STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF COMPUTER STUDIES IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Background of the study:
Computer is rapidly becoming available to many individuals in our society and there is no doubt that it is affecting the way we live and do things today. Computer now plays a vital role in almost every aspect of our life. Computers are now fundamental component of our schools, health care etc. Ourbanking systemand investment cannot function effectively without computers. Some of our medical and scientific facilities now depend entirely upon computer based system. In fact, every day it gets harder to find any type business, educational institutions or a government office that does not use computers and Information, Communication Technology (ICT) in some ways. There is probably no better indication of how advanced a society is than how computerized it is.
As computer began to find usage in a variety of fields, more people have learnt how to use or operate them resulting in an effective teaching and learning in society. This is a total shift from the past when only highly trained specialized employees know how to use computers. Today, computer usage has moved from computer specialists to non-computer specialists. Currently there is a steady increase in the number of people undergoing one form of computer training or the other to be able to fit in a world of technological changes. Again, one of the fundamental demands in many established interviews for job seeker is computer literacy skill. Many people have failed to secure jobs which they are qualified for only for lack of knowledge and skills in computer operations (Ayogu, 2008).
The use of computer as a facility is possible and necessary in our school system. Its use can aid communication among students. Computer communication has played and is still playing an important role, not only in schools, but also in offices, hospitals, libraries and in homes. At the secondary school level, computers enable the students communicate at fast, accurate and convenient pace to other people through e-mail. In computer training institutes, business centres, schools, companies etc. computer training for effective teaching and learning programs are being organized to meet the yearnings of the National Policy on Education which stipulates that computer training should be organized in order to enhance effective teaching and learning of computer concepts in schools as theFederal Ministry of Educationintroduced computer studies at all levels of education in Nigeria (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004).
The term computer studies have been used interchangeably. In some cases it has been referred to as computer education while in other cases it is called computer literacy. In whatever way, it means the same thing. Computer education is the effort or the ability to make the generality of the people computer literate. They went further to state that computer education (literacy) means ability to tell the computer what you want it to do and understand what the computer says. Computer literacy as the ability to be able to read, write and speak the language of the computer. It can also be looked at as a process of educating the people on how to use a computer to run a program and diverse application including business, industry and commerce (Okorie, 2001). Computer studies according to Edhuze (2003) involve teaching and inculcating in the learner the basic skills required to independently manipulate the computer to achieve educational goals. He further stated that, computer studies as a subject is aimed at making students acquire skills and competencies required in this digital word of competitiveness. Such basic skills and competencies upon graduation make them conversant with term and practices embedded in the world of computer. Computer studies are therefore a subject organized to enable people understand the function, uses and limitations of the computer and to provide an opportunity for the study of the modern methods of information processing. However, computer science, computer related courses and other subjects are now offered in schools: (primary, secondary and tertiary institutions). Sending and receiving data electronically will take only a few seconds. In information processing, computer can sort or search through huge amount of information in a flash. Computer communication makes any information needed easily and widely available irrespective of distant between the two destinations. But the effort to ensure effective teaching and learning among students has not been without challenges and setbacks. In schools especially in secondary school level, some schools have computers but no qualify computer teacher to teach while some have been hearing of computer but have not seen it with their eyes. Government has been promising schools on the provision of computer and its facilities without fulfilling their promises. We all know too well that computer has a lot of benefits and it is very important to impart the knowledge to the younger once for they are the leaders of tomorrow still the government and schools don’t want to implement it effectively in schools.
Some strategies need to be looked at since it has really affect effective teaching and learning of computer in secondary schools. Firstly, most of the teachers who are supposed to teach these computer assisted instruction are posted to urban schools and even those in the urban schools are inadequate while others does not have the basic knowledge of computers, since one cannot teach another what he/she does not know. Secondly, is lack of fund. In places where there are teachers with such basic knowledge of computer there has been problem of inadequate finance to purchase computer that be used for the studies. Thirdly, is the problem of instructional facilities like electricity. Computer instrument can only be possible with the help of electricity but since most of the secondary schools under this study is located in place where there is no electricity, it becomes very difficult.
Again, there is no better indication of how advance a society is than how computerized for technology rule the world. It is in this view that the researcher embarked on this study in order to highlight the ways forward in enhancing effective teaching and learning of computer education in secondary schools especially in Ezeagu Local Government Area.
Computer according to Alo (2006) is an electronic machine or device that is capable of accepting inputs or data through input devices, process the input and generates appropriate results which are displayed through the output devices.
Strategies are a general plan or set of plans intended to achieve something. It is also a method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future such as achievement of goal.
Teaching is the act of instructing. Teaching is a set of events, outside the learners which are designed to support internal process of learning.
Learning is the process of acquiring new or modifying existing knowledge, behaviours, skills, values etc. It is also the activity or process of gaining knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught, or experiencing something.
Statement of the Problem:
The contemporary breakthrough in science and technology has created the need to use technological devices to do things that were manually done before. This includes the use of computer in many areas in human endevours.
In the academic community, the use of computer for teaching and learning has been encouraged by many educationists. But to what extent computer has improved teaching and learning is another serious area of attention. The use of computer has enhance teaching and learning but not without some fundamental problems. Some teachers who are not computer literate do not see the need to use computer to teach.
In another vain, electricity that powers the computers are not usually present in the sense that there is low supply of electricity across the nation. This has affected the use of computer to teach in schools.
The high costs of computer system and non-availability of some software packages have hindered the effective use of computer for teaching and learning in school.
The poor attitude of some teachers toward the use of computer reduces the effective use of computer in teaching and learning.
Poor performance of students in secondary school certification examination WAEC and other computer base examinations like JAMB is caused by many factors such as lack of computers and its facilities in schools, not allowing students to have access to the computer especially during practical classes, teachers teaching computer without being well trained in computer studies, not employing ICT experts to assist and help train secondary school teachers.
It is against this back drop that the researcher is carrying out a work on the strategies for effective teaching and learning of computer studies in secondary schools.
Purpose of the Study:
The main purpose of the study is to find out the strategies for effective teaching and learning of computer studies in secondary schools in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu state. Specifically, the study seeks to:
i. Identify strategies for promoting effective teaching and learning of computer studies in secondary schools.
ii. Find out motivational skills for teachers to embrace computer training for better impartation of knowledge to students.
Significance of the study:
This work will be beneficial to the following groups and personalities: the ministry of education, students, parents, organizations, teachers, computer software manufacturers, educational researchers etc.
The ministry of education will find this work relevant by accessing the findings on the effective strategies to be adopted so that the use of computers in secondary schools will be effective.
The students who are longing for improvement in their academic pursuit will find the work helpful as different strategies will be itemized on the best approach to use computer to teach.
The parents and guardians will have to key in to the modern means of teaching and learning in schools. The parents will be encouraged to buy computer system and its packages for their children to use for teaching and learning.
Different organizations that are interested in sponsoring school program will find this work easy to supply computer systems to be used in school to enhance teaching and learning.
Teachers will see the need to use it as the modern means of teaching to enhance teaching and learning in schools.
Educational researchers will propel the best means of using computer to browse for information, teach and learn in institutions of higher learning, by encouraging students to learn more.
Scope of the study:
The study intends to determine the strategies for effective teaching and learning of computer studies in secondary schools in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State.
The following research questions guided the study:
1. What are the strategies that are responsible for promoting effective teaching and learning of computer studies in secondary schools?
2. What are the motivational skills for teachers to embrace for better impartation of the knowledge of computer studies to students?.