Educational Technology; An Enhancement Tool For Teaching And Learning

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Educational Technology; An Enhancement Tool For Teaching And Learning


Abstract


The aims of this study are to identify implementation of policies on Educational technology in teaching and learning activities, and challenges in the implementation of educational technology in a Nigeriaese higher education context. This study provides insights on understanding how policies concerning technology are implemented in this national context and what challenges are faced in the sector of higher education in this developing country.

Empirically, the study applies a qualitative approach and a case study research design in order to investigate and collect detailed, comprehensive information on challenges faced in the use of educational technology in a selected educational institution in Nigeria. The study is methodologically based on a combination of document analysis and interviews. The interviews are conducted to elicit views of leadership, teachers and students. Relevant official documents are examined. The physical infrastructure of this case-context is presented as a supplement to the findings from interviews and document analysis. The data are analysed and interpreted from the perspective of Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) developed by Leonti’v (1978, 1981) and further elaborated and expanded by Engeström (1987).

The results indicate that lack of infrastructure is a main challenge. Moreover, the lack of plans and strategies for technology use also seems to emerge as a challenge. In addition to this, the observed case institution is facing challenges related to teacher motivation. Finally, based on these major findings, the study recommends the institution to start formulating strategic plans in line with higher education policies and Educational technology policies in order to monitor and follow up the incentives given by the ministries. In addition, a more supportive infrastructure needs to be developed for technology use in order to successfully implement technology in teaching and learning activities.


Chapter One


Introduction

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 Study

The focus of this study is to uncover policy measures that are relevant for technology implementation in Nigeria’s higher education and how this is followed up in practical implementation at the selected case institution of the Faculty of Education, in Nigeria. In order to approach this overarching goal, the following study aims are presented to guide the study:

  1. To identify the implementation of Educational technology policies in schools, in Nigeria and
  2. To identify the challenges faced in the implementation of educational technology in schools.

1.4 Research Questions

In order to achieve these aims, the following research questions are formulated.

  1. What are the policies and strategies regarding the use of educational technologies in Nigeria and how is this approached in schools?
  2. What educational technologies are used in practical teaching and in student learning in schools,?
  3. What challenges are faced in the implementation of educational technology in this setting?

The first research question is stated in order to identify Educational technology policies in Nigeriaese higher education and how this can be related to strategies in teaching and learning at the faculty studied in this study. The second question addresses the kinds of technologies that are used by teachers and how students perceive this technology use. Finally, the third question addresses the aspects of technology implementation and challenges these practices are facing in comparison to the policy expectations in the sector.


1.5 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.

1.6 Limitation of the Study

All research is confined to limitations both regarding data collection and the conclusions that can be drawn from the findings. It is based on only the challenges about technology use in teaching and learning in this context. As a result, the findings of the study do not cover other aspects of technology use.

The current study is further based on a small number of informants selected purposively due to limited time of the field work. Further, data were collected mainly through interviews and documents although observation of physical environment during the field work contributed to the study. Therefore, findings of the study cannot be generalized to other contexts without clear reservations of these limitations. This study is further limited to the analysis of a small sample of official documents.


1.7 Scope of the Study

This study is divided into five chapters with sub sections. The first chapter deals with introductory part of the study followed by statement of the problem, and aims of the study and research questions.

The second chapter deals with literature review which introduces technology and education. It also provides some insights on technology integration higher education in particular. It especially deals with challenges with regard to technology use in developed and developing countries. Further, it presents planning implementation of technology in developing countries, followed by summing up section, and also provides the theoretical background for this study. First of all, this chapter introduces Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) with its development. It further presents core concepts of CHAT and CHAT as theoretical basis for the current study. Finally, it describes CHAT contradeducationaltechnologyions as analytical framework, followed by summing up.

The third chapter introduces various aspects of methodology employed in this study. Firstly, it deals with qualitative research design along with rationale for selection of this approach for this study. Secondly, it discusses about a case study research design employed in this study,

followed by empirical context. Thirdly, the next section is concerned with methods of data collection. Further, it deals with purposive sampling and procedures for data analysis and interpretation. Finally, it presents issues of validity and reliability, ethical issues and limitation of the study.

The fourth chapter dealing with data presentation and analysis consists of several sections. It presents an analysis of policy on technology use in Nigeria’s higher education

The fifth chapter is concerned with concluding remarks with recommendations on what implications the findings from this study regarding technology use in teaching and learning both in the given case and in Nigeria’s higher education as such.


Chapter Five


Recommendation and Conclusion

This final chapter presents an overall concluding remarks drawn from the findings of the study. Further, based on the findings of the current study, it presents recommendations for researchers, policy makers, educationists, etc., who directly or indirectly involve in teaching and learning activities.


5.1 Conclusion

The findings of this study show developing countries like Nigeria are facing many challenges in technology adoption.

In the empirical case of FoE, which is a leading faculty in terms of students and staff in the field of teacher education throughout the country (, 2014), lacks typical shortcomings in its own strategic plans on effective management and enhancement for improving the quality of the whole teaching and learning system. Also, the physical infrastructure is unsupportive for technology use. Therefore, one reason behind this is the lack of well-crafted plans and policy documents at the institutional level in line with the Proposed Higher Education Policy-2014 and EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY Policy-2015.

Various research regarding these issues prove that technology can benefit both teaching and learning activities when used in the right way, enriching the learning environment with tools that extend the possibilities of communication between teachers and learners and the world (Ferreira et al., 2014). Thus, technology use should be prioritized especially in developing countries. But technology use in Nigeriaese higher education is not highly prioritized despite direction and encouragement for the integration of EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGYs in higher education (Ministry of Information and Communication, 2015; University Grants Commission, 2014). Awareness of typical pitfalls in developing countries seem here to be overlooked in both political and institutional respects.

Despite the lack of supportive physical environment equipped and advanced with technology, few technologies are used to enhance teachers and learners in their teaching and learning.

More importantly, teachers and students in the whole perceive technology as a useful tool which can create interactive learning environment providing them with an opportunity of sharing messages, views, ideas, learning resources, etc. It is therefore clear that attitudes regarding technology use are positive, which paves an important ground for further reform efforts. Nevertheless, few teachers seem unmotivated to blend technology in teaching and learning processes, which as a result, affects successful implementation of EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY (Khan et al., 2012).

But, in order to overcome the main shortcomings identified in this study, solid plans and evaluation strategies on technology use and implementation are clearly required.


5.2 Recommendations

The current study shows that the institution i.e. FoE has no policy and strategic documents holding the institution accountable. It is therefore, strongly recommended that the institution must start formulating a policy document in line with higher education policies and EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY policies following up the incentives given by the ministries. Similarly, it is recommended that the evaluation of implemented technology should be carried out on a regular basis so that its effectiveness can be identified, which ultimately can also provide an opportunity for leaders and teachers to learn from their experiences and make informed decisions on how the institution should go further with strategies in practical work.

The potential of technology use at the institution is also limited due to unsupportive physical infrastructure identified during the observations. The institution lacks classrooms equipped with technological equipment. It is thus necessary that the institution needs to initiate developing a more supportive infrastructure. More specifically, classrooms should be smartened with necessary technologies, and technological equipment should be made available for teachers and students. This could technologically enrich classrooms to offer students new instructional and learning experiences, and promote a more interactive teaching and learning environment (Earle, 2002).

This study also revealed that students mostly use smart mobile phones in their learning. For example, mobile phones provide students with the facility of sharing messages, views and solutions on a particular subject matter. Therefore, mobile phone technology emerges as a beneficial tool to enhance learning and teaching environment. This technology could be used more systematically to provide students and teachers with the opportunity to access to

information and engage interactively (Abachi& Muhammad, 2014). Hence, it is suggested that mobile technologies should be further explored for other possibilities to digitize the educational setting. The potential in these efforts is especially interesting since the technology is cheap, easily available and can draw on an existing and more well-functioning infrastructure.

Since the study revealed that teacher’s attitudes towards technology use is positive, this use on mobile technology appears as realistic regarding motivation. However, few teachers are not motivated. In this regard, Tarus, Gichoya, and Muumbo (2015) claim that lack of interest of the teaching staff to use technology in teaching poses a challenge hindering the implementation of e-learning. Therefore, it is necessary to identify possible factors demotivating them in using technology also in the future to enhance teaching and learning in this matter.

Similarly, the study revealed students’ involvement in technology use in their learning is less focused. It is therefore important to train students to use EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGYs to support them in learning.
Finally, it is implied that more research on technology use in Nigeriaese higher education context from neutral parties rather than from those who are directly or indirectly connected with should be carried out so that there will be less chances of having biasness and influence in the findings of the study with regard to the situation of technology use at the university (Kirkwood, 2015). Documenting the features identified in the case-study in this study hopefully represents a possible step in the right direction both regarding the Faculty of Education, but also for the higher education sector as such in Nigeria.


Educational Technology; An Enhancement Tool For Teaching And Learning


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