INFLUENCE OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS ON OFFICE EDUCATION PROGRAMME IN THE FEDERAL COLLEGES OF EDUCATION IN NORTH-CENTRAL ZONE OF NIGERIA
1.1 Background to the Study
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) plays a critical role in a society‟s educational systems. In these societies, the stakeholders in education policy, redesign and reconstruct their education systems based on the new educational paradigms such as constructivist theory, so that both teachers and students develop the necessary knowledge and skills sought in this digital age. Hence, most countries around the world are focusing on approaches to integrate ICT in teaching and learning to improve the quality of education by emphasizing competencies such as critical thinking, decision-making, handling of dynamic situations, working as a member of a team, communicating effectively (Anderson & Weert, 2002). Also governments especially in developing countries have tried to improve their national programs to integrate ICT into education.
ICT has been variously defined. It can be broadly defined as “technologies that facilitate the acquisition, storage, processing, transmission, and disseminating of information in all forms of application areas including voice, text, data, graphics and video” (Bulent, Pinar, Bahar, & Tarik, 2009). This definition mainly focuses on the importance of the intersection of information technology, information content and telecommunications in enabling new forms of knowledge production and interactivity. ICT allows many people to generate and disseminate information, thus playing an active role in the process of interaction among professionals, learners, policy makers, peers and among others. In the definition of the ICT in education, four main elements can be taken into consideration; ICT as an object that refers to learning about ICT, an assisting tool, a medium for teaching and learning and finally a tool for organisation and management in schools (Bulent et‟al, 2009).
The integration of ICT into education has been assumed as the potential of the new technological tools to revolutionize an outmoded educational system (Albrini, 2006). In the last 20 years, initiatives, projects and implications related to use of ICT into education motivate teachers to gain necessary knowledge and skills in using ICT in their instruction.
ICT has very strong influence in education as it provides enormous tools for enhancing teaching and learning. There have been many studies that have highlighted the various ways that ICT may support teaching and learning processes in a range of disciplinary fields such as the construction of new opportunities for interaction between students and knowledge; accessing information and so on. ICT can have a useful influence on teaching and learning if it is used under right conditions including suitable sources, training and support. ICT also offers the potential to meet the learning needs of individual students, to promote equal opportunity, to offer learning material, and also promote interdependence of learning among learners (Bulent, et‟al 2009).
The advent of ICT applications and their adoption in human endeavour has necessitated a change of procedures and methods. In particular, the educational sector has had to change its methods of delivery from traditional (face-face) to use of alternative delivery methods. Increase in complexity and worldwide interaction of business, industry, education and government numerous technologies and the changes they have brought have affected the way things are done in office. These technologies include facsimile machines, interactive technologies, Internet, electronic mail, voice mail, teleconferencing and other new information systems. These unique innovations in office technology have almost completely altered the nature, environment, content, tasks and competencies in Office Technology and Management all over the world.
College of Education is one of the most reliable teacher training institutions set up by the federal government under the Federal Ministry of Education; supervise by National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) which is saddled with the responsibility of training and producing Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) Teachers and Business Education is one of the numerous departments saddled with
Office Technology and Management is viewed as training in business
practices and in specific skills such as information processing, keyboarding/ word processing, recordkeeping, and shorthand. It can also be seen as training for administrative support personnel in business and industry and for business teacher preparation. In office technology and management for example, there are now such terms as word processing, data processing, reprographics, micrographics that are used to describe many technological processes that have evolved from traditional office occupations.
The subjects in office education as noted by Igbinoba, (2008) are shorthand, typewriting, office practice, record-keeping, word processing, secretarial duties, business methods, office practice, business law, computer appreciation/ application, and consumer education. These Programmes provide the necessary skills and knowledge needed for employment in the area of business in the office. Each of these areas has experienced one type of innovation or the other with the advent of ICT. These innovations are all aimed at preparing and equipping the individuals with present realities of life in the workforce.
The advent of ICT has brought about a faster and more efficient ways and means of handling office procedures and decision making processes based on accurate information, hence, most business organizations and even governmental agencies are now adopting office automation – which is also referred to as e-office in their routine operations (Aliyu & Adesina, 2012). Office technology and management is an important aspect of business education which has been affected by the present technology, the application of ICT in effective teaching and learning of Office technology and management is therefore inevitable.
From the foregoing, it becomes pertinent for OTM students to be equipped with relevant skills provided by the advent of modern Information ICT applications/skills so as to attain the aim of providing trained manpower for the modern day world of work including the education sector. The study therefore delved into the Influence of Information and Communication Technology Applications on
Office Education Programme in the Federal Colleges of Education in North-Central
Zone of Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Based on observation and interaction with some Business Educators and Students of OTM around the area of study, the researcher has much concern as to whether the introduction of ICT applications in teaching and learning of Office Technology and Management has any influence, this is because it appears some of the students and lecturers are ill-prepared as they are not aware of some of the emerging technologies in ICT applications not to talk of knowing how to operate the ICT applications such as the computer (common word processing package), digital photocopiers, accessing the internet, operating multi-media projector, using facsimile, preparing slide presentation, video conference, handling star-board, e-presence, using mobile phones to perform certain operations (organiser, mobile banking) etc. meaning they are only aware of these facilities in theory not in practice. Observation also reveals that the teaching of office practice has not been enhanced to reflect the technological advancement taking place in the present day office since most Office
Technology and Management students display some level of ignorance about modern ICT applications. Some of the lecturers in these Colleges seem naive about the operation of some of the ICT facilities. It should be noted here that teachers‟ expertise in ICT application is an important factor in its successful use in lessons “the ways that teachers have their students use computers are certainly affected by their own level of technical expertise” (UNESCO, 2009).
A careful look at the NCCE minimum standard (curriculum) reveals that it was reviewed in 2012, but the content and provision for the award of NCE in business education generally, and Office technology and management is still the same without any notable change. The researcher doubt if the teachings of courses like business communication, Office Technology and Management, word processing are
collaborated with ICT applications. The situation causes the researcher to ask whether the three computer based courses: Computer Appreciation (BED 218) and Introduction to ICT/Computer Applications (BEA/S 328) and Word processing (BES 322) have been properly integrated with ICT.
Based on the above observation, the researcher wonders if the introduction of ICT in teaching and learning of Office Technology and Management has any positive influence on the students‟ levels of computer-based competence. In other words, the researcher is worried about the level of Office Technology and Management students‟
ICT competence in the Federal Colleges of Education in North-Central Zone of Nigeria which necessitated the quest on the topic “Influence of Information and
Communication Technology Applications on Office Education Programme in the
Federal Colleges of Education in North-Central Zone of Nigeria”.
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