UTILIZATION OF COMPUTER FOR INSTRUCTION IN ELECTRONICS TECHNOLOGY IN ADEKUNLE AJASIN UNIVERSITY AKUNGBA AKOKO ONDO STATE
Background of the Study
Information and communications technology has become highly important in everyday affair among policy makers, economists, academics, general public and private organizations. Seminars, conferences and workshops are being organized every year across the world on the relevance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) which emphasizes its importance for the society as well as individual development. Curtin (2002) opined that information and communication technology is a set of tools and application that are facilitated by electronic means to capture, store, process, transmit and display information. According to Ogechukwu and Osuagwu (2010), information and communication technology is the processing and maintenance of information and the use of all forms of computer communication network and mobile technologies to mediate information. Information and communication technology is an umbrella term that includes any communication devices or application, encompassing; radio, television, cellular, phones, computer and other network hardware and software, satellite system and among others, as well as the various services and application associated with them, such as video conferencing and distance learning.
Information and communication technology is utilized in various context such as education, health care, agriculture, library among others. One of the ways by which ICT is utilized in education is through computer assisted instruction. Computer assisted instruction is the utilization of computer for instructional planning, delivery and evaluation (Aginam, 2006). The usefulness of ICT depends on the locality, culture and the particular ICT that is available and how it is configured and managed.
The use of computer for instruction is self-learning technique, usually offline or online, involving interaction of the student with programmed instructional materials. Wikimedia (2008) expressed that computer for instruction is an interactive instructional technique whereby a computer is used to present the instructional materials and monitor the learning that takes place. Computer assisted instruction uses a combination of text, graphics, sound and video in enhancing the learning process. It uses tutorials, drill and practice, simulations, and problem solving approaches to present topics and to test students understanding. The advantage of computer assisted instruction to both teachers and students include its flexibility in the use of multiple choice question as well as the provision of immediate feedback, summary of students’ performance, exercise for practice and worksheet and text (Ajayi, 2005).
Computer assisted instruction as viewed by Ayo (2001) is the use of computer system and telecommunication equipment in information processing during classroom instruction. In the education context, it refers to various resources and tools (software) presented through computer. Some examples of ICT tools, according to Akuegwu (2011) include desktop, laptops, video machines, multimedia projectors or power point, digital cameras, internet facilities, computer networks, telephone, e-library, television programmers’ and data base among others. Today, ICT in education encompasses a great range of rapidly evolving technologies such as desktop, notebook, and local area networking, the internet, and the world wide web, CD-Roms and DVD, and applications such as word processors, spreadsheets, tutorial, simulations, electronic email, videoconferencing and virtual reality (UNESCO, 1999).
Research has indicated that the use of computers can support new instructional approaches and make hard-to-implement instructional methods such as simulation or cooperative learning more feasible (Roblyer, Edwards and Havriluk, 2004). Moreover, educators commonly agree that the use of computer has the potential to improve student learning outcomes and effectiveness if it is used properly (Wang, 2001). The use of computer, the internet and related technologies, given adequate teacher training and support, can indeed facilitate the transformation of the learning environment into a learner-centered one. The primary factor that influences the effectiveness of learning is not the availability of technology but pedagogical design for effective use of computer (Mandell, Sorge, Russel, 2002).
Nigeria, as a nation has recognized the pivotal roles of ICTs in the revitalization and the development of the country’s education system. This recognition brought about the development of specific ICT related policies so that the country’s education system could harness the potentials of ICT for instruction in Nigerian schools. The first holistic attempt at introducing ICT in all facets of the country’s life was the approval by the Federal Government of Nigeria of National Policy on ICT in 2001. The Nigerian National Policy for Information Technology (2001) recognized the need for ICT utilization in education. The three major objectives of using ICT in educational delivery among others include to empower the youths with ICT skills to prepare them for competitiveness in a global environment, integrate ICT into the mainstream of education and training, and the establishment of multifacet ICT institutions as centers of excellence. The document specifically emphasized the restructuring of the education system at all levels to respond effectively to the challenges and imagined impact of the information age, and in particular, the allocation of a special development fund for education at all levels of education system (Yusuf and Yusuf, 2009). In recognition of the significance of ICT in education system, several governmental and non-governmental organizations, banks and individuals have funded the implementation of ICT in Nigeria educational institutions at all levels. Some of these organizations include the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Education Trust Funds (ETF) which operate in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education (Ogechukwu and Osuagwu 2010). Therefore, effective utilization of computer should focus on pedagogy by justifying how the technology is used in instructional process.
Instruction methods are set of techniques and procedures used by the teacher for instructional delivery to change students’ behavior. Instruction involves the active participation of the learner in the learning processes which involves manipulating of objects, performing of experiments, asking for clarification of facts, raising of arguments and giving suggestions. Airasan (2010) explained that the instructional process involves planning, delivery and assessment. The planning of instruction involves identifying the specifications or expected learning outcomes, selecting materials to foster these expectations and organizing learning experiences into a coherent, reinforcing sequence. Allington and Johnson (2000) indicated that instructional planning is a process of the teacher using appropriate curricular, instructional strategies and resources to address the diverse needs of the students. ICT can assist in the organization and the structure of the course and course materials thereby promoting rethinking and revision of curricular and instructional strategies. Grimu (2002) stated that information communication technology has the potential for enhancing the tools and environment for learning as it allows instruction to be delivered in multiple media, motivates inquiry and exploration, and provides access to world wide information resources among others.
Instructional delivery according to Barnstein (2006) is a process of logically presenting instruction in line with the subject theme to the students. The author noted further that instructional delivery methods are designed to be as interactive as possible, emphasizing small group work using relevant and practical case studies. An important part of any teaching experience is the quality of the relationship between learners and teachers. When appropriate instructional delivery system is adopted for imparting relevant skills, knowledge and attitudes to the learners, efforts must be made by the teachers to adopt the use of the most relevant instructional delivery system (UNESCO, 1999).
Furthermore, the application of computers in education enhances the instructional delivery and access to knowledge and also improves learning and academic achievements. The use of computers encourages critical thinking and offers unlimited means of achieving educational goals. Yusuf (2005) concluded that ICT tools transform instructional delivery (teaching) and helps the teacher to be more efficient and effective, thereby increasing their interest in teaching. Computer as an ICT has impacted on the quality and quantity of teaching and learning through its dynamic, interactive and engaging processes as it provides accurate and satisfactory evaluation of students.
Evaluation is the process engaged in by teacher to determine the extent of students’ achievement. Lewy (1973) defined evaluation as a process that sets out to judge the merits and deficiencies of a particular educational program produced and administered within a particular context. Evaluation is known to serve a critical role in the curriculum, teaching and learning. It is important because it is the most reliable tool for continuous improvement in training system quality. It is also an integral part of each activity of the instructional development process including e-learning in its various forms. Becta (2003) stated that ICT gives rapid and accurate feedback to both students and teachers, and this contribute towards motivation. It also allows teachers to focus on strategies and interpretations of answers rather than spending more time on tedious computational calculations. Apart from the significance of computer and other ICT facilities in instructional delivery, the roles played by ICT in national development cannot be underestimated. The utilization of ICT tools as regards to this study is referred to utilization of computer for instructional planning, presentation and evaluation of teaching and learning outcome in electronic technology.
Electronic technology according to Collegeboard (2008) is the application of scientific knowledge in the design, selection of materials, construction, operation and maintenance of electronic equipment. According to Onifade (2005) electronic technology is designed to produce electronics personnel for power generation, transmission, distribution and utilization. The knowledge, attitude and repairing skills in electronic technology are always taught to students by the lecturers in Colleges of education with the aid of relevant instructional materials such as textbooks, tools, equipment and machines. The teaching and learning of electronic technology can be made effective through the application of computer as ICT tool.
Agyeman (2007) stated that acquisition of basic ICTs skills and capabilities have been made mandatory as part of the national minimum standard for teacher education at the Nigeria Certificate of Education level. This is as a result of government efforts to empower the teachers with ICT skills and to prepare them for global competitiveness; to integrate ICT, skills into the mainstream of education and training and most significantly the need for teachers to be versatile in the use of ICT in the contemporary knowledge. The educational reforms act of 2007, Federal Ministry of Education (FME, 2007) clearly highlighted the need to improve the quality of instruction in Nigeria schools to provide enriched learning environment; to provide more access to education, and provide the students with knowledge and skills necessary for the 21st century work place, among others, as the motivating factor for educational reforms. It must be emphasized that information and communication technologies will assist in ensuring the achievement of these goals of the educational reforms.
Adebayo (2011) maintained that although these ICT tools are available, lecturers in Kwara State Colleges of Education still make use of conventional resources in their instructional planning, content presentation is through chalk and blackboard and administering of question papers. The marking, grading and submission of examination results are still done in the old form instead of taking the advantages offered by modern technology. As a result of this, the completion of course work is difficult, presentation of content appears boring to the students and also lead to lateness in the submission of student continuous assessment, examination result and final result. On the part of government, this leads to waste of financial resources and unachieved educational objectives. It is in this light that teachers who are still the key to learning should develop and utilize the necessary pedagogical competencies for instructional delivery through ICT resources. Jones (2003) opined that effective learning is dependent on the will and competencies of the teacher. This implies that teachers irrespective of their status (senior and junior) must endeavour to use ICT at all levels of education including college of education because it is expected to produce students who can manipulate ICT resources effectively and impact knowledge with the proper application of ICT tools in the class. The utilization of ICT tools with reference to computer for instruction in electronics technology to year two students in Kwara state Colleges of Education is relatively low. This has resulted into weak interest of the students in learning electronic technology as a course. In addition, the teachers a times become bored when instructions are still delivered with chalk, maker and boards