AVAILABILITY AND UTILIZATION OF ICT FACILITIES IN THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF SOCIAL STUDIES
Background of study
Secondary education is the second level of theeducational system. Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) 2014 asserted that secondary education is the form of education children receive after primary education and before the tertiary stage/level. The broad aim of secondary education is to prepare individuals for higher education and also to prepare them for useful living within the society they live. Secondary education consists of senior secondary schools and junior secondary schools. According to Federal Republic of Nigeria FRN (2014) the junior secondary schools will be both prevocational and academic in nature. It will teach all the basic subjects which will enable the students to acquire further knowledge and develop skills. This study is centred on social studies which is taught at the junior secondary level.
The primary purpose of social studies is to develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse,democratic societyin an interdependent world (National Council of the Social Studies, 1994). The great architects of American public education, such as Thomas Jefferson, Horace Mann, and John Dewey, believed that every student must be well versed in his nation's history, the principles and practices which undergird citizenship, and the institutions that define our government. Understandings of commerce and geography were critical to their thinking as well. In essence, Jefferson, Mann, and Dewey viewed the study of social studies as critical to the mission of public schools. Indeed, they would applaud the inclusion of a "responsible and involved citizen" in the Guiding Principles, as well as social studies as one of eight content areas in the Learning Results.
A strong social studies education depends upon a clear understanding of its interrelated disciplines. Without knowledge of the geography and economics of earlier times, history offers only lists of people, events, and dates. Without knowledge of history, the institutions of American government and the dynamics of today's global economy are difficult to understand. Although social studies curricula vary in their breadth and depth, the Social Studies Standards reflect a focus on government, history, geography, and economics as the pillars of the content, with other disciplines within the social sciences deemed important, but not essential.
The Social Studies Standards refer to “various" peoples, nations, regions of the world, historical eras, and enduring themes. School administrative units should develop a local curriculum that assists students in gaining a coherent, broad perspective on a variety of peoples, nations, regions, historical eras, and enduring themes
The world is moving towards globalization process through information and communication technology (ICT). Information and communication technology (ICT) includes the entire modern electronic device used in various sectors of our economy. It cuts across all aspects of human endeavour such as education, industry, medicine and financial institutions. Anaele and Vigil (2010) opined that information and communication technology is an umbrella term that includes any communication device or applications encompassing radio, television, cellular phones, computer networks, hardware and software, satellite etc. Information and communication is used in education to enhance teaching and learning.
Information and communication technology (ICT) revolution has rapidly improved the process of learning and the acquisition of knowledge and is equally transforming the world in unexpected ways (Arunachalam, 2005). This has facilitated the paradigm shift from the traditional instructional material or traditional pedagogical methods to a more modern and innovative technologically based teaching and learning methods. The emergence of information and communication technology (ICT) has completely overhauled ways in which to access, process, retrieve and disseminate information within organizations or across the globe and it has positively affected the teaching - learning process (Anaekwe, 2003).
The use of Information and communication technology (ICT) facilities in teaching implies the application of the facilities in collecting, processing, analyzing, managing, storing and retrieving information or data which could be used to enhance, stimulate or promote teaching and learning. Therefore, the application of Information and communication technology (ICT) to the teaching of social studies topics provides flexibility to meet the varied learning needs and abilities of learners. According to Akpan (2008), ICT utilization in teaching is capable of yielding the following dividends:
- Learners are provided with immediate access to richer source of materials
- Provide information in new and relevant ways, which helps learners to understand, assimilate and use it more readily.
- Information and communication technology ICT utilization in teaching motivate and stimulate learning
- Enhances learning for learners with special needs
- Motivate learners to try out new ideas and take risk
- Information and communication technology ICT encourages teachers to take fresh look at how they teach and ways in which students learn.
- Information and communication technology ICT utilization sharpens learners’ attention and also offers potentials for effective group and individual work.
Information and communication technology ICT facilities on their own do not enhance or stimulate the teaching process, they need to be manipulated, and this has to do with the teachers’ ability to utilize the available and accessible ICT facilities. Pacey (1999) stated that awareness towards the use of Information and communication technology ICT in teaching is increasing in the classroom in the developing world such that, mere verbalization of words alone in the classroom to communicate ideas, skills and attitude to educate learners is fast fading away.
Despite the enormous usefulness of Information and communication technology ICT utilization in the teaching process, it is obvious that most teachers in our secondary schools today lack the requisite knowledge on the use of the facilities. Apart from the requisite knowledge by teachers, Information and communication technology ICT facilities in most secondary schools are not adequate, not accessible, and there is gross absence of support materials and staff. Though, the benefits of using Information and communication technology ICT in teaching social studies are enormous, the successful application of Information and communication technology ICT in teaching social studies is largely dependent on the teachers’ ability to use the available ICT facilities in the classroom. According to Yusuf (2005) the effectiveness of instructional delivery depends on the teachers’ ability to effectively use ICT facilities to enhance his teaching. There are different ICT facilities that can be used for teaching depending on the situation. ICT facilities commonly used/employed for teaching in the area under study are: non-interactive ICT, interactive ICT and multimedia ICT facilities.
Non-interactive ICT: a non interactive program is one that, when started, continues without requiring human contact. A compiler is a non interactive program, as are all batch processing applications.
Interactive ICT: Interactive processing means that the person needs to provide the computer with instructions whilst it is doing the processing. For example, imagine that a computer is running a program that takes a set of files from one directory and does some work on each one. As each file is processed the computer sends a screen message to the operator "Where do you want this file to be stored". i.e. the user 'interacts' with the computer to complete the processing.
Multimedia ICT: Multimedia enables us to provide a way by which learners can experience their subject in various manners. The key to providing this experience is by presenting graphic, video and audio simultaneously to engender the students’ interest rather than presenting them one after the other. The appeal of multimedia learning is best illustrated by the popularity of video games currently available in the market (Beichner, 1994). Therefore multimedia can be defined as an integration of multiple media elements (audio, video, graphics, text, animation etc) into one synergetic and symbiotic whole which results in more benefits for the end user than any one of the multiple media elements can provide individually (Fenrich, 1997).
A careful look at the secondary schools in Awgu Local Government Area Of Enugu State reveal that many teachers still rely more on the traditional “talk and chalk” method of teaching rather than embracing the use of Information and communication technology ICT. There is the need therefore to replace the traditional pedagogical practices that still underpin our educational system in the state, hence the need for the utilization of ICT to boost the teaching process and method.
It is important that mention be made of public and private schools in Awgu local government Area. According to National Center for Education Statistics (NCES 2014), Public schools are schools which are maintained at the expense of the state government for the education of the children of a given district and that constitute a part of a system of free education. Private schools, also known as independent schools, non-governmental or non state schools, are not administered by local, state or national government, thus, they retain the right to select their students and are funded in whole or in part by asking their students to pay high amount of money as tuition rather than relying on mandatory taxation through public (government) funding. Private school is a school under the financial and managerial control of a private body or charitable trust, accepting mostly fee-paying pupils. It is also an independent school supported wholly by the payment of fees. A school supported by a private organization or private individuals rather than by the state.
The defining distinction between public and private schools is their different sources of support. Public schools depend primarily on local, state, and federal government funds, while private schools are usually supported by tuition payments and sometimes by funds from other non-public sources such as religious organizations, endowments, grants, and charitable donations.
It may also be obvious that in secondary schools in Awgu local Government Area, ICT facilities are either provided and are insufficient or that the teachers may lack the requisite skills to adequately use the facilities, hence they have been minimally used to enhance the teaching of social studies in such areas as practical lessons, experiments, teaching large classes, conducting and grading of assessment tests. It is therefore against this background that this study seeks to determine the availability and utilization of ICT in teaching social Studies in Secondary Schools in Awgu Local Government of Enugu State.
Statement of Problem
Information and communication technology is already a vital factor in the successful development of education; therefore, teaching and learning for the new emerging societies require effective utilization of ICT’S to facilitate instructional delivery.
The federal republic of Nigeria (FRN, 2002) in line with the global best practices in the field of education came up with a national IT policy. The national IT policy’s strategies for education include the integration of it into the mainstream of education, training and the establishment of facilities for electronic and distance learning networks and ensuring internet connectivity among others.
Despite these efforts by both government and non-governmental agencies in making ICT facilities readily available and accessible to schools, some vital areas of ICT application in teaching appear not attended to in secondary schools in Awgu local government area of Enugu state.
The implications of this scenario are far reaching to the field of education in general and social studies education in particular. If social studies teachers and students do not take full advantage of ICT in teaching and learning, the chances to expand educational opportunities or improve the quality of existing education could be lost. More also, the opportunities to provide social studies teacher education to a broader audience are hampered as much as the vision and mission of education are mere dreams. It has been noticed that in most secondary schools in Agwu local government area, ICT facilities are not made available or accessible to enhance their adequate utilization, while in some cases, the teachers lack the requisite knowledge on ICT utilization even when it is available, and in other cases the facilities are inadequate which may also be responsible for the poor quality of graduates produced in our secondary schools in terms of knowledge of social studies. The problem of this study is to identify the ICT facilities that are available for teaching and their utilization by teachers for the purposes of teaching social studies in Awgu local government of Enugu state.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study was to determine the availability and utilization of ICT in teaching social studies in junior secondary schools in Awgu local government area of Enugu state. Specifically, the study sought to:
1. Identify the various Information and Communication tools available for the teaching and learning of social studies
2. Determine the extent of utilization of in the teaching of social in public secondary schools in Awgu local Government Area of Enugu state
3. Identify the factors that hinder the effective utilization of ICT facilities for the teaching and learning of social studies?
4. Suggest strategies that can be employed to improve the effective use of ICT facilities in the teaching and learning of social studies?
Significance of the Study
The following people will benefit from the study:
Social studies education teachers: will find the findings of this study quite beneficial, as they will be exposed to the need to regularly use ICT facilities to enhance their teaching. The findings will also serve as a parameter for self-evaluation for the teachers who will also see the need to develop ICT competences or requisite skills and how to use ICT facilities to access resource materials for teaching social studies subjects in secondary schools. They will also be encouraged to use ICT facilities effectively to improve the quality of their presentations in class, select the appropriate facility for particular lessons, motivate students to achieve positive attitudes to learning of social studies subjects and identify aspects of the subjects where students’ individual needs can be met more effectively through the appropriate use of ICT resources.
Educational administrators/policy formulators: at the various levels will benefit immensely from the findings of this research work because it will fashion their administrative approaches in terms of training and retraining of staff along the line
of ICT competence, the type of facilities or equipment to acquire (in terms of quantity and quality), staff recruitment, provision of infrastructure, e.g. Classroom and lecture theatre. Methods of instructional delivery will also be designed by the teacher in collaboration with educational administrator to accommodate the utilization of ICT facilities. Educational administrators will greatly benefit from the findings of this study as it relates to organizational approach to more flexible teaching/learning, research oriented education and flexible attitude to time and space.
Students: will equally benefit from the outcome of this research work because they will be exposed to the numerous benefits of ICT utilization during the teaching of social studies. These benefits include, arousing their curiosity whereby, they will be engaged in meaningful and relevant learning, and exposure to construction of knowledge which will reduce the risk of failure. ICT utilization will improve their creativity, become useful aids to problem- solving, lead to unrestricted access to learning materials and the use of ICT facilities for researches.
It will help the students to identify and appreciate other ICT facilities such as CD-ROM, slides, tapes, other than internet and computer. This will enable them exploit the information contained therein either for their assignment, class work or research work.
Scope of the Study
The study is delimited to finding out the available ICT facilities in teaching social studies in junior secondary schools, the extent to which the available facilities are being used, the factors that hinder the utilization of ICT facilities, and ways of improving on them in junior secondary schools in Awgu local government area of Enugu state. The secondary schools chosen for this study are public and privately owned secondary schools. The subject of this study comprises of teachers, students, researchers, principals/school administrators etc.
The study was guided by the following research questions:
1. What Information and Communication tools available are for the teaching and learning of social studies?
2. To what extent are ICT facilities utilized for the teaching and learning of social studies?
3. What factors hinder the effective utilizatio.