ISSUES AND PROSPECT ASSOCIATED WITH THE APPLICATION OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY IN THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF ECONOMICS IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL.
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
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 (Cox, Preston and Cox, 1999a). 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 (p.3).
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. This informs the basis of investigating into the “Effects of the Use of Information and Communication Technology on Secondary School Students‟ Economics Performance in Kaduna State”.
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.
Economics as a social science subject was introduced into the Nigerian curriculum in the year 1967 and as at then, only ten (10) candidates registered and later sat for the senior secondary school final year examination (Odusanya, 2001, cited in Yusuf, 2012). Presently, because of the importance of Economics to all aspects of human endeavour, Nigeria has recorded a tremendous increase in the percentage of candidates who register and sit for Economics yearly at both West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and National Examination Council (NECO) levels (Odusanya, 2001, cited in Yusuf, 2012). The West African Examination Council syllabus (2004- 2008) states the objectives of teaching Economics as a subject in senior secondary schools as:
- understand the basic economics principles, concepts and tools for economic analysis;
- have knowledge of the structure and functions of economic institutions, commercial, industrial and financial;
- understand the basis for rational economic decisions;
- understand and be able to explain the basis and structure of the West African economy, including the roles of agriculture, industry and mining and their contributions to the national income;
- ability to follow the roles and status of the West African countries in international economic relationships; and
- appreciate the problems West African countries encounter in their economic development.
(adapted from WASSCE, 2004-2008 syllabus p.176)
The above stated objectives could be achieved in students offering Economics 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 revolutionised 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 economics between the years 2007-2010 performed at average and below average level at best (see appendix one). 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. However, world‟s leading economic education researchers (for example, Walstad and Soper, 1988; Anderson, 1992; Becker, 2000), have questioned the aims and effectiveness of teaching economics in recent years due to lack of content knowledge and skills among the graduates and more-so their inability to perform effectively in
workplaces have raised deep concerns among parents, teachers, business, communities, teacher educators, researchers, etc.
The benefits of ICT as an important tool in teaching and learning of wide range of topics in Economics such as; statistics, measures of central tendency and national income could enable them understand and learn the subject better. According to Walstad (2001), little attention has been given to the improvement of teaching and learning of economics in recent decades. He further stated that passive learning based on the traditional form of “chalk and talk” has widely characterized the 20th century style of teaching Economics in the Maldives in Asia. According to Jephcote (2004), the teaching of economics as a school subject as well as how it is being learnt has been very much under-researched in many parts of the world. In like manner, 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 “Issues and prospect associated with the application of information and communication technology in the teaching and learning of economics in senior secondary school.” be conducted to ascertain its impact on the learners