A COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT OF THE USE OF "ICT" IN TEACHING BIOLOGY IN SOME SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS

A COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT OF THE USE OF "ICT" IN TEACHING BIOLOGY IN SOME SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS

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Abstract

This study examines A Comparative Assessment of the Use of "ICT" in Teaching Biology in Some Selected Secondary Schools in Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos State. It investigates the use, importance and significance of ICT in teaching Biology in secondary schools in Mushin LGA of Lagos. The purpose of this research was to determine students performance in Biology within a non-ICT equipped secondary school system; to determine students performance in biology within an ICT equipped secondary school system; to account for the disparity in students performance within the two contexts of secondary schools if there is any and indicate the serious need for a comprehensive ICT-aided teaching of Biology in secondary schools in Nigeria. Two questions were stated for this study, the research design was comparative research method in nature. The work generated three research questions and three hypothesis. Quasi-experimental research design was adopted using experimental and control groups and also pretest-posttest. Purposive sampling technique was used to select 50 sample population as respondents who were drawn from two secondary schools both in Mushin. The study collected data through Biology Achievement Test (BAT) and ICT assessment scale from the two groups (experimental and control). The instrument used for data collection was validated by three experts from the field of Measurement and Evaluation, Biology Education and Educational Technology with reliability index of 0.85. The mean, standard deviation and t-test were used to analysed the data collected. Result shows that the mean scores of the experimental group improved in the posttest in comparison to the pretest. There was no significant difference based on gender in the students’ academic performance. The result also revealed that there was low usage of ICT for teaching of Biology in the study area. From the findings of the study, the researchers are of the opinion that students regardless of gender should be given equal opportunity in science and technology without fear or favour. It could also be emphatically deduced that the use of ICT in teaching will improve students’ academic performance. The work also identified some of the challenges militating against the effective integration of ICT in teaching and learning. The researchers conclude by making some recommendations on how to reduce if not eliminate the challenges identified as militating against the use of ICT in teaching and learning process.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1   Background to the Study

Biology is a widely studied subject. The knowledge of it calls for a balanced secondary school education. Biology as a school subject may be a factor in improving the lives of students and their immediate environment.

In a developing country like Nigeria, the use of "ICT" in the teaching of Biology should be promoted in all secondary schools, since the national policy on education states that "the broad aims of secondary education within overall National objectives should be preparation or higher education". In specific terms, secondary education should equip students so that they can be able to live effectively in our modern age of science and technology.

Information Communication Technology (ICT) has positively transferred effectively and efficiently every aspect of human lives such as Education, Aviation, Agriculture, Manufacturing etc. In Nigeria, it appears that most students and schools lack facilities such as Information Communication Technology facilities, the influence of media devices such as projectors, perhaps may improve the teaching-learning process of the subject, Biology.

ICT is an acronym Information Communication Technology. They are a diverse set of technological tools and resources used to communicate, and to create, disseminate, store and manage information. These technologies include  computers, the internet, broadcasting technologies(radio and television), and telephony(Volman,2005).In recent years, there has been a groundswell of interest in how computers and the internet can best be harnessed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of education at all levels and in both formal and non-formal settings (www.en.m.wikibooks.org). But ICTs are more than just these technologies; older technologies such as the television, radio and telephone which are now given less attention, have a longer and richer history as instructional tools.

The use of computers and the internet is still in its infancy in developing countries, if  these are used at all, due to limited infrastructure and the attendant high cost of access. ICTs are making dynamic changes in society. They are influencing all aspects of life. The influences are felt more and more at schools. ICTs provide both students and teachers with more opportunities in adapting teaching and learning to individual needs, society is forcing schools to aptly respond to this technical innovation. Tinio (2002), states the potentials of ICTs in increasing access and improving relevance and quality of education in developing countries. He further stated that ICTs greatly facilitate the acquisition and absorption of knowledge, offering developing countries unprecedented opportunities to enhance educational systems, improve policy formulation and execution, and widen the range of opportunities for biology and the poor. One of the greatest hardships endured by the poor, and by many others, who live in the poorest countries, is their sense of isolation and ICTs can open access to knowledge in ways unimaginable not long ago.

In Watson’s (2001) description, ICTs have revolutionized the way people work today and are now transforming education systems. As a result, if schools train students with yesterday’s skills and technologies, they may not be effective and fit in tomorrow’s world. This is a sufficient reason for ICTs to win global recognition and attention. For instance, ICTs are dependable tools in facilitating the attainment of one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which is achievement of Universal Basic Education by the year 2015. Kofi Anan, the former United Nations Secretary General, points out that in order to attain the goal of Universal Primary Education by 2015; we must ensure that information and communication technologies unlock the door of education systems. This indicates the growing demand and increasingly important place that ICTs could receive in education. Since ICTs provide greater opportunities for students and teachers to adjust learning and teaching to individual needs, society is forcing schools to give appropriate response to this technical innovation.

The uses of ICT is making major differences in the learning of students and teaching approaches. Schools in the western world invested a lot for ICT infrastructures over the last 20 years, and students use computers more often and for a much larger range of applications (Volman, 2005). Several studies reveal that students using ICT facilities mostly show higher learning gains than those who do not use.

ICT offers an array technical tools that improve the academic experience, creating a potential for variety, diversity and better organization in education. Like all other courses of study, Biology Education offers a creative field on which the opportunities offered by ICT can be explored.

Scientific research especially in the 21st century has greatly increased the understanding of the world around us. This has brought a lot of changes in different areas of human endeavor, like in the area of Education, Health, Power, Industry, Environment etc. It has promoted better living and good practices. There has been tremendous increase in research which led to a lot of discoveries in science and technology. All these innovations and developments are interrelated and dependent on each other. Natural science has witnessed a lot of improvement recently and science in this century had displayed a lot in the area of innovation and technology and has shown a great potential in transforming human life and the world around him. The development of science and technology is of paramount importance to the society and the nation at large, that is why a lot of emphasis is being placed on it recently in our schools.

It is no gainsaying that biology cannot thrive in this modern day without the informative and communicative edge neither can biology education graduates be globally competitive without having being imbued with ICT skills. It is against this background that this researcher investigates the regularity and effectiveness of  ICT use among biology education students.

1.2   Statement of the problem

There is a need for steady evaluation of the impact of ICT in the teaching of essential subjects such as Biology.

It has fully come to the attention of biology education stakeholders, the invaluable importance of ICT tools such as computers, audio-visual equipment, internet facilities etc. to the course. They are however not sure whether this technological opportunity is being most effectively and optimally exploited and explored. Information Communication Tools are an integral part of biology and biology education and their extensive use, especially in recent years, is gradually being implemented in undergraduate training. Furthermore, many universities and their libraries across Nigeria are rapidly incorporating ICT tools such as computer and internet into their programmes for the use of students. The problem of this study is therefore to investigate the effectiveness and regularity of ICT use among biology education students.

This is with a view to ascertaining the level of success recorded in terms of students performance in Biology with the increased wave of computer based education system in Nigeria. 

1.3   Purpose of the Study

In specific terms, this study is intended to achieve the following objectives:

1.           To determine whether or not SS2 Biology Students taught with the use of Computer Assisted Instruction will perform better than those taught without it.

2.           To determine the gender-related effect of the use of ICT driven Instruction on academic performance amongst SS2 Biology students in the study area.

3.           To investigate the extents to which ICT facilities available for teaching and learning in secondary schools in Mushin are put use.

1.4   Research Questions

This study specifically seeks to provide answers to the following research questions:

1.           What is the performance means score of SS2 Biology Students in the experimental and control groups before and after been taught using Information and Communication Technology (ICT)?

2.           What is the performance means score of SS2 Biology Students exposed to ICT based on gender?

3.           To what extent do teachers use ICT in teaching SS2 Biology students in Mushin Area of Lagos State?

1.5   Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated to guide the study:

HO1: There is no significant difference in the achievement mean scores between the experimental and control groups after being exposed to ICT driven instruction in teaching Biology.

HO2: There is no significant difference in the achievement mean score between male and female SS2 Biology students in the experimental group when they were exposed to treatment.

HO3: There is no significant difference in the performance mean scores in the experimental and control groups based on the use of ICT in the study area.

1.6   Significance of the Study

The importance of this study cuts across several levels of the nation educational system, ranging from the policy makers, stakeholders down to the major beneficiaries who are the students. The significances are carefully enumerated as follows:

This study will hopefully make the Federal, States and Education Authorities to know the extent to which ICT facilities are available in secondary schools for teaching and learning process as well as know the level of usage/utilization of these facilities by teachers and students for effective teaching-learning process. More so, it is hoped that the study will bring out areas of inadequacies of the Computer Assisted mode of Instruction in secondary schools with the hope that the authorities will help them to overcome challenges to increase learning amongst students.

Teachers will find this study helpful in so many ways. Specifically, some teachers who are reluctant to embrace this innovation or illiterate in the use and knowledge of ICT will see the need for it, if they want to remain relevant in the teaching profession and also ensure the success of their students academically. In addition, teachers who are faced with the problem of overcrowded classrooms can be supported with computer assisted mode of instruction to carry out their teaching effectively without much ado. In fact, this study will be an eye opener and image booster for teachers if they adopt this instructional strategy because lessons can be planned and be taught without the teacher being necessarily present all-through in the classroom. More so, it has an added advantage of reducing the burden of teachers to more or less a facilitator in the classroom.

Students, especially those offering Biology as a subject in schools who have been exposed to ICT will learn how to independently explore information in Biology and this will in turn increase their skills and performance in examinations. Learning becomes easier, real and concrete for students when teachers use computer assisted mode of instruction to teach. Students on their own part who have knowledge of ICT can engage in individualized learning at home for better understanding of concepts.

More importantly, ICT has introduced a new concept in the teaching and learning process known as ‘edutainment’ (educate through entertainment) which needed to be explored.

1.7   Scope of the study/delimitation

Six secondary schools in Mushin Local Government Areas  of Lagos State were used for this study as time and cost did not permit examining all schools within the selected local government areas.

1.8   Limitations of the study

The use of ICT in teaching and learning is considered to be very crucial and therefore little time for the respondents to respond to the questionnaire would make the findings absolute. The principals, teachers and students may have given responses that seemed not to portray the actual phenomena in the study because most of the schools were in their early phase of ICT integration into teaching and learning characterized by patchy and coordinated provision and use. Further, the schools were far apart and therefore, the long distance associated with poor road network within the district would negatively affect the study. It was also not possible to relate improvement in teaching and learning on only the use of ICT because many unobservable factors might also influence better outcomes of teaching and learning in schools.

1.9   Organization of the study

The study is organized into five chapters. Chapter one presents a general introduction and  includes the background to the study, the statement of the problem, purpose of the study, objectives of the study, research questions, significance,  limitations,  delimitations,  basic assumptions of the study, definition of significant terms and the organization of the study. Chapter two covers literature reviews on us of ICT in teaching and learning in secondary schools, the theoretical background in use of ICT in teaching and learning and the conceptual framework of ICT use in  secondary schools. Chapter three describes the research methodology to be used. This included the research design, target population, sample and sampling procedure and data analysis techniques. Chapter four focused on data analysis, interpretation and discussion of findings. Chapter five contains the summary, research findings, discussions, conclusions and recommendations of the study.


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