of using modern technology in teaching; moreover, some of them do not have sufficient familiarity with efficient use of the software and usually use it for presentation of information. …