Educational technology; an enhancement tool for teaching and learning
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The role of educational technology in teaching and learning is rapidly becoming one of the most important and widely discussed issues in contemporary education policy (Rosen and Well, 1995; and Thierer, 2000). Most experts in the field of education agreed that, when properly used, educational technology hold great promise to improve teaching and learning in addition to shaping workforce opportunities. Poole (1996) has indicated that computer illiteracy is now regarded as the new illiteracy. This has actually gingered a new and strong desire to equip schools with computer facilities and qualified personal necessary to produce technologically proficient and efficient education system that enhances teaching and learning. There is no doubt that educational technologies like computer can aid the instructional process and facilitate students’ learning. Many studies have found positive effect associated with technology aided instruction (Burnett, 1994, and Fitzgerald and Warner, 1996).
In the more advanced industrialized nations, there has been a staggering amount of research and publication related to technology use for educational purposes during the past decade. Today, nearly everyone in the industrialized nations gained access to educational technologies and the purchase of computers for school use in such nations as the United States has been increasing in such a pace that is difficult to keep track of how many computer machines are now in American schools (Harper, 2005). Becker (2006) reported a comprehensive survey of the instructional uses of computers in United States public and non-public schools. The report suggested that over one million computers were in American elementary and secondary schools and that more than fifteen million students used them. The report also says half-a-million teacher used computers during he same period and that half of U.S. secondary schools (about 16,500 schools) owned 15 or more computers. Also, over 7500 elementary schools owned 15 or more computers. Bergheim and Chin (1984) reported that the US government made available $529 million to schools out of which 60 to70 percent was spent on computer education. However, in the US administration’s fiscal 2001 budget, more than $900 million was earmarked for educational technologies (Hess & Leal, 2001)
In Britain, the story is the same as the wider availability of computers in schools was made possible through government funding largely through the Local Education Authorities (LEA). Visscher et al (2003) reported that following the Education Reform Act in 1988, the central government made available $325 million, over time, to promote the use of educational technologies like computers in school administration and management. Just as the United States and Britain have been budgeting huge sum of money for educational technology, so have other developed nations like Nigeria have been doing same. Even many developing nations have embraced educational technology. In Nigeria, concerted efforts have been made by many governments to initiate Internet connectivity and technology training programs. Such programs link schools around the world that in order to improve education, enhance cultural understanding and develop skills that youths need for securing jobs in the 21st century. In Nigeria, teachers and students are using computers extensively as information tools. These programs in this nation are supported by their government through the ministries of Education. In a rapidly changing world of global market competition, automation, and increasing democratization, basic education is necessary for an individual to have the capacity and capability to access and apply information. Such ability and capability must find bearing in educational technology in the global village. The Economic Commission for Africa has indicated that the ability to access and effectively utilize educational technology is no longer a luxury but a necessity for development. Unfortunately, many developing countries, especially in Africa, are already on the wrong side of the digital divide in the educational use of technology.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The Nigeria’s needs for educational technology may appear too simplistic and unnecessary, but cannot be overemphasized. However, the political conditions in Nigeria for the past thirty years leave no room for continuity. Over the years, political power in Nigeria has been used to entrench mediocrity, corruption in high places, misplace priority, and consumer culture. The direct effect of these is a battered economy and an educational system that is decaying by the day. According to Okebukola (1997), the plan to establish pilot schools and thereafter diffuse the innovation, first to all secondary schools and then to the Primary schools. Unfortunately, beyond the distribution and installation of computers in the Federal Government Colleges, the project did not really take off the ground.
Okebukola (1997) concluded that computer is not part of classroom technology in over 90% of public schools in Nigeria. Thus the chalkboard and textbooks continue to dominate classroom activities in most schools in Nigeria. The negative consequence of this is seen in the level of incompetence displayed by some Nigerian graduate. The researcher is however of the opinion that educational technology can be used as a tool for effective teaching and learning, going by the data from the advanced countries that has already adopted this technologies a long time ago.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1. To find out if educational technology can be used as an enhancement tool for teaching and learning in Nigeria.
2. To find out the level of availability of educational technology for teaching and learning in Nigeria schools.
3. To identify the factors limiting the use of educational technology for teaching and learning in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. Can educational technology be used as an enhancement tool for teaching and learning in Nigeria?
2. What is the level of availability of educational technology for teaching and learning in Nigeria schools?
3. What are the factors limiting the use of educational technology for teaching and learning in Nigeria?
HO: Educational technology cannot be used as an enhancement tool for teaching and learning in Nigeria
HA: Educational technology can be used as an enhancement tool for teaching and learning in Nigeria
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
1. The outcome of this study will explain the deficit created by lack of educational technologies for teaching and learning in schools. It will also reveal how the educational technology can be used as an enhancement tool for teaching and learning.
2. This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of educational technology as an enhancement tool for teaching and learning, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will cover all the various classroom technologies that can enhance teaching and learning.