INTEGRATION OF ICT IN TEACHING AND LEARNING CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS STUDIES IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN IKWANO
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1.1 Background of the Study
ICT‟ role in learning is simplification of reality, often with exaggerated cause-effect linkages which can be very effective in a teaching context (Garson 1987). Reid & Rushton (1985) recognise that there is little room for scepticisms over the growing importance of ICT in education. Useful as teaching resources are, they cannot replace the teacher (Twoli et al. 2007); and the computer is one such resource. However, a lot depends on the availability and utilization of ICT in the classroom.
According to Shue (2009), ICT were introduced in American schools in 1965 and were mostly used for administrative purpose. Molnar (1997) explained that ICT were not widely accepted in American schools during the 1950s and 1960s because it was difficult and expensive to house the huge machines that they were during that period of time. However, Apple II ICT found widespread acceptance in education around the year 1983 (Murdock &Desburg
1994). David (1991) in her report presented at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association described a research and development collaboration among public schools, universities and research agencies that Apple – the Computer Company – initiated in 1985 and sustained through 1995 with outstanding results. It was named the Apple Classroom of Tomorrow (ACOT). Its goal was to examine how the routine use of technology especially the computer-related technologies by teachers and students would change teaching and learning.
Virtually, no modern public or private school could exist in the United States of America without a computer lab and computer instructions in the 90s (Murdock &Desburg 1994). The assumption that computer technology has become an essential part of the basic school curriculum was summed up in the report of the United States Department of Education (1996); the report referred to ICT in the classroom as “the „new basic‟ of American education,” and to the Internet as “the
blackboard of the future”. Murdock &Desberg (1994) says that in 1985, California Legislature passed a senate bill that established a technology component in the state‟s teaching credential requirements for California teachers. Emphasis was on computer based technology; thus an organization called the Association of State Technology Using Teacher Educators (ASTUTE) was formed and became an instrumental force in helping improve the way teachers were taught to use educational technology.
In Britain, ICT were used in many schools around the year 1984 (Hermes 2008). Candau, Hannafin, Doherty, Judge, Kuni and Yost (2003) wrote a manual in Britain with the goal of helping teachers learn how to use the computer technology to effectively create a learning environment that would provide opportunities for students to interact with content in a meaningful way. According to Candau et al (2003), preparing young people for the future goes beyond the issue of getting them ready to work; they also need new skills as computer technology continues to be woven into their daily lives.
A study done by Afshari, Bakar, Luan, Fool, &Samah, (2010) in Pakistan showed that the Ministry of Education in Iran invested a great deal of funds to facilitate the integration of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in schools. They observed that school leaders and teachers in Iran were key factors in ICT implementation in schools – because teachers make decisions on whether or not to integrate resources in schools. Lara & Whitter (1996) explain that using computer technology improves students‟ learning process. In Nigeria, Fakeye (2010) say that beginning and experienced teachers can benefit from the role that ICT play; beginning teachers can access a wealth of teaching resources while old teachers can share their knowledge with those who seek it. He also outlines the fact that the Nigerian federal government conducted a pilot project of integrating ICT in sixty secondary schools and colleges with reasonable success although access to computer resources was the biggest barrier in both rural and urban areas.
In Nigeria a study done by Wabuyele (2006) investigated teachers’ and administrators’ perceptions and experiences towards computer use in Nigeria classrooms. Results from his in-depth interviews, participant observations and document analysis revealed that both teachers and administrators view the use of ICT in Nigeria classrooms as worthwhile; computer-using teachers were enthusiastic and spoke positively about computer use, whereas non-computerusers felt left behind technologically. According to Wabuyele (2006), teachers reported feeling unprepared by teacher training colleges in the area of the use of ICT in the classrooms, and they expressed the need to provide both practising and pre-service teachers with professional development opportunities in teaching technology. He suggested that teachers’ and administrators’ perceptions and experiences play a significant role in the use of ICT in Nigeria classrooms and hence the need to provide pre-service and in-service training programs to enable them to successfully teach using ICT in the classrooms.
Ivers (2003) confirmed that beginning and experienced teachers can benefit from the role that ICT play in teaching and learning; beginning teachers can access a wealth of teaching resources and learning opportunities via the internet as well as collaborate online with other teachers. Experienced teachers have these same benefits, as well as the opportunity to share their expertise with others. Ivers (2003) further confirms the situation in Nigeria; that many veteran teachers have had to learn how to use ICT on their own.
In Nigeria, teachers are not required – as a matter of policy – to instruct using the computer and its related technologies. However, one of the flagship projects for education and training in Nigeria Vision 2030 is to establish a computer supply programme that will equip students with modern Information Technology (IT) skills (the government of the Republic of Nigeria 2007). The ministry of Information and Communication (2006) drew up an ICT policy document touching on different areas including education. In this policy, the government agrees that there is need to strengthen and streamline ICT training through promoting ICT in education at primary, secondary, tertiary and community levels. Many teachers agree that the use of computer technology enhances teaching and learning a conclusion well drawn by Wabuyele (2006) in his research.
While the use of Computer Based Instructions is prolific in most developed world schools, it is still a dilemma that poses great challenges to the majority of Nigeria teachers with regards to their perception and the roles they should play as they cope with this emergent technology. (Tanui, Kiboss, Wabala&Nassiuma 2008). According to Smerdon et al. (2000) advances in modern computer technology have changed the way we do many things including the way we learn, study and communicate. What goes on in the classroom today is impacted upon by the computer technology and will likely affect the skills that today‟s children learn in schools and the way they are taught to function in the world (Kashorda, Waema, Omosa, &Kyalo 2007).
ICT have been used at the university level in Nigeria to teach Christian Religious Studies related courses such as Commerce, Entrepreneurship, Banking and others. However, at the secondary school level it is not very clear whether Christian Religious Studies teachers use ICT where they are available to them. It is clear though that some teachers of Christian Religious Studies may be using ICT even if it is only for the preparation of examinations and or for social purposes. This research therefore endeavoured to establish whether ICT were available at the secondary school level and if so verify whether they were used by Christian Religious Studies teachers and their learners for teaching and learning purposes.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
ICT are useful in teaching and learning because they make the work of teachers easier; for exampleICT are used in demystifying complex concepts in different subjects. ICT help students learn better by enhancing their learning environment and increasing learning resources. Availability of ICT to Christian Religious Studies teachers is the first stage in the successful adoption of ICT in teaching the subject in secondary schools. This is because teachers can only be competent and interested users of ICT as teaching tools if they are available and easily accessible. Teachers will not adopt computer technologies into their instructional tasks if ICT are not available in the first place.
There are many challenges that hinder the process of using ICT in the classroom. However, when effectively used, ICT have a dramatic effect on teachers and learners as concluded by Reid & Rushton (1985). But, where ICT are not used effectively, they do not add value to teaching and learning.
The role played by ICT in the teaching of Christian Religious Studies in Nigeria secondary schools is not obvious. This study was done to establish the extent to which ICT were available to teachers and learners and whether they used them for teaching and learning Christian Religious Studiesin Oborosecondary schools. The evolution of ICT in the classrooms has been influenced by many factors. Candau et al. (2003) observes that teachers are the critical link in achieving effective computer technology integration in schools. Positive teacher attitude encourages the use of ICT while a negative one hinders their use in the teaching and learning environment. The researcher therefore sought to reveal whether it is worthwhile using ICT in teaching and learning of Christian Religious Studies where they are available and accessible to teachers and learners.
1.3 Research Objectives
The objectives of this research were to:
- Investigate the availability and accessibility of general-purposeICT to teachers and learners of Christian Religious Studies
- Ascertain the ways in which teachers and learners use ICT for teaching and learning purposes in Christian Religious Studies.
- Establish the attitude of teachers and learners towards the use of ICT in teaching and learning of Christian Religious Studies.
- Explore the main benefits of using ICT in teaching and learning of
Christian Religious Studies.
- Investigate the challenges that teachers and learners experience when using ICT for teaching and learning of Christian Religious Studies.
1.4 Research Questions
This research sought to answer the following research questions:
- How available and accessible are ICT to the teachers and learners of
Christian Religious Studies?
- For what purposes if any do Christian Religious Studies teachers and learners in
Oboro schools use ICT in their teaching and learning?
- What are the attitudes of Christian Religious Studies teachers and learners in relation to use of ICT in teaching the subject?
- What are the main benefits of using ICT in teaching and learning of
Christian Religious Studies?
- What challenges are experienced by teachers and learners of Business
Studies in their bid to use ICT for teaching and learning in Oboro secondary schools, Ikwuano?
1.5 Significance of the Study
As Carrington & Robinson (2010) put it; in both the developed and developing nations, an increasing number of children and young people walking through the school gates each morning are required to leave behind an entire suite of competencies, practices and knowledge about digital technologies. This research could be the genesis of freeing these children and young people in our classrooms by giving them the wings of technology through their teachers‟ positive attitudes towards the use of ICT in teaching and learning. Knowledge heresies are possible to eliminate if teachers can easily access computer technologies. Educational heresies have been carried over for too long according to Carrington & Robinson (2010). This situation is besides the fact that the same young people are later on in the job market expected to relate to computer applications as if they have done so all their lives – majority of the times without induction.
This research could be important to teacher educators because it can help them understand the dimensions that influence teachers‟ perceptions towards the use of ICT as a means for effective development of teacher training curriculum that would prepare teachers to face the challenges in the information age. Positive perceptions improve accessibility of computer technologies because the teacher educators and the teachers-to-be will seek to use ICT where they are available.
This study sought to help Christian Religious Studies teachers to realise the instructional possibilities afforded by computer technology. Urs (1989) noted that teachers can learn to value past teaching experiences while identifying and maintaining the exploration of the new technologies such as the computer. This study can therefore help Christian Religious Studies teachers in removing any bias they may have harboured in relation to computer technology. Once the bias is removed these teachers will be drawn to use the computer technology and explore its pedagogical possibilities.
Christian Religious Studies learners may end up enjoying a more learner centred instructional process due to the effects of studies such as this one. This is because such studies may have a positive impact that could eventually change availability and use of ICT in the classroom for the better. Teachers will realise that preparing our young people for the future goes far beyond the issue of getting them ready to work theoretically but they need the practise that comes with the exposure provided by the computer technology.
The role of ICT in the classroom can be given a more positive outlook by this research to eliminate the notion held by some teachers and parents that ICT are distractions in the classroom as opposed to learning tools. Christian Religious Studies teachers and other subject teachers can also become conscious of the fact that ICT are not necessarily teaching machines but multi-faceted tools that can empower both teachers and learners. For example, to realise that word processing can be used to prepare class notes; Desktop Publishing and PowerPoint packages can be used to prepare interesting and colourful learning materials such as book covers, short notes and charts that would otherwise not be possible in a Christian Religious Studies class or any other classroom.
1.6 Limitations of the study
- Being an outsider in the institutions that were under investigation may have limited what was revealed to the researcher in the research instruments that were used.
- School culture and leadership practices in the schools sampled may have interfered with the data that the researcher collected in the long-run.
(iii)Within the sample investigated, the different institutions presented spontaneously different educational circumstances that may have contributed to the outcome of the study.
(iv)Since this study was descriptive in nature, its findings were an indication of possible trends and not an ultimate judgement on the entire school structure in the Nigeria nation.
The world over, everybody is expected to know something about ICT. In this context some of the respondents to the research instruments may have deliberately concealed their ignorance on the topic under investigation. However, the researcher put measures in place to counter this during data collection. For example the questionnaires had control questions.
1.7 The Scope of the Study
The study was conducted in Ikwuano Local Government area, Abia State. Ikwuano is a local Government area ofAbia State, Nigeria. Its headquarters is in IsialaOboro.
It has an area of 281 km² and a population of 137,993 at the 2006 census. It is made up of about 52 villages and communities and is bounded by Ini LGA of Akwa Ibom State by the West and Umuahia North. Ikwuano Local Government Area can be referred to as the food basket of Abia State basically because of rich agricultural produce it is endowed with. Ikwuano as the name implies is derived from the coming together of four (4) Related brothers namely Oboro, IbereAriam-Ushaka and Oloko, Ikwu (Relations/Relatives) and Ano (Four 4) Meaning four relations. Ikwuano LGA was among the new local government areas that were created on the 27th of August 1991 when the General Ibrahim Babangida’s Administration created Abia State from the old Imo State it was carved out of the old Ikwuano-Umuahia Local Government Area. It one of the five LGAs that make up Abia Central Senatorial District.The first executive chairman is Chief ChimaOnyemachi.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Attitude: Is that which influences an individual‟s choice of action and response to a stimuli.
Computer: An electronic device that accepts user input referred to as data, processes it under specials instructions called programs in order to produce a desired output called information.
Computer applications: The software or sets of instructions that direct a computer user on the tasks to perform and how to perform them.
Computer hardware: The physical computer components that one can see and touch. Such equipment includes; the system unit, input devices, storage devices and output devices.
Computer software: Sets of instructions that a computer uses to perform the expected activities.
Computer technology: The computer devices which are used in the communication of ideas between persons and groups in various teaching and training situations.
Cooperative learning strategies: A plan of action in gaining of knowledge and skills that is characterised by willingness of the learner and teacher to comply in the learning processes.
General purpose ICT: ICT that are designed to be able to perform a variety of tasks when loaded with the appropriate programs.
Microcomputer: A small, relatively cheap computer that is commonly used in schools, training and learning institutions, small business enterprises and communication centres among others.
Information and Communication Technologies: diverse set of technological tools and resources used to communicate and to create, disseminate, store, and manage information. Examples are ICT, the Internet, broadcasting technologies (radio and television), and telephony.
Multimedia: The ability of a computer to process and output text, sound, video and pictures.
Personal computer: A computer that is mostly used by one person because it has one microprocessor. It is also called a microcomputer.
Teaching resources: Materials intended for use by a teacher to improve or extend his teaching.
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