INVESTIGATE THE PERCEPTIONS AND ATTITUDES OF TEACHERS TOWARDS MOBILE LEARNING IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The Educational Policy implementation in Nigeria suffers an endemic crisis in its teaching and teacher development systems. This crisis manifests as a shortage in the number of qualified teachers and a dearth of motivated teachers who can deliver quality teaching and learning within a twenty-first-century educational context. It is widely believed that addressing this challenge requires a range of interventions, including the integration and use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Open and Distance Learning (ODL) opportunities (Olakitan, 2005). More recently, the rapid growth of mobile phone subscriptions in the region has sparked interest in how mobile phones in particular might enhance Learning opportunities for the professional development of teachers, and support teachers in their pedagogical practices and administrative duties. The purpose of this research is to provide an illustrative overview of emerging mobile learning programmes that seek to improve or expand access to teacher development and support the changing roles of teachers and students in Nigeria Educational system. For example, how Short Message Service (SMS) technology facilitates communication from student to teachers in remote areas; how mobile phones can serve as a curriculum delivery platform from teacher to students; how education management and Information systems can be supported by mobile phones; and how mobile phones have enabled peer support, teacher training and Continuing Teacher Professional Development (CTPD). The review reflects not only a variety of uses for mobile phones but also a wide range of technology solutions, from low-end communication services in remote areas to more complex and integrated high-end learning management solutions.
The world is moving at an unimaginable speed in the area of information use and dissemination. According to Olaniyi (2006), the use of Information Technology, knowledge and information can be transferred and cross fertilized in real time. Hence, the need to pay attention to the way information technology has changed the educational sector through the internet. E-teaching and E-learning which can be achieve with the use of mobile internet platform has been described as one of the educational challenges of the modern age about which progressive academic institutions must make bold efforts to excel and compete favourably in the global market where education is a commodity. By definition, mobile learning (m-learning) is learning through wireless technological devices that can be pocketed and utilized wherever the learner’s device can receive unbroken transmission signals (Attewell and Savill-Smith, 2005). Above all, with the ubiquitous quality it offers, m-learning helps people to get instant learning just by the tips of their fingers. Even though m-learning offers exciting new frontiers in education and pedagogy (Shih and Mills, 2007), the implementation of m-learning at Nigeria Secondary school level is still considerably low. One possible reason is that, students in Nigeria Secondary schools are still prohibited from bringing mobile phones to school. Moreover, the real process of integrating m-learning into education system is indeed a complexity. Like ICT, m-learning implementation has to consider various educational aspects, such as curriculum and pedagogy, institutional readiness, teacher competencies and long-term financing (Tinio, 2003). To handle with such drastic changes in education, not only students are expecting for supports of the new learning methodologies, teachers also need to be equipped with the acquired literacy and skills on the new educational technology. Africa have witness the development of ICTs (branch of Computer Science) in various sectors over the last decade including education. The change from teacher-centred education system to learner centred education the world over in the past view years contributes to the use of mobile learning in education. Borrowing from the word “Knowledge –Driven world” as conceived by (Hawkins, 2004; Inwent, 2004), it means that education reform practices should focus on equal access and quality of education which should highlight the importance of change in the education sector through use of mobile learning and equipping new generations with enhanced skills to operate in the 21st century.
Wikipedia (2010) observes that mobile learning currently serves not only as a primary source of language education for students but also supports the retention and utilization of newly acquired language skills. And that through mobile participation in short exercises and tasks, learners are able to keep their linguistic talents sharp while reducing the risk of degradation of value, skills, and ability. Attewell (2005) writes that mobile learning is unique, in that, it does not only allow anywhere, anytime and personalized learning but also enliven the learners by adding variety in conventional lessons or courses. Also that mobile learning helps to remove some of the formality from the learning experience and engages reluctant students. Kukulska-Hulme (2006) opines that m-learning helps to deliver closer integration of language learning with everyday communication needs and cultural experiences. It empowers learners to give them a greater say in their learning experience with a view to increase their motivation.
The use of ICTs in Nigeria and African countries generally is increasing and dramatically growing. However, while there is a great deal of knowledge about how Computer gadgets are being used in developed countries, there is not much information on how Computer are being introduced into schools in developing countries (Beukes-Amiss and Chiware, 2006). Looking at the developing countries according to these authors, there is generally limited access time per month using ICTs and Computer gadgets by both the teachers and students, and even less time spent with reliable Internet access. It should be noted that availability of ICTs vis-à-vis access in term of ratio of teachers and students differs significantly. For instance, Balanskat. (2007) identified the factors that influence the decision to adopt an innovation in schools as teacher-level, school-level and system-level. According to Sherry and Gibson (2002), technological, individual, organizational, and institutional factors should also be considered when examining ICT adoption and integration.
M-learning is convenient, in that, it is accessible anytime, anywhere and like other forms of
E-learning, it is collaborative and instant feedback and tips can be received by the learners. It is also engaging and fun. It brings new technology into the classroom and uses different types of activities. In other words, it uses a blended learning approach. It can also be a useful add-on tool for students with special needs, for instance, the deaf. Attewell (2005) reiterates that M-learning is not just about learning using portable devices, but learning across contexts. In mobile learning, education is delivered by means which enable the students to communicate free of classroom pressure and to help teachers in remote locations or working across a range of schools. It is learning that reflects a focus on how society and its institutions can accommodate and support an increasingly mobile population (Network Tutorials, 2007).
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Due to the fact that computer education has failed to take off in the majority of schools, fears are that technological development may be a pipe dream for the country. Given this scenario, it is necessary for this study to look into the perceptions and attitudes of students and teachers towards mobile learning in Nigeria Senior Secondary Schools
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