USE OF SMARTPHONE AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF SOCIAL STUDIES STUDENTS IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN UYO EDUCATION ZONE OF AKWA IBOM STATE, NIGERIA
- Background of the Study
Students’ use of smart phones and other convergent technological devices for study and social purposes has grown significantly in the past five years. This trend is part of a more general ICT revolution impacting on the way students interact both with each other and with their studies. A smart phone is a device that can make and receive telephone calls over a radio link while moving around a wide geographical area (Prensky: 2001). Modern cell phones support a wide variety of other services such as, text messaging ,multimedia messaging, email, internet access, bluetooth, business applications, games, photography and calendaring among other services. A smart phone is a device that makes calls but also adds on features that in the past were found on a personal computer such as, Microsoft documents, QWERTY keyboard, synchronizing personal and professional e-mail accounts (Attwell: 2005).
Smart phones are different from other cell phones because of their operating system such as, Android or Windows. With proper instructional design, smart phones can enhance educational opportunities because of their increased flexibility for learners. With a multitude of real-time streaming opportunities available through the phone, the trend is for students to use phones to multi-task, to plan and coordinate social and study-related activities, to facilitate group solidarity, and to gather information from a variety of sources. In spite of such affordances or perhaps because of them, smart phones can have much impact on study and academic performance. One trend which smart phone could impact on study is the tendency of students to multitask using smart phones. It is common for students to look at webpages and blogs, send and respond to texts and emails, check Facebook, or simply check their phones to see if there has been any activity. These actions occur at the same time as they are attending lectures, studying at home or in the library, or engaging in social activities. The affordances of a smart phone, or the properties of the technology that ‘determine the possibilities for action’ encourage their use for multitasking (Ling, 2004).
Another trend that smart phones can impact on study is for students to use their phones to arrange group activities. Some students are accustomed to technology infiltrating every area of their lives and use it to access entertainment, locate information, and stay in touch with their peers (Wood, 2010). Students prefer to facilitate arrangements using convergent technologies that allow texting and other non-synchronous communication channels as it suits their more dynamic and flexible lifestyle. They use the calendar and reminder and notes functions (applications) on their phones to manage study and other commitments. The phones also offer opportunities for micro-coordination (e.g. ‘Coming… be there in 20 mins.’), synchronizing action and flexibility of schedules (e.g. using Viber and other free applications for group messaging), and for adjustments to plans ‘on the go’ (Ling, 2004). The use of smart phone also has an influence on study-related activities, like collaborative learning and virtual teams. Educators use its potential to exploit preferences of young students for experiential learning, and to enhance collaborative learning and build community within disciplines (Cochrane & Bateman, 2010). The use of the smart phone as a convergent device for personal coordination is likely to increase with its growing availability and adaptability.
Smart phones allow perpetual access to interactive social media. Students can now have immediate and ready access to web 2000 sites through the apps on their phones. This trend can have negative impacts on study because it allows students to be distracted by social networking. Phones are used for socializing many times in a day – for texting, e-mailing, talking, using Facebook, and instant messaging. Moreover, these activities are frequently conducted while students are studying and attending classes (Junco & Cotton, 2012). Indeed Facebook and texting are preferred to calls for contact during class, as they allow for more discreet contact. This continual access to social networking sites is emerging as a noticeable feature of smart phones.
There are a number of impacts of smart phones on study but not all impacts on students are negative. In many courses, such as creative art and business subjects, mobile technology is being used to facilitate group interaction and reflective practice. The principal benefits noted by researchers in creative disciplines are greater student collaboration in project work, ‘increased interaction from external commentators, and the development of student reflective journals’ (Cochrane & Bateman, 2010). The research into the pedagogical affordances of smart phones in tertiary education highlights the value of students being able to engage deeply with discussions about project ‘validity and outcomes’. As the use of the technology increases these benefits are more likely to become apparent and be exploited to enhance students’ engagements and learning.
According to Ling (2001) students are susceptible to trends, fashions and styles, which make them more willing to adopt new technology such as, smart phones. As new technologies emerge, the study habits of students also evolve. Smart phones have changed the traditional college experience and to meet these challenges, learning institutions must embrace the new technology for learning. Cell phone use has been increasing in all economic and age sectors and has expanded the boundaries of education into an ‘anytime, anywhere experience’ (Prensky, 2001) leading to students being labelled as one of the most important markets and the largest consumer group of mobile phone services (Totten et al, 2005, McClatchy,2006). Smart phones are presenting new means for students to access information thereby redefining the educational experience. Redefining this educational experience however presents new challenges for both educators and learners as they have to determine optimal mixes of technology and pedagogy. This study is therefore undertaken to determine the influence of smart phones on the academic achievement of social studies students in secondary schools in Uyo Educational Zone of Akwa Ibom State.
Junior secondary education is the upper level of basic education and important segment of the 6-3-3-4 educational system. Junior secondary segment is designed to offer the learners relatively permanent literacy, numeracy, communication as well as manipulative skills. It is the actual implementation level of the tenets of universal basic education. The central tendency of this basic level is to train the citizens who can solve their personal and community problems without resorting to violence. By this, management of learners may imbibe necessary values, attitudes, skills and knowledge necessary for two reasons. First being to fit in and function effectively as a member of the community, also as the foundation for further education.
However, social studies as a basic education subject is designed to carter for real experiences in learning. It is an integrated discipline designed to balance learners affective with cognitive and psychomotor domains.
Infact, the subject also overlaps the virtues and provides for other social sciences which would help the learners to lead functional lives and/or prepare a solid foundation for further education. Adedoyin (1977) in Kazi (2012) corroborates this point when he defined social studies programme as a social science that overlaps other social sciences of history, geography, economics, political science, sociology and anthropology. Where learners are integratedly exposed to historical, geographical, economic, political, sociological and anthropological views of man in environment, it provides that such learners are good and balanced citizens.
Being an integrated subject, social studies offer the learners such opportunities to learn through natural ways. According to Lucan (1981:59) in Okam (1998). A child sees the world as one unit and naturally asks questions which cut across artificial subject division. An integrated approach to learning attempts to follow the child’s natural way of learning and viewing the world as whole, the teacher’s role being to provide experiences and to assist the enquiry process by suggesting further lines which might be followed”. The above suggest that ways in which the learners appreciate to learn should be redefined and channeled towards meaningful endeavours. It should not be disbanded from the school system totally but be fine-tuned to bring out desirable behaviours and discover the hidden talents of learners.
Smart phones provide natural attractions through which learning contents in social studies may be implemented. This is because social studies concentrate on survival skills, interactive skills and agents of change (Esu and Inyang Abia 2004). Since social studies is not only for formal education, informal and non-formal educational opportunities are also built in social studies. Smart phones hence, offer these learning anywhere, anytime, anyhow (Ibe Bassey 2012).
Due to the ubiquitous revolution of borderless education, Mobile learning is now considered as a knowledge-centric catalyst in supporting personalized and collaborative learning in secondary education. It is imperative to identify the role and the views of teachers and students who are the stakeholders in secondary education as they are responsible in utilizing the mobile devices. Deployment of state-of-the-art mobile technologies alone would not suffice sans taking considerations of the end-users or stakeholders’ views, needs and wants. Nonetheless, challenges are inevitable in the mobile learning management pertaining to classroom issues, security measurement and monitoring concerns.
Smart phone as a mobile learning device for classroom is a “new opportunities for increasing engagement, motivation and learning”. As a result, it fosters critical thinking skills, which are fundamental in the foundation of knowledge-centric and tech-savvy community in schools. As a general knowledge that most of the concerns and challenges identified from the existing literatures have more bearing on the end users’ views and expectations which will contribute to the development of mobile applications that cater to the needs and wants of the education community. Emphasis should be made on the importance of studying the strategic planning and implementation of smart phones in order for it to be successfully executed and carried out.
There are enormous concerns about smart phones use according to gender and location divide today. There is already evidence that gender inequalities are being replicated in schools with girls using computers and the internets less than boys (Olatokun 2008) in Olson, Codde, Demaggd, Jarleson, Sinclair, Yook, Egidio (2001) but female students are found to be gratified through the use of smart phones; hence, ban on smart phones become bias against female. According to Olson et al (2011) the bias spread of the internet facilities also hinder students from rural communities who may be cut-off from mobile learning.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The use of smartphones has come to stay globally. It is gradually increasing and diversified across different sectors of education, both in developed and developing countries and commonly observed among the youths within and outside the school system. Its use is so widespread and uncontrolled among the youths in Nigeria.
In Akwa Ibom State, use of smart phones and other mobile learning devices have been banned by the school board and enforced by both teachers and school administrators. This has been supported by parents. While the school board tends to justify themselves that the devices support anti-social activities like cultism, exams malpractice and prostitution (which may not be rampant, if not possible among junior secondary learners); the teachers feel that they may constitute sources of distraction and parents tend to belief these trusted groups and seek to hide under these to keep away from the high cost of these devices. There are regulations in Secondary Schools prohibiting the use of mobile devices in school, among the students. This goes with punitive measures varying from among the schools. In spite of the ban, students still acquire and use smart-phones after school; even more than the teachers do, and are even spotted in the hostels within the school vicinities.
However, there tend to be continuously and geometrically high rate of these anti-social vents, poor psychomotor and affective skills. The inseparable quest for knowledge and information from the town (society) among the gown (students) still gives a high craving for smart phones among the students which is difficult to suppress. This had led to circumvention of these rules especially as owners tend to use them to heighten the vices and also enhance learning. With all these efforts at exterminating the sources of vices in schools and among students, the rate of these vices is still on geometric increase. These devices are still being acquired by and spotted with students within and outside the schools for their social purposes.
The poor performance among junior secondary has been attributed to poor instructional strategies, like poor use of black boards, lack of projectors and other factors. Each stake holder blaming the other and remaining confused on what might be the cause. This poor performance remains the concern of stakeholders in education for the period of 2012 – 2015, the results of this is as shown on Table 1.
Table 1: Students’ Academic Performance in Junior WAEC Examination from 2012 to 2015 in Uyo Education Zone
Year of Exam No. of students who registered Percentage failed
2012 1,340 41.81%
2013 1,671 50.37%
2014 1,692 61.28%
2015 1,790 72.01%
Source: Ministry of education, Akwa Ibom State (2015).
The low performance as evident from 2012 to 2015 result of junior secondary school certificate examinations in Social Studies where the percentage of failures continues to increase as the years goes by. Consequently, studies have provided evidences on the role of parenting styles, socio-economic status, and teacher’s personality on the academic performance of students. However, not much work has been carried out in the area of teaching technology, especially the use of smart phones in Nigeria. The problem of this study therefore is to determine the influence of the use of smartphone on academic performance of social studies students in junior secondary schools in Education Zone, Akwa Ibom State.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The Study is carried out to determine the influence of Smart-phone on academic performance of social studies students in secondary schools in Uyo Educational zone. Specifically, the study seeks to:
- Determine the difference in the academic performance of social studies students taught with and without smart phones in secondary school in Uyo Education Zone, Akwa Ibom State.
- Determine the difference in the academic performance of male and female social studies students taught with smart phones in secondary school in Uyo Education Zone.
- Determine the influence of smart phones on the academic ability levels of social studies students in secondary schools in Uyo Education Zone of Akwa Ibom State.
- Determine the difference in the academic performance of social studies students taught with and without smart phones in Rural and Urban secondary school in Uyo Education Zone.
- Determine the difference in the academic performance of type A and type B personality social studies students taught with smart phones in secondary school in Uyo Education Zone.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will be useful to both students who use smart phone as well as secondary school management. The results of the findings will enable the students to perceive the effect of smart phones on their studies with a view to adjusting their study attitude. Teachers will also benefit from the findings as they will understand how to integrate smart phone as teaching technology in teaching learning situation. The school management will use the findings of the study as a guide in their decision towards the use of smart phones in secondary schools. Beside, the study will enable parents to appreciate the impact of smart phones on their children’s performance in school. This will guide them in deciding whether or not to allow the use of smart phones by their children at this level of education. Parents will also benefit from the findings as they will discover the immense benefit of smart phone to social studies and general performance and manipulative skills of their wards in the 21st century.
Based on the extended usage of cell phones by students, the need appears to unravel the myth surrounding the use of cell phones as an aid to study and the effects it has on students’ academic performance. The significance of the study emerges from the fact that it attempts to identify the effects of smart phone use on the study habits of the students and the role played by technology in supporting education, solving educational problems and promoting educational outcomes. The study is expected to add to the stock of literature in this area of study, while serving as research material for further studies in related areas.
1.5 Research Questions
The following research questions have been formulated to guide the study.
- What is the difference in the academic performance of social studies students taught with and without smart phones in secondary school in Uyo Education Zone, Akwa Ibom State?
- What is the difference in the academic performance of male and female social studies students taught with smart phones in secondary school in Uyo Education Zone?
- How does the use of smartphone influence ability levels of social studies students in secondary schools in Uyo Education Zone of Akwa Ibom State?
- What is the difference in the academic performance of social studies students taught with smart phones in Rural and Urban secondary school in Uyo Education Zone?
- What is the difference in the academic performance of type A and type B personality social studies students taught with smart phones in secondary school in Uyo Education Zone?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses have been formulated to direct the study.
- There is no significant difference in the academic performance of social studies students taught with and those taught without smart phones in secondary school in Uyo Education Zone, Akwa Ibom State.
- There is no significant difference in the academic performance of male and female social studies students taught with smart phones in secondary school in Uyo Education Zone.
- There is no significant influence of smart phones on the academic ability levels of social studies students in secondary schools in Uyo Education Zone of Akwa Ibom State.
- There is no significant difference in the academic performance of social studies students in urban and rural secondary schools taught with the use of smartphones.
- There is no significant difference in the academic performance of type A and type B personality social studies students taught with smart phones in secondary school in Uyo Education Zone.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study is delimited to only public secondary schools in Uyo Educational Zone of Akwa Ibom State. Social studies students in JS 3 for the 2014/2015 session will form the respondents to be used in the study and the variables of gender, school location and academic ability levels of students are considered.
1.9 Definition of Terms
The operational definitions of terms used in the study are given below:
- Smartphones: This is a device that can make and receive calls over a radio link while moving around a wide geographical area.
- Academic Performance: This refers to the level of attainment of students in social studies at the junior secondary school level.
- Gender: this is a social contrast used to described male and female learners in social studies at the junior secondary school level
- Location: this refers to the physical sites of junior secondary schools in terms of urban or rural areas.
- Social studies: this is an integrated social sciences discipline which studies human activities as they influence their values, attitudes, skills and knowledge that may aid socio-civic living within the community.
Ability level: Ability level is here defined as the level of students’ performance in three projected levels of high, average and low ability levels