THE ROLE OF COMPUTERS IN EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (A CASE STUDY OF JOS NORTH L.G.A IN PLATEAU STATE)
1.1 Background to the Study
The educational sector in Nigeria over the past two decades has experienced a considerable shift in the way the computers have been used as a tool for teaching and learning. We can infer from this that the trend appears to be towards the spread of computer literacy in our society as well as towards integrating computer technology in other content areas across the curriculum. This significant experience has created a fresh perspective in the use of computers in teaching and learning for educational development in our society. The rapid growth and development in information and technology communication innovations and computer usage is steadily transforming work culture and teachers cannot escape the fact that today’s teaching must provide technology-supported learning for better comprehension of the students. Researchers have suggested that computer technology can overwrite education which will then serve as a solution or as a change agent to our educational challenges in the coutry. Gordin etal (2000) and Wellington, (2005) posited that computers have the potential to enhance teaching and learning and provide students with a learning experience in which other strategies cannot provide. Therefore, adopting the use of technology and knowing how it will support student learning must become integral skills in every teacher’s professional repertoire.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) implemented Beijing workshop (2003) on Teacher Training in ICT Integration discussed guidelines for developing Competency Based Standards for Teacher Education Curriculum which comprised of core competencies related to pedagogy (new ways of doing things with Information and Communications Technology (ICT), new theories of learning, pedagogical skills: selection, presentation and assessment); technology (related concepts and operations, social, health, legal and ethical issues); and technology-pedagogy integration (ethical and legal use of technology to design effective learning experiences, manage students’ learning, improve professional skills, support interaction in learning/social communities). Nigerian Educational Board can as well tap into this great idea for better development of ou educational sector. Recognizing the challenge of the “information age”, the Indian National Curriculum Framework for School Education, NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) through Curriculum Guide Syllabus for Information Technology in Schools, 2001 addresses at length the question of integration of ICT into schooling, acknowledges the pedagogical rationale behind this integration and brings to the fore its manifold implications.
Recommendations by different researchers, Non-government Organizations, policies formulators, have called for more integration of computer into educational sector for better development of the sector. However, it has been observed that computers are not being used effectively by the teachers (other than computer teachers) teaching various subjects like science, maths, languages, commerce, social-sciences, etc. The literature suggests that: (1) Only a few teachers routinely use computers for instructional purposes in different subjects like science, maths, languages, commerce, social-sciences, etc.; (2) When computers are used, they are generally used for low-level tasks such as presentations, drill, and word processing, by the elementary, secondary and senior-secondary grade students; (3) Computers are not sufficiently integrated across the curriculum. Computers are not being used sufficiently and properly by the school teachers (other than computer teachers) (Becker, 1994; Blankenship, 1998; Dawson, 2008; Drury, 1995; Ely, 1995; Lehtinen & Sinko, 1999; Mooij & Smeets, 1999; Omur, 2008; Stratford, 1997; Wallace, 2001).
In many developing countries like Nigeria where computer is recently introduced in the educational system, researches have mainly focused on the first two stages, that is, on knowledge of an innovation and attitudes about it. The use of computers in education for development in Nigerian schools has not been guided by research. This has always been the case in most countries in the world. In Rogers (1995), the “initiation stage”, demands information gathering and planning seems to be missing in this headlong process of technology implementation. In particular, both the researches and the computer technology implementation plans seem to be lacking consideration of the manner and variation in computer use by teachers in teaching-learning process.
With apparent interest and initiative, do teachers continue to engage in meaningful interaction with the computers? Such questions if are not answered may have unforeseen repercussions for computer integration in schools which can eventually hinder development. As a result, fostering technology usage among individual teachers remains a critical challenge for school administrators, technology advocates and polic makers. Thus, it is essential to study the role of computer in educational development by using of Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State as a case study.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The act of integrating the use of computer into teaching and learning in school is a very complex process and we may be poised with a lot of challenges in the process. Various methods have been used by researchers and educators to categorise the challenges faced in the use of computer in educational institutions and several studies have divided the challenges into extrinsic and intrinsic categories. Ertmer (1999) referred to extrinsic problems as first-order and cited access, time, support, resources and training and intrinsic problems as second-order and cited attitude, beliefs, practices and resistance. Whereas, extrinsic problems is cited to institutions rather than individuals and intrinsic problems pertains to teachers, administrators and individuals. Another perspective presents the obstacles in the use of computer in educational institutions as pertaining to material and non-material conditions. The material conditions may be the insufficient number of computers and copies of software. The non-material challenge is teachers’ inadequate computer knowledge and skills which brings about difficulty in integrating the use of computer in instruction, and insufficient teachers’ time.
1.3 Research Objectives
The objective of this study is to examine the role of computer in educational development by using of Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State as a case study. The specific objectives are:
i) To examine the prevalence role of computer in educational development in Jos North Local Government Area
ii) To study the role of teachers in using computer for instruction to enhance better academic performance of students
iii) To identify the different ways of using computer for learning process
iv) To find out the challenges of using computer for teaching and learning to enhance educational development
1.4 Research Questions
The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:
i) What is the prevalence role of computer in educational development in Jos North Local Government Area?
ii) What are the roles of teachers in using computer for instruction to enhance better academic performance of students?
iii) What are the different ways of using computer for learning process?
iv) What are the challenges of using computer for teaching and learning to enhance educational development?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The followings are the research hypotheses to be tested in this study:
i) There is no significant relationship between the use of computer and the academic performance of students.
ii) There is no significant correlation between the use of computer in teaching and teachers’ effective teaching of students.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study is significant in a way that it helps to determine the problems that secondary schools teachers and students in Nigeria encounter in the teaching and learning of Computer Applications Technology (CAT) and Information Technology (IT). The study is significant, as understanding the problems will lead to appropriate steps that can be taken to improve the management of the current situation in the educational sector and to ensure that the National Curriculum can be implemented more effectively. It wil also serve as a foundation in which other research ofthis kind can be conducted.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study investigates the role of computer in educational development by using of Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State as a case study. Therefore, ten secondary schools in the study area shall be selected to carryout this work.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
The Major Limitations of the study are:
Cost Limitation: There was a cost limitation. This means that we could not offer any gift or monetary incentives for the respondents to answer the questionnaire. This might have resulted in certain prospective respondents choosing not to respond to the questionnaire. This might not have created a motivation among respondents not to take a chance to give opinions. Time Limitation: There are two types of time limitation faced during the study. The study was done for a period of four weeks. Hence the results would reflect the impact of the time constraint. The insights of the respondents were observed during the period of study. A more extensive study conducted over a larger time period or during a special period of time like when there were higher numbers of issues, can include insights from respondents over a broader time period and can bring in further depth into the research.
1.9 Definition of Terms
For a proper understanding of this work, key terms used are defined based on their conceptual relevance to this study
Computer: an electronic device that is designed to work with Information. The term computer is derived from the Latin term ‘computare’, this means to calculate or programmable machine. Computer can not do anything without a Program. It represents the decimal numbers through a string of binary digits. The Word 'Computer' usually refers to the Center Processor Unit plus Internal memory.
Development: the process in which someone or something grows or changes and becomes more advanced
Education: the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, and directed research.