AVAILABILITY AND UTILIZATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS FOR LEARNING OF COMPUTER STUDIES
This study sought to investigate the availability and utilization of instructional materials for learning computer studies in the Ikwo Local Government Area Of Ebonyi State. A survey research design was adopted for the study. The researcher developed three research questions to guide the study. Simple random sampling technique was used to select 730junior secondary school (JSS1) students from six public secondary schools in Ikwo Local Government Area. For the purpose of data collection, the researcher developed a 4-point, 25-item Likert type questionnaire called Computer Studies Questionnaire (CSQ). CSQ was subjected to both validity and reliability tests, for which an internal consistency of 0.96 was obtained. Mean and the standard deviation was used for answering the research questions. Findings from the result of the study revealed that Instructional materials for learning of Computer Studies junior secondary schools were either not available at all, or only available only to a low extent. The major materials available were textbooks and teacher-improvised materials like diagrams and constructed materials. Further findings also revealed that the frequency of improvisation of instructional materials for learning of Computer Studies in junior secondary schools was very low. Only few teachers bother with improvisation, and in most cases, the improvised materials are two-dimensional (such as pictures, charts, diagrams and posters) and three-dimensional materials (constructed/moulded specimens, models). The study also revealed that even in cases where instructional materials were available, the extent of utilization was very low. The most utilized instructional materials were textbooks and teacher-improvised two-dimensional materials (pictures, charts, diagrams and diagrams). Based on the findings of the study, the researcher recommended that government should pay more attention to education and provision of instructional materials for learning of Computer Studies. The researcher also recommended that in schools where the standardized or conventional materials are not available, teachers should endeavour to improvise instructional materials for learning of Computer Studies. It was also recommended that there is need to re-orient the Computer Studies teachers and indeed all science teachers on the provision and utilization of instructional materials.
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
Background to the Study
In recognition of the prominent role of Computer Science Education (CSE) in advancing knowledge and skills necessary for effective functioning in the modern world, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) was introduced into secondary education in Nigeria. Computer education is of paramount importance to national development and it is on this premise that the government of Nigeria sought to introduce computer studies in the education system from primary through to tertiary institutions. Shelly, Cashman and Vermaat (2008) says “computer is an electronic device, operating under the control of instructions stored in its own memory, that can accept data, process the data according to specified rules, produce results, and store the results for future use. Hence, a computer can be defined as an electronic machine working under the control of stored programs, capable of receiving, storing, retrieving, communicating and processing data to produce information. The researcher wanted to establish whether or not teachers and students are considering the computer’s design when delivering and learning programming lessons. The instructors and the learners must understand how the computer works, how it is organised and its capabilities for them to possess the correct interpretation of the computer. A computer forms the basic foundation for computer science and the knowledge that a computer is a programmable device or machine would motivate both teachers and learners to want to program the computer to solve their peculiar or particular problems. The understanding of the computer is in itself a giant leap forward as this arouse learners’ interest to solve problems and intrinsically motivates teachers and learners to psychologically prepare to tackle any challenges if present, which can hinder progress in subject mastery.
Olaitan (2009) stated that computer studies is a programme of study designed to give the students a thoroughly but general grounding in the ways computer are used. Computer studies equip the students with knowledge, skills and competencies that will enable them to operate computer efficiently.
Some of the objectives of computer studies in secondary school are as follows (Mundi, 2008):
i. To develop a computer scientific attitude;
ii. To develop an interest in an appreciation of the plan of life through the computer;
iii. To develop or help the child acquire a scientific method of solving problems;
iv. To help the child acquire a useful knowledge of computer science;
To also help the child acquire a useful knowledge of computer science principles.
Computer science according to Brookshear (2013) is “a discipline that seeks to build a scientific foundation for such topics as computer design, computer programming, information processing algorithmic solutions problems, and the algorithmic process itself”. Brookshear (2013) continues to say computer science “provides the underpinnings for today’s computer applications as well as the foundations for tomorrow’s computing infrastructure”. Computer in education can be defined as the process of training and instructing children and young people on how to use and operate the computer to develop basic skills in computing and making contributions to the society. The computer science education curriculum content should be packaged in such a way that it will cover all the necessary area that supposedly affect the teaching and learning of computer science so that students’ performance in the course of study would be enhanced. Teachers and learners alike must approach computer science with an open mind for them to engage in a meaningful interaction during the processes of teaching and learning of computer science.
Any established school curriculum calls for means of implementing it in order to reach the objectives at the various levels. Methods of teaching and learning are planned activities involve in the presentation of the curriculum. The discussion, tutorial, lecture, discovery, or demonstrations are examples of bringing the students into contact with the subject matter. The effectiveness of this contact demands activities and instructional materials. This may be in the form of symbolic and pictorial presentation, real objects and specimens, experiment and demonstration.
Imosie (2012) observed that one of the principles that teachers have to continually bear in mind is that man learns through his senses. He further stated that some students learn better by one or the other of the senses. To some, seeing is believing, to others, the senses of hearing, touch, smell, and taste dominate in acquiring knowledge. For the intended learning to take place, the teacher must communicate effectively with the learners. In order to achieve the efficient communication between him and the learners, the teacher must understand something of the communication process to the extent that it will enhance a wide choice of his way of transmitting his message to his students. According to Mundi (2008), the best way of helping students to learn is to bring them face to face with the world, which the education intends to introduce to them. Using real things in real life situation does this. These real things used to enhance learning are called instructional materials.
Instructional materials are those materials, devices, or techniques that help the teacher to make a realistic approach to his Job. Whether real or substitutes, these representations have a common goal: they help the teacher to transmit the intended message effectively and meaningfully to the students so that the students receive, understand, retain and apply the experience gained to reach overall educational goals. Instructional materials are those things that enable students to have a mental picture of what has been taught and to retain the message in their memory for a very long time. Instructional materials include radio, television, chalkboard, charts, micro-projectors, still pictures, specimen, etc. It can be referred to as those things that the classroom teacher uses to impart knowledge to pupils in the classroom in order to achieve his objectives. Instructional materials refer to materials that are used to facilitate teaching and learning. It enables the teacher to communicate ideas or concepts with ease as they appeal to many senses at a time (Mundi, 2008).
Teaching and learning computer studies is more of practical training than theoretical. Teachers, therefore, should arrange conditions under which students learn more rapidly and effectively. The teacher should select relevant instructional materials to facilitate his teaching and learning. Some instructional materials include computers, made up of the keyboard, mouse, monitor, processor, interface, printers, and disk drives; laboratory, projected pictures, textbooks, and chalkboard. The use of the above instructional materials in teaching and learning computer studies in secondary schools cannot successfully accomplish its objectives without the availability of these instructional materials in schools. There is also additional demand on teachers’ time and competency.
Past studies have bemoaned the non-availability and/or non-utilization of instructional materials for the learning of computer studies as well as other subjects in Nigeria. The level of availability of instructional materials for teaching and learning is very low (Adedijio, 2010; Ogoma, 2011; Nwafor & Eze, 2014; and Arum, 2015). Eya and Neboh (2011) identified four major types of instructional materials the public schools need, which include: two-dimensional materials, three-dimensional materials, audio materials and audio-visual materials. Studies have shown that in most Nigerian schools, materials such as all audio or audio-visual materials like the cassette recorder, tape-recorded materials, radio, projectors, film strips, slides, transparencies, television, and video recorders are not available and where they are provided, they are inadequate (Eya, 2013). Whereas instructional materials such as textbooks and two-dimensional materials are readily available in schools for learning computer studies, three-dimensional materials, audio materials, audiovisual, computers and computer laboratories are not available in most Nigerian secondary schools (Adedijio, 2010; Nwafor & Eze, 2014). This is a situation that seriously hampers the effective teaching and learning of computer studies and acquisition of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills among secondary school students in Nigeria (Akanbi, 2008).
Despite the usefulness of instructional materials in the classroom, Mkpa (2007) observes that many teachers are very reluctant to use them in their teaching. He posits that many teachers use instructional materials last at the time they were being examined or supervised for certification. Now that such supervision is rarely done, they do not bother to use the resources any longer. Corroborating Mkpa’s view, Enem (2012) opines that some teachers find it difficult to use instructional materials in delivering their lessons, probably due to lack of interest, resourcefulness or inadequate training on the need and how to use instructional materials. This goes a long way to reveal that the problem associated with the use of instructional materials in teaching is dove-tailed. The needed materials for computer studies instruction may not be available, and even if they are, teachers may not use them due to ignorance or unwillingness to put in extra effort to enhance their professional competence. This therefore calls for an investigation into the availability and extent of utilization of instructional materials in the learning of computer studies in junior secondary schools in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Statement of the Problem
The importance of the availability and use of instructional materials in the learning computer studies cannot be over-emphasized. When the instructional materials are made available in secondary schools and effectively utilized, students’ interest in learning is awakened and thus offers a good reality of experience, which stimulates self-activity on the part of the students. Despite all these advantages, there are doubts as to whether there are available instructional materials in our secondary schools, and if available, whether they are utilized. Therefore, there is a need for an investigation into teaching and learning computer studies in our secondary school system. Given this scenario, this study sought to ascertain whether instructional materials are available for learning of Computer Studies in junior secondary schools, and if they are, to what extent they are utilized to achieve the aims of Computer Studies instruction in junior secondary schools.
Purpose of the Study
The major purpose of the study is to ascertain the availability and utilization of instructional materials in the learning computer studies in junior secondary schools. Specifically, the study sought to find out:
1. If instructional materials for the learning of Computer Studies are available in junior secondary schools.
2. The frequency with which Computer Studies teachers improvise instructional materials for learning of Computer Studies in junior secondary schools.
3. The extent to which instructional materials are utilized for learning of Computer Studies in junior secondary schools.
Significance of the Study
This study shall be of benefit to:
· Government: to have knowledge of schools that are lacking these instructional materials and make efforts to provide them.
· Students: for when instructional material is available and utilized, learning becomes easier.
· Computer studies teachers: who will utilize the result of this study in making their lessons more simple, interesting and understandable.
· Parents: the results of this study would provide additional information on which schools to send their children after primary school. The recommendations of this study will go a long way towards making educators look inwards in order to solve the problem of teaching and learning computer in secondary schools.
Scope of the Study
The study was carried out in secondary school in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, south-east Nigeria. The study focused on ascertaining the availability of instructional materials and their extent of utilization for learning of computer studies in junior secondary schools within Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The following research questions were drawn to guide the study:
1. Are instructional materials for the learning of Computer Studies available in junior secondary schools?
2. How often do teachers improvise instructional materials for learning Computer Studies in junior secondary schools?
3. To what extent are instructional materials utilized for learning Computer Studies in junior secondary schools?.