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IMPACT OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) ON CLASSROOM TEACHING
1.10Background of the study
It is difficult and maybe even impossible to imagine future learning environments that are not supported, in one way or another, by Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). When looking at the current widespread diffusion and use of ICT in modern societies, especially by the young – the so-called digital generation – then it should be clear that ICT will affect the complete learning process today and in the future. Virtually everywhere across the globe; the African Union (AU), European Union (EU) and the Member States have dedicated effort and resources to the promotion and implementation of ICT in education and training; and they continue to do so (e.g. the EU eLearning Programme and the SourceCrew Virtual Classroom Programme powered by Elluminate).
There is, in other words, a widespread belief that ICTs have an important role to play in changing and modernizing educational systems and ways of learning. There is, however, little scientific evidence of the concrete contributions of ICTs to the learning domain, despite the efforts of the last decades. Hence, there is a need to bring evidence together on the impact of ICT on education and training in Africa.
However, it should be noted that many early online courses, such as those developed in the 1970s and 80s at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, courses at the University of Guelph in Canada, the British Open University, and the online distance courses at the University of British Columbia (where Web CT, now incorporated into Blackboard Inc. was first developed), have always made heavy use of online discussion between students. Also, from the start, practitioners such as Harasim (1995) have put heavy emphasis on the use of learning networks for knowledge construction, long before the term e-learning. There is also an increased use of virtual classrooms (online presentations delivered live) as an online learning platform and classroom for a diverse set of education providers such as Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and Sachem School District.
E-learning is naturally suited to distance learning and flexible learning, but can also be used in conjunction with face-to-face teaching, in which case the term Blended learning is commonly used. E-Learning pioneer Bernard Luskin argues that the "E" must be understood to have broad meaning if e-Learning is to be effective. Luskin says that the "e" should be interpreted to mean exciting, energetic, enthusiastic, emotional, extended, excellent, and educational in addition to "electronic" that is a traditional national interpretation. This broader interpretation allows for 21st century applications and brings learning and media psychology into the equation.
In higher education especially, the increasing tendency is to create a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) (which is sometimes combined with a Management Information System (MIS) to create a Managed Learning Environment) in which all aspects of a course are handled through a consistent user interface standard throughout the institution. A growing number of physical universities, as well as newer online-only colleges, have begun to offer a select set of academic degree and certificate programs via the Internet at a wide range of levels and in a wide range of disciplines. While some programs require students to attend some campus classes or orientations, many are delivered completely online. In addition, several universities offer online student support services, such as online advising and registration, e-counseling, online textbook purchase, student governments and student newspapers.
ICT in form of e-Learning can also refer to educational web sites such as those offering learning scenarios, worksheets and interactive exercises for children. The term is also used extensively in the business sector where it generally refers to cost-effective online training. The recent trend in the e-Learning sector is screencasting. There are many screencasting tools available but the latest buzz is all about the web based screencasting tools which allow the users to create screencasts directly from their browser and make the video available online so that the viewers can stream the video directly. The advantage of such tools is that it gives the presenter the ability to show his ideas and flow of thoughts rather than simply explain them, which may be more confusing when delivered via simple text instructions. With the combination of video and audio, the expert can mimic the one on one experience of the classroom and deliver clear, complete instructions.
From the learner's point of view this provides the ability to pause and rewind and gives the learner the advantage of moving at their own pace, something a classroom cannot always offer.
1.11Statement of the problem
One of the major challenges confronting the educational sector in Nigeria is the scaring discrepancy between the astronomical increase in the number of applicants seeking admission into various higher institutions and the available facilities in these institutions to provide quality education; the main purpose for their existence. Each year the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) register hundreds of thousands of students seeking to get admission into various institutions of higher learning in the country. Unfortunately less than 20 percent of these students are absorbed by these institutions, as the facilities they have on ground can only support fewer students. As a matter of fact, those even admitted by these institutions often outstrip the facilities available to support qualitative education and make the academic environment conducive for learning environment. It is therefore not a surprise that in most of these institutions students are often cramped up in lecture rooms, with most of the students struggling to get themselves desks and chairs just to listen to lectures. More outrageous and embarrassing is the situation whereby students sit on the floor while some hang on window frames just to be in the class and listen to their lecturers.
The horrible situation of students sitting on the floor and hanging on the window frames in classes so they can receive lectures is not faced by the students alone. The lecturers also have their own share of this unfortunate situation in our institutions of higher learning. For instance due to huge number of students they have in their classes, lecturers dissipate their energy while lecturing as they need to shout, not speak, for them to be audible enough that the students can hear them. No public address system and when there is, there is often no electricity to power it. Obviously the productivity of both the lecturers and students are negatively affected. And ultimately the prior aim of these institutions (providing quality education of international standard) is defeated.
The introduction and adoption of effective and efficient ICTs will surely go a long way in ameliorating the above sorry situation but will also compliment the effort of these institutions in task of providing quality education. It is a creative and an innovative development that allow teachers to teach more comfortably and conveniently. Especially in a virtual classroom where the presence of teachers and students are not necessarily required, this is made possible through a web collaboration technology. Virtual classroom just like physical classroom is interactive, and in a densely populated area, it puts the institution in a vantage position to admit more students than they currently do without compromising the quality and standard of education the offer, but rather improves it.
1.12Objectives of the study
The objective of this project is to describe the impact of ICT on teaching in classrooms through students and teachers in various institutions of higher learning. And by this objective the goals include:
§ Ameliorating the present problem and challenges faced by institutions of (higher) learning in Nigeria in terms of matching up their facilities with the number of students the admit into their schools.
§ To create a conducive teaching and learning environment for lecturers and students respectively via eLearning.
§ To build an online network and community among the teachers and students.
§ To bring up the Nigeria higher institutions, lecturers and students to technological development and innovations as they are related to eLearning.
1.13Purpose of the study
The main purpose of this study is to examine the impact of ICT in classrooms implementing ICT equipments and tools in teaching-learning process as a media and methodology. Generally, to familiarize teachers and students with the use and workings of computers, and related social and ethical issues, and also to provide the prospects and trends of integrating information and communication technology (ICT) into the general educational activities.
The probable research questions are:
· What are the factors responsible for the under-utilization of the capabilities of our school teachers/higher institution lecturers in terms of ICT?
· What role can the government play in the overhauling of our teachers/lecturers productivities in terms of technological advancement?
· What role has our higher institutions played in matching up their facilities with the international standard such that many of our lecturers can be reckoned with anywhere in the world?
· What is the degree of readiness of our teachers and lecturers in terms of teaching with the state of the art technology?
The following hypothesis were formulated from the research questions:
Information and communication technology is a strong catalyst to reform and improve classroom teaching.
The opposing hypothesis is: the true improvement is found in schools which use the technology as a supplement to their materials, not as a catalyst, and improvement is achieved when technology is applied in specific educational problems.
The successful operation of the ICT system in the classrooms will help students to achieve higher learning skills even if the quality of the instructional materials may be low. The academic achievement is dependent on the teachers’ roles and the school’s expectations (goals), not on the instructional materials and the information gathered from using the ICT system.
The opposing hypothesis stated that: the use of the ICT will lower the academic achievement due to wasted time spent on reviewing lower quality materials from the web sites.
The success of the implementation of the ICT depends on the level of teachers’ ability to integrate it in their teaching-learning situations. This hypothesis states that teachers mediate the use of the ICT and that the ICTs intellectual value is strongly related to the teachers’ ability.
The opposing hypothesis is: the successful adoption of the ICT is determined by the schools’ technological infrastructure and the students’ ability to use the ICT rather than the teachers’ abilities.
The gap between the haves vs. have-nots on the technological knowledge should not widen if there is an equal access to the ICT system.
The opposing hypothesis is: there will be an increased gap between the haves vs. have-nots on the technological knowledge if there is an equal access to the ICT system.
1.16Significance of the study
The increasing use of technology in all aspects of society makes confident, creative and productive use of ICT an essential skill for life. ICT capability encompasses not only the mastery of technical skills and techniques, but also the understanding to apply these skills purposefully, safely and responsibly in learning, everyday life and employment. ICT capability is fundamental to participation and engagement in modern society.
ICT can be used to find, develop, analyze and present information, as well as to model situations and solve problems. ICT enables rapid access to ideas and experiences from a wide range of people, communities and cultures, and allows students to collaborate and exchange information on a wide scale. ICT acts as a powerful force for change in society, and citizens should have an understanding of the social, ethical, legal and economic implications of its use, including how to use ICT safely and responsibly. Increased capability in the use of ICT supports initiative and independent learning, as pupils are able to make informed judgements about when and where to use ICT to enhance their learning and the quality of their work.
Discussed below are some of the significance of ICT to classroom teaching:
· Access to variety of learning resources
In the era of technology, ICT aids plenty of resources to enhance the teaching skills and learning ability. With the help of ICT now it is easy to provide audio visual education. The learning resources are being widens and widen. Now with this vivid and vast technique as part of the ICT curriculum, learners are encouraged to regard computers as tools to be used in all aspects of their studies. In particular, they need to make use of the new multimedia technologies to communicate ideas, describe projects, and order information in their work.
· Immediacy to information
IT has provided immediacy to education. Now in the year of computers and web networks the pace of imparting knowledge is very very fast and one can be educated anywhere at any time. New IT has often been introduced into well-established patterns of working and living without radically altering them. For example, the traditional office, with secretaries working at keyboards and notes being written on paper and manually exchanged, has remained remarkably stable, even if personal computers have replaced typewriters.
· Any time learning
Now in the year of computers and web networks the pace of imparting knowledge is very fast and one can be educated. One can study whenever he wills irrespective of whether it is day or night and irrespective of being in Nigeria or in US because of the boom in ICT.
· Collaborative learning
Now ICT has made it easy to study as well as teach in groups or in clusters. With the online collaboration technology we can be united together to do the desired task. Efficient postal systems, the telephone (fixed and mobile), and various recording and playback systems based on computer technology all have a part to play in educational broadcasting in the new millennium. The Internet and its Web sites are now familiar to many children in developed countries and among educational elites elsewhere, but it remains of little significance to very many more, who lack the most basic means for subsistence.
· Multimedia approach to education
Audio-Visual Education, planning, preparation, and use of devices and materials that involve sight, sound, or both, for educational purposes. Among the devices used are still and motion pictures, filmstrips, television, transparencies, audiotapes, records, teaching machines, computers, and videodiscs. The growth of audio-visual education has reflected developments in both technology and learning theory.
Studies in the psychology of learning suggest that the use of audio-visuals in education has several advantages. All learning is based on perception, the process by which the senses gain information from the environment. The higher processes of memory and concept formation cannot occur without prior perception. People can attend to only a limited amount of information at a time; their selection and perception of information is influenced by past experiences. Researchers have found that, other conditions being equal, more information is taken in if it is received simultaneously in two modalities (vision and hearing, for example) rather than in a single modality. Furthermore, learning is enhanced when material is organized and that organization is evident to the student.
These findings suggest the value of audio-visuals in the educational process. They can facilitate perception of the most important features, can be carefully organized, and can require the student to use more than one modality.
· Authentic and up to date information
The information and data which are available on the net is purely correct and up to date.
Internet, a collection of computer networks that operate to common standards and enable the computers and the programs they run to communicate directly provides true and correct information.
· Online library
ICT support thousands of different kinds of operational and experimental services one of which is online library. We can get plenty of data on this online library.
As part of the ICT curriculum, learners are encouraged to regard computers as tools to be used in all aspects of their studies. In particular, they need to make use of the new multimedia technologies to communicate ideas, describe projects, and order information in their work. This requires them to select the medium best suited to conveying their message, to structure information in a hierarchical manner, and to link together information to produce a multidimensional document.
· Distance learning
Distance Learning, method of learning at a distance rather than in a classroom. Late 20th-century communications technologies, in their most recent phases multimedia and interactive, open up new possibilities, both individual and institutional, for an unprecedented expansion of home-based learning, much of it part-time. The term distance learning was coined within the context of a continuing communications revolution, largely replacing a hitherto confusing mixed nomenclature—home study, independent study, external study, and, most common, though restricted in pedagogic means, correspondence study. The convergence of increased demand for access to educational facilities and innovative communications technology has been increasingly exploited in face of criticisms that distance learning is an inadequate substitute for learning alongside others in formal institutions. A powerful incentive has been reduced costs per student. At the same time, students studying at home themselves save on travel time and other costs.
Whatever the reasoning, distance learning widens access for students unable for whatever reason (course availability, geographical remoteness, family circumstances, individual disability) to study alongside others. At the same time, it appeals to students who prefer learning at home. In addition, it appeals to organizers of professional and business education, providing an incentive to rethink the most effective way of communicating vital information.
· Better accesses to children with disabilities
Information and communication technology has brought drastic changes in the life of disabled children. ICT provides various software and technique to educate these poor peoples. Unless provided early with special training, people profoundly deaf from birth are incapable of learning to speak. Deafness from birth causes severe sensory deprivation, which can seriously affect a person's intellectual capacity or ability to learn. A child who sustains a hearing loss early in life may lack the language stimulation experienced by children who can hear. The critical period for neurological plasticity is up to age seven. Failure of acoustic sensory input during this period results in failure of formation of synaptic connections and, possibly, an irremediable situation for the child. A delay in learning language may cause a deaf child's academic progress to be slower than that of hearing children. The academic lag tends to be cumulative, so that a deaf adolescent may be four or more academic years behind his or her hearing peers. Deaf children who receive early language stimulation through sign language, however, generally achieve academically alongside their hearing peers.
1.17Scope of the study
The impact of the ICT on learning can be approached in different ways. There is no single concept of learning through the use of ICT. Many different types can be envisaged: computer assisted learning, web-learning, computer-classes, online training, distance education, eLearning, virtual learning, digital training, etc. In this study, a broad view on ICT and teaching is taken. Consequently, its impact on the teaching process does encompass not only traditional teaching outcomes but also the use of ICT by students (learning), the organizational use of ICT by education and training institutions, and, last but not least, the impact of ICT-enabled education on, for instance, personal development, confidence and self esteem.
ICT is an increasingly influential factor in education. Computers and are used in developed countries both to complement established education practices and develop new ways of learning such as online education (a type of distance education). This gives students the opportunity to choose what they are interested in learning. The proliferation of computers also means the increase of programming and blogging. Technology offers powerful learning tools that demand new skills and understandings of students, including Multimedia, and provides new ways to engage students, such as Virtual learning environments. One such tool are virtual classrooms, which are an "interactive, Web-based visual representation of a dynamic object that presents opportunities for constructing mathematical knowledge" (Moyer, Bolyard, & Spikell, 2002). In short, virtual classrooms are dynamic visual/pictorial replicas of physical mathematical manipulatives, which have long been used to demonstrate and teach various mathematical conc
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