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This study sought to determine the effects of Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) on students’ achievements in Biology. To guide the study, three research questions were asked and three hypotheses formulated.The study adopted a quasi-experimental design, because there was no randomization of subjects into experimental and control groups. The study was conducted in secondary schools in Abakaliki Education Zone of Ebonyi State. Simple random sampling was used to select two secondary schools from two Local Government Areas in the education zone. From these two schools drawn for the study, all the SS1 students in each of the two schools were used as sample for the study. A total of 303 senior secondary school students (SS1) composed the sample of the study. A 30-item multiple choice test called Biology Achievement Test (BAT) was developed for the purpose of data collection.The research questions were answered usingmean and standard deviation, while the hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). Findings from the study revealed that, Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) is an effective instructional method for teaching biology. The students in the experimental group who were taught some contents in biology using Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) as a method of instruction achieved better in BAT (20.41 ± 3.770) than their counterparts in the control group who were taught using the conventional classroom instruction (17.87 ± 2.998). The result of the hypotheses also indicated that there was a significant difference between the achievements of the students in the experimental and control groups (F=43.392, р=0.000), in favour of the students in the experimental group. The result of the study also revealed that the female students in the experimental group achieved slightly better in BAT (20.53 ± 4.230) than their male counterparts (20.28 ± 3.248) in the same group, however, there was no significant difference between their mean achievements (F= 0.380, р= 0.539). Another finding of the study showed that there was no significant effect of interaction (F= 0.000, р=0.990) between teaching method and gender on students’ achievements in Biology. In view of the findings of the study, it was recommended that necessary attention should be accorded CAI as a method of instruction, government should provide computer facilities in secondary schools for teaching and learning, and teachers should employ the use of CAI for their instructions.
1.1 Background to the Study
Biology is the study of living organisms, divided into many specialized fields that cover their morphology, physiology, anatomy, behaviour, origin, and distribution (Wikipedia, 2016). Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, evolution, distribution, identification and taxonomy. Modern biology is a vast and eclectic field, composed of many branches and sub-disciplines such as anatomy, entomology, ethology, veterinary science, mammalogy, primatology, zoology, entomology, etc. However, despite the broad scope of biology, there are certain general and unifying concepts within it that govern all study and research, consolidating it into single, coherent field. In general, biology recognizes the cell as the basic unit of life, genes as the basic unit of heredity, and evolution as the engine that propels the synthesis and creation of new species. It is also understood today that all the organisms survive by consuming and transforming energy and by regulating their internal environment to maintain a stable and vital condition known as homeostasis (Wikipedia, 2016).
Biology is a science subject being taught at the senior secondary school. Biology teaching helps learners to understand biological concepts, principles theories and laws. Among others, the objectives of teaching biology at secondary school level as stated by National Policy on Education (2004) involve ability of the learners’ to development of an awareness of the environment, to have meaningful and relevant knowledge in biology necessary for successful living in a scientific and technological world and to make room for technological advancement.
In view of the above, it would be observed that the schools are not only to equip learners with basic knowledge of biology content but also the practical skills needed for enhancing self development. In order to achieve this, the pedagogical approach which is centred on teachers’ method of imparting facts and concepts of the subjects is important. The implication is that biology teaching must be effective and meaningful to achieve this goal. The conventional instructional methods are not able to achieve these goals. NTI (2008) remarked that the conventional instructional method is teacher centred while Adeyemi (2012) also commented that theconventional instructional method is characterized by emphasis on instructor behaviour rather than students’ behaviour, minimal responses of students to the instructional materials and delayed feedback on students’ performance.
In order to facilitate the achievement of such goals,the recent moves of information revolution and knowledge explosion in technology have brought about changes in the educational system. Technology is utilized in enhancing instruction thus shifting from teacher centred conventional methods attitude have increased across many countries and have proved tobe effective. Ochoyi and Ukwumunu (2008) reported that the use and increasing growth of technology in the classroom provides new opportunities for deliveryof instruction. Educators utilizing technology to enhanced instruction have increased in number across a variety of disciplines and the method has beenproven to be effective. Research has indicated that technology in the classroom can be useful in pedagogy management and an effective teachingenhancement. Technology has been described by Abimbade, Aremu & Adedoja (2003) as a systematic and integrated organization of man, machine, ideaand procedure to achieve a desire goal. Over the years, various machines have been invented by man in technology. The major and most influentialtechnology in the last millennium is the introduction of computer.The introduction of computer in education has not only being found to improved access to learning by all and quality knowledge delivery; its applicationhas also being in the teaching-learning process. This may improve students’ achievement in some subjects such as biology where students’ performance is very low. Students’ performance in biology hasconsistently been reportedly low over the years in Nigeria especially in public examinations such as senior secondary school certificate examination (WAEC Chief Examiners’ Report, 2010).
Hayes and Robins (2010) found that the use of computer based instruction is effective on the achievement of pre-service teachers as well as their attitude towards computer instruction. In similar study, Ogunleye (2007) also noted that computer in expands pedagogical resources available to teachers in science classroom thus supporting teaching. The implication of this is that the introduction of computer in the delivery of biology instruction as a science subject in classroom may improve the quality of pedagogical delivery and students’ learning outcome.
It has also been commonly accepted and proven that information and communication (ICT) is the engine of the 21st century and beyond as it will chart the economy of developing countries. Therefore, the integration of computer which is the major and most influential technology in the last
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