Availability and utilization of learning resources in teaching basic science and technology among primary schools
Background of the Study
Instructional materials are basically defined as materials which assist teachers to make their lessons explicit and understandable to the learners. They are also used to transmit information and ideas to learners. Instructional materials include both visuals and audiovisuals such as pictures, flashcards, posters, charts, tape recorders, radio, video, television, computers among others. These materials serve as a supplement to the normal processes of instruction. The use of instructional materials is very paramount hence we live in a world of science and technology, an era of computer age where students have unlimited access to knowledge. The field of education has been affected by the current development in the field of technology. It has been noticed that instructional materials are not adequately available in most schools and are under-utilized in schools where they are available. This has led to the introduction of automation into education and has also helped the learner to adjust to the rapid changes in his or her environment as created by technology. Quality of instructional material is enhanced if the material is designed to take into account learners individual learning styles (Diamond & Horn, 2012).
Instructional material is a ray of “computer-driven interactive communication system”, which create, store, transmit and retrieve, textual, graphic and auditory network of information. Instructional materials simply mean numerous or multiple medium. The term medium implies the existence of a channel through which messages or information pass through. Instructional materials, therefore, refer to multiple channels through which we can send, receive, present, store or perceive messages or information.
Instructional materials elements have paramount effects on students’ achievement in Basic Science because it helps to arouse their interest. With the help of instructional materials, students can present different phenomena and processes vividly, simulate complex content, and present different levels of abstraction in Basic Science
This helps in meaningful and authentic learning. Instructional materials are useful especially when students have low motivation prior knowledge as it stimulates them into readiness to learn effectively.
Instructional materials technology adds a new dimension to learning experiences because concepts were easier to present and comprehend when the words are complemented with images and animation. Learners retain more when a variety of senses are engaged in imparting knowledge, and intensity of the experience aids retention and recall by engraining the social, emotional and intellectual senses.
Instructional materials are characterized by the presence of text, pictures, sound, animation, and video; some or all of which are organized into a coherent program which is geared towards making learning faster and better. Data communication is possible through multiple channels and if the information is presented through more than one channel, it will improve learning. Instructional materials are multi-sensory that stimulate multiple senses of the audience at a time. Its interactive nature enables teachers to control the content and flow of information. Instructional materials increase students’ interest level, enhances their understanding, and increases their memorizing ability. There are different learning styles for different students and instructional materials provide a variety of learning styles at the same time to cater to the requirement of different students and address individual differences. Instructional materials motivate learners to take an active role in the teaching and learning process. Instructional materials also refer to those materials that are used to create a long-lasting effect to improve students learning outcomes (Chingos, 2012). Instructional materials is an umbrella term used for sound, text, images, video, animation and interactive content that can be created and accessed from portable electronic devices such as a computer, mp3 players and cell phones. By using instructional materials in the classroom, instructors can invoke the visual style of learning when presenting the information.
As technology advances, it is used to benefit students of all ages in the learning process. The technology used in the Basic Science classroom helps students absorb the material, for example since some people are visual learners, projection screens linked to computers can allow students to see their notes instead of simply listening to a teacher deliver a lecture. The software can be used to supplement the class curriculum. Technology has also become part of many curriculums, even outside of computer and technology classes. Students use computer to create presentation and use the internet to research topics for papers and essays. As technology advances, students have better access to educational opportunities like the use of computer and software packages to aid learning.
Instructional materials enable us to provide a way by which learners can experience their subject in a vicarious manner. The key to providing this experience is having simultaneous graphic, video, and audio rather than in a sequential manner. The pedagogical strength of instructional materials is that it uses the natural information processing abilities that we already possess as humans. Our eyes and ears in conjunction with our brain form a formidable system for transforming meaningless sense data into information. Instructional materials require good quality computer system where sound, images, animation, and video especially constitute a large amount of data.
With the advent of the internet and the multiple formats that can be communicated over the World Wide Web, we now have several new and existing ways to present information. The web allows the incorporation of animation moving pictures and sound into lessons, which extends our abilities to present materials that encourage student’s interaction with the subject matter. Instructional materials technology offers students not only rich sources of authentic learning materials but also an attractive and friendly interface, vivid picture and pleasant 19 sounds which to a large extent overcomes the lack of authentic learning environment and arouses students’ interest in learning Basic Science.