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1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
During the last two decades higher education institutions have invested heavily in information and communication technologies (ICT). ICT has had a major impact in the university context, in organization and in teaching and learning methods.One puzzling question is the effective impact of these technologies on student achievement and on the returns of education. Many academic researchers have tried to answer this question at the theoretical and empirical levels. They have faced two main difficulties. On one hand, studentperformance is hard to observe and there is still confusion about its definition. On the other hand, ICT is evolving technologies and their effects are difficult to isolate from their environment.There is no standard definition for student performance. The standard approach focuses on achievement and curricula, how students understand the courses and obtain their degrees or their marks. However, a more extensive definition deals with competencies, skills and attitudes learned through the education experience. The narrow definition allows the observation of the outcomes of any change in higher education, while the more extensive definition needs a more complex strategy of observation and a focus on the labour market. The outcomes of education are mainly validated in the labour market.The impact of ICT on learning is currently in relation to use of digital media, primarily computers and internet to facilitate teaching and learning. ICTs are the technologies used in conveying, manipulation and storage of data by electronic means, they provide an array of powerful tools that may help in transforming the present isolated teacher-centered and text-bound classrooms into rich, student-focused, interactive knowledge environments.To meet these challenges, learning institutions must embrace the new technologies and appropriate ICT tools for learning. The relationship between the use of ICT and student performance in higher education is not clear, and there are contradictory results in the literature. Earlier economic research has failed to provide a clear consensus concerning the effect on students’ achievement.Starting from this point, the aims of this paper are two-fold: first, we summarize the main findings of this extensive literature and second, we give two complementary explanations on the contradictory results. Our first explanation is that most of the literature has focused on direct effects of ICT while it is more appropriate to look at the indirect effects through the traditional channels. Since student performance is mainly explained by a student’s characteristics, educational environment and teachers’ characteristics, ICT may have an impact on these determinants and consequently the outcome of education. The differences observed in the performances of students are thus more related to the differentiated impact of ICT on the standard determinants.
The direct link between ICT use and students’ performance has been the focus of extensive literature during the last two decades. Several studies have tried to explain the role and the added value of these technologies in classrooms and on student’s performances. The first body of literature explored the impact of computer uses. Since the Internet revolution, there has been a shift in the literature that focuses more on the impact of online activities: use of Internet, use of educative online platforms, digital devices, use of blogs and wikis, etc.
Looking at the link between ICT and student performance seems nowadays a misunderstanding of the role and nature of these technologies. In fact, since ICT is general purpose technology (GPT), it needs to be specified in order to meet the needs expressed by students and to be adapted to the local context and constraints (Antonelli, 2003; Ben Youssef, 2008). A variety of models of usages can be identified leading to the same outcome. ICT brings widened possibilities for the learning processes that are independent from place and space. ICT also allows more flexible (asynchronous) and more personalized learning. It offers new methods of delivering higher education. Taking advantage of these opportunities needs a profound change in the organization of the higher education system.
Economic literature in the last decade has shown that technological change, on its own, does not lead to any change in economic performance. Among the most popular explanations of this paradox – huge investment in ICT without any economic performance – the complementarity thesis seems to be the most accepted nowadays (Greenan and Mairesse, 2004). Old methods need old educative technologies and new technologies need new organizational innovations. There is an agreement between researchers that the usage of ICT requires the usage of new organizational designs and a shift in organization. Higher education is not an exception and needs a huge organizational change.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
For many years, educational researchers have maintained an interest in the effective prediction of students’ academic achievement at school. The prediction and explanation of academic achievement and the examination of the factors relating to the academic achievement are topics of greatest importance in different educational levels. Studies have shown that prior academic performance is an important predictor of performance at other levels of education. Similarly, cognitive ability was found as the strongest predictor of academic performance. However, some studies confirm that the correlation between cognitive ability and academic performance tends to decline as students’ progress in the educational system.
Thus, many researchers have emphasized the need to include non-cognitive factors such as personality, motivation, learning strategies and beliefs in investigations of individual differences in academic achievement. In other words, contemporary researchers are interested in whether or not other individual differences than cognitive ones (for example; intelligence, cognitive ability) may be used to predict academic achievement. The present study aims at determining the predictors of academic achievement of student ICT teachers (formerly called computer teachers) with different learning styles.
The direct link between ICT use and students’ and academic performance has been the focus of extensive literature during the last two decades. Some of them help students with their learning by improving the communication between them and the instructors (Valasidou and Bousiou, 2005). Leuven et al. (2004) stated that there is no evidence for a relationship between increased educational use of ICT and students’ performance. In fact, they find a consistently negative and marginally significant relationship between ICT use and some student achievement measures.
In support to these, some students may use ICT to increase their leisure time and have less time to study. Online gaming and increased communication channels do not necessarily mean increased achievement.
On the other hand, Abdulla Y. Al-Hawaj, WajeehElali, and E.H. Twizell (2008), state that ICT has the potential to transform the nature of education: Where and how learning takes place and the roles of students and teachers in the learning process.
Karim and Hassan (2006) noted the exponential growth in digital information, which changes the way students perceive study and reading and in how printed materials are used to facilitate study.
Based on the extended usage of ICTs in education the need appeared to unravel the myth that surrounds the use of information and communication technology (ICT) as an aid to teaching and learning, and the impact it has on students’ academic performance in Afikpo North Local Government in Ebonyi State.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this study was to find out the influence of ICT on students’ academic performance in Secondary Schools in Afikpo North Local Government in Ebonyi State. Specifically, the study is aim at findings out whether;
1. ICT has any direct effect on students’ academic performance.
2. ICT as a tool for learning and students’ academic performance.
3. ICT as a tool for teaching and students’ academic performance
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions were posed to guide the study.
1. How does ICT relate with students’ academic performance?
2. How does ICT as a tool for learning influence students’ academic performance?
3. What are the demerits of computer usage in secondary schools in Ebonyi State?
1.5 STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESES
In order to carry out the research effectively, the under listed hypotheses were tested.
H0:There is no significant relationship between ICT and students’ academic performance.
H1: There is significant relationship between ICT and students’ academic performance.
H0:There is no significant relationship between ICT as a tool for learning and students’ academic performance
H2: There is significant relationship between ICT as a tool for learning and students’ academic performance
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The outcome of this study aims at determining whether or not the use of ICT has any significant influence on the academic performance of students.
More over education is the bedrock of any society. Nigeria as a developing nation needs a standard secondary schools that has available learning resources, that teachers can improvise learning resources easily and more often also where teachers and students utilize learning resources on a regular basis. It could be a guide line for incoming students and be educative to them when writing and studying similar problems in school.
This study has made me to explore into the topic influence of ICT usage on the academic performance of students. It is also a requirement I must be produce for the award of a degree in curriculum and teaching, faculty of education.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study was carried out in Afikpo North Local Government in Ebonyi State only. This study intend to study the influence of ICT on students’ academic performance in secondary schools.
Only secondary schools within Afikpo North Local Government in Ebonyi State are studied with a sample of only six (6) selected out of all the others in the study area.
The study is limited to a population of twenty (50) students’ from each of the four schools.
In the course of the study the researcher encountered certain problems. Due to limited time and funds, the study was restricted to a particular section of Afikpo North Local Government in Ebonyi State.
At the time this research was being carried out, schools were on frequent breaks. The researcher had to make use of the little times, met with the pupils and the school heads.
Finance was another issue that disturbed the execution of this project. The biting economic situation could not allow the researcher carryout the work as fast as it had to be done.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
In order to assist an understanding of this piece of work, the researcher have defined the following terms in the sense of they are each used in this project.
ICT:Information and communications technology (ICT) is an extended term for information technology (IT) which stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals), computers as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage, and audio-visual systems, which enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information.
Performance: An action in which excellence or superiority depend primarily on abstract mental ability. Any action requiring the manipulation of abstracts, concepts or mental manipulation of any sort.
Academic performance: Academic achievement or (academic) performance is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their short or long-term educational goals. Cumulative GPA and completion of educational degrees such as High School and bachelor's degrees represent academic achievement.
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