Background of the Study
Education is an investment in human capital and empirical evidence, based on endogenous growth models shows that human capital is a key determinant of economic growth. Information Communication Technology (ICT) can play an important role in re-shaping education to respond to contemporary information society needs and reduce gaps that exist between socio-economic realities (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2009). Many of the productivity gains in the developed world economies over the past two decades can, to a great extent, are attributed to the impact of ICT.
The world of today is characterized by revolutionary advances powered by Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The world is being reduced to a global village through the use of information and communication technology thus, ICT promotes national development and better relationship with other nations. ICT refers to the electronic and communication devices associated with human interactive materials that enable users to employ them for a whole range of teaching and learning process.
The origins of computer-assisted instructions where students learn from programmed computer package can be traced to the works of Skinner (2004) on his work on experiments with ICT teaching machines which came as a result of dissatisfaction with traditional methods of learning which were teacher based and did not exploit the individual student potentials. Skinner (2004) suggested that, the experimental analysis of behavior could be applied in the construction of a teaching machine. The ICT teaching machine would present a carefully sequenced set of ideas to a student and reinforce his or her responses to direct behavioral capabilities. Skinner’s ideas led to the development of programmed learning materials.
Information Communication Technology is the fusion of two technologies: They are Information Technology (IT) and Communication Technology (CT) (Iwu, 2006). ICT embraces all technologies for manipulative communication of information and also encompasses any medium used to record information such as: radio, television, etc., and technology for communication through voice and sound or images using microphone, camera, loudspeaker, telephone/ mobile phones.
(Osu, Udosen, and Akpan, 2010). Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are indispensable and have been accepted as part of the contemporary world, especially in the industrialized societies to the extent of giving a new phase to the education system in terms of pedagogical approach (Ololube, 2006). According to Fari (2010), information and communication technology facilities are described as all the facilities available for the identification, generation, processing, storage, packaging, preservation, conservation and transfer of information, regardless of time and distance constraints. In other words, Information and Communication Technologies are information handling tools used for producing, storing, processing, distributing and exchanging of information.
Today, it is an increasingly powerful tool for participating in global markets, promoting political accountability, improving the delivery of basic services and enhancing local development opportunities (UNDP, 2006). ICT facilities influence and affect peoples’ private and corporate work life in one way or the other. These ICT facilities are all encompassing in areas like technology, socialization, politics, economics and education, for global transformation. Therefore, it becomes pertinent for teachers, who serve as key implementers of the nation’s educational policy, to be well-informed and adequately equipped with ICT facilities in order to function productively in this age of information explosion and technological advancement. The Federal Ministry of Education (2010) identifies the role of ICT policy on education amongst others as:
“The policy provides the needed guidance on what is expected in the entire process of ICT integration in education to all stakeholders in education. Its’ implementation, therefore, should lead to a speedy transformation of the teaching, learning and administration of education. This in turn will foster the production of graduates in the education system that can survive in the contemporary society, sustain national development and compete globally”
The realization of this policy statement lies basically in the capability of the key implementers of the nation’s educational policy i.e. teachers to integrate ICT-Driven instructional aids effectively through Computer Assisted mode of Instruction (CAI) in their day to day classroom activities for effective pedagogy. It is clear that ICT is a world of its own, it has various diversified aspects. The aspect relevant to this study is ICT-Driven Instructional aid basically, the “Computer Assisted mode of Instruction” (CAI).
According to Nwike and Chukwudum (2011), Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) is one of the products of computer technology and it proves to be an effective method of instruction delivery. It is pertinent to note that CAI has a major advantage of individualizing instruction by presenting varied and flexible experiences to the individual learner and takes care of learners’ indifference. It also makes use of guided discovery and inquiry method which ensure the application of effective teaching methods to the learner. It therefore implies that the provision of these ICT-driven Instructional facilities on their own cannot make any impact on the students’ academic performance until they are effectively utilized in the teaching and learning process. Okafor (2009), states that in applying the CAI mode of instruction, the computer is fed in sequential manner with what to teach, the steps to be followed, how to evaluate success, how and when other classroom activities are to be carried out. The National Policy on Education states that education is an instrument for effecting national development (FRN, 2004). It makes the incorporation of ICT into teaching-learning process a vital instructional tool in fostering the national educational goals and development. To buttress this, Galenouh, Gordlier and Murphy (2004), opined that, the development and role of ICT in educational sector is believed to set the pace for any form of innovation and changes that can ever happen to any nation. It was asserted by Albirini (2006) that, the winds of change in today’s education sector have made information communication technology to be programmed towards meeting the set educational goals.
There are challenges and concerns as a result of knowledge explosion due to the introduction of ICT in almost every field of human endeavour, which calls for an awakening in teaching profession likewise. Teachers need to be conscious of the quality of their teaching which is determined by the quality of teaching aids employed such as charts, model-static, specimen and slides (Sansanwal, 2009). As an information handling tool, ICT can be used in producing, storing, processing, distributing and exchanging of information. It therefore, implies that ICT could help teachers to be more effective in work-life and resourceful in content management. Hence, these will make teaching tasks to become less cumbersome and productive thereby improving students’ academic performance. Basically, the utilization of ICT-Driven instructional aids through CAI is meant to serve as an orientation stimulus to support the teachers’ teaching strategies and not to replace them. A paradigm shift from the traditional “chalk and talk” form of teaching to the use of ICT through CAI could make teaching-learning process more real and practical, thereby resulting to better performances of students academically.
The stated objectives of biology in National Policy of Education could be achieved in students offering biology at the end of the three-year course through the use of Computer Assisted Instruction which has such advantages in teaching and learning process. However, this hinges strongly on the ability and capability, as well as the effectiveness of teachers to incorporate teaching strategies such as CAI, which uses ICT-Driven instructional aids in achieving the objectives of lesson at the classroom level.
Punie, Zinnbauer and Cabrera (2006), maintained that ICT has not revolutionized teaching methods but rather, the subject content. This implies that Computer Assisted mode of Instruction does not replace the teaching strategies but rather offer supportive devices to enhance content delivery. Reports presented by Chief Examiners WASSCE show that most students who sat for biology between the years 2007-2010 performed at average and below average level at best. According to the reports, factors such as inadequate knowledge of the subject matter, inability to draw and label good diagrams on the part of the students were mentioned. Furthermore, it was observed that the inability of teachers to cover the required syllabus before presenting the candidates for the examinations was amongst many other factors responsible for a declining performance of students. These, could be due to ineffective teaching strategies employed by the teachers and lack of proper understanding of subject content on the part of the students.
Jegede (2002), noted that society is too slow in its approach to take-up ICT usage despite its‟ enormous advantages. This in-turn could pose a threat to development of a nation like Nigeria, having education as the instrument “par excellence” for effecting national development. Therefore, if Nigeria will meet up with the global technological advancement through the use of ICT, then, education must be given utmost priority and teacher education must be its guiding principle since no nation can rise above the standard of her teachers (FRN, 2004). The Federal Ministry of Education (2010) has mandated the integration of ICT in education for speedy transformation of teaching, learning and administration of education as a positive step in the right direction. Therefore, it becomes pertinent that a study on the “Problems confronting the use of ICT tools in the teaching and learning of biology in selected secondary schools in Ikere Local Government Area, Ekiti State” be conducted to ascertain its impact on the learners.
Statement of the Problem
The pattern of teaching and learning process today is expected to shift from the conventional method to a more dynamic and flexible one, which is learner-centred (Ezekoka and Okoli, 2012). This learner-centered approach makes students to influence the content, activities, materials and pace of learning, which places them in the centre of the learning process and enhances independent learning (Collins and O’Brien, 2003). However, despite the glaring relevance of ICT in education, coupled with the huge capital investment of both Federal and State governments through ICT driven project known as “school net” Adomi, (2006) and Okebukola (2004) and donations from Non-Governmental Organizations to Secondary schools in Nigeria, some teachers are still reluctant, ineffective and unproductive in using ICT facilities to improve students’ academic performance, especially in Biology. Beetheng and Sim (2008) asserted that, there is still a long way to go before secondary school teachers in developing countries like Nigeria will be able to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the 21st century technology and this was substantiated by Adomi (2010) who reported that 75 percent of teachers in Nigerian secondary schools have little or no experience regarding ICT in education.
One of the objectives of teaching Biology is to produce graduates that possess knowledge in basic Biology concepts that can make them function in their own country. It is also to bring about national development and to be able to use ICT knowledge to solve Biology problems in other countries. However, the WASSCE candidates’ performance in Biology as reported by the chief examiners revealed that these objectives are not yet achieved due to inadequate knowledge of the subject matter, inability of the candidates to draw and label diagrams, and solve simple calculations in mathematical aspects of Biology, resulting to a declining academic performance. These problems as perceived could be as a result of the teaching strategies adopted on the part of the teachers. Employing the use of ICT
The information technological age offers ICT instructional strategies such as CAI designed to make teaching and learning faster, easier, immediate, effective, efficient, individualize and takes care of learners’ individual differences regardless of their gender and location. These identified problems therefore, have informed the need to conduct a study on the problems confronting the use of ICT tools in the teaching and learning of biology in selected secondary schools in Ikere Local Government Area, Ekiti State.