Influence Of Digital Learning Equipment On The Academic Performance Of Students (A Case Study Of National Open University, Benue State)

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Influence Of Digital Learning Equipment On The Academic Performance Of Students (A Case Study Of National Open University, Benue State)


Abstract


Different technologies have been implemented in the educational system in Norway over the last decade and it has been a subject of debate whether the use of technology enhances students’ educational outcomes. The aim of this master thesis is therefore to analyze the causal effect of the one-to-one laptop program in upper secondary education in Nigeria on the performance in three common core subjects first-choice form of Nigeria, second-choice form of Norwegian, and English. The analysis is performed on a sample of 133 university student.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Digital natives, the net-generation, the digital-generation, and millenniums are all labels to identify today’s learners. Marc Prensky (2001) created the term digital native in his work Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants to describe the generation of learners growing up interacting with digital technology. Marc Prensky (2001), educational author, noted that the average college student has spent less than 5,000 hours of his/her life reading, yet he/she has spent over 10,000 hours playing video games and 20,000 hours watching television. The National School Board Association (2007) reported teens engage in social networking almost as much as they watch television. Marc Prensky (2001) stated, “Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach” (p.1). Media entrepreneur Rupert Murdock (2005) agreed with Prensky when he stated that today’s generation and future generations will “never know a world without ubiquitous broadband Internet access.” Referring to himself as a digital immigrant he continued, “We may never become true digital natives, but we can and must begin to assimilate to their culture and way of thinking” (Murdock, 2005, p. 1). The Nigerian Government has ambitions to raise educational attainment for all learners, and to narrow the gaps in attainment between the most and least disadvantaged children in Nigeria. Tackling youth unemployment is also a priority of the Nigerian Government. It has set a target to reduce the proportion of young people who are not in education, employment or training by 40% by 2020, and Curriculum for Excellence aims to support all children and young people to develop essential skills they will need to live and work in the twenty first century. To help pursue its ambitions, the Nigeria Government has developed initiatives to support and encourage the use of digital technology in schools, with the vision that ‘Scotland’s educators, learners and parents take full advantage of the opportunities offered by digital technology in order to raise attainment, ambition and opportunities for all’. One of the main elements of this work to date has been the delivery of Glow, an online learning environment that provides access to a variety of digital tools and resources, funded by the Scottish Government and made available to all schools across Scotland1 . Education Nigeria recently published a report on the digital technology area of Curriculum for Excellence, which found that ICT is ‘used as an enhancement to learning’ but is ‘on the fringes of the main purpose of tasks or lessons’. In some of the case study schools which provided the findings for the report, inspectors found that ICT can have ‘a much more significant influence on learning which motivates learners and encourages career ambitions using technologies’ but the extent of change in the use of technologies in schools ‘has been modest at best’. The study is of the view that there was more work to be done to place digital technology ‘at the heart of learning’ in Nigeria, and that it had confirmed ‘beyond doubt that our children and young people need digital skills and technologies to be given an absolutely central role in the learning process – no longer an enhancement or ‘bolt-on’, but a foundation and a primary consideration for any planned learning.’ The Nigerian Government has commissioned this literature review to explore how the use of digital technology for learning and teaching can support teachers, parents, children and young people in improving outcomes and achieving its ambitions for education in Nigeria. During the last ten years, there has been much focus on the place of technology in education (Hatlevik et al., 2013). Already in 2013, more than 80 percent of second-year students in upper secondary education reported that they used laptops always or regularly during class. In August 2017, the Norwegian Government presented the new digitization strategy for education, which aims to increase technology literacy among the students to make them more equipped to handle the future (Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, 2017). The strategy states that educational institutions should be in a leading position in digitization as digital literacy will result in better labor market outcomes, and investments in technology at an early stage may increase returns to education drastically. The new knowledge society is based on exploiting technological advancement (Erstad et al., 2005). Gaining access to digital tools in education including laptops will, therefore, be important. However, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) conducted in 70 countries shows that students from countries which have heavily invested in educational information and communications technology (ICT) do not perform better than students in other countries (OECD, 2015b). It is a paradox that extensive investments in digital infrastructure have been made while there is no clear guidance on how to take advantage of the digital devices in teaching (Hatlevik et al., 2009). In the report ICT in Norwegian Education 2013 Hatlevik et al. (2013) show that almost half of the students in the second year of upper secondary school find the use of laptops in classroom disturbing for their educational outcomes. Further, about half of the students agree that they use too much time on non-educational activities and that the laptop (or tablet) displace time from activities that are conducive to learning. To fully exploit the benefits of laptop use in education it must complement existing teaching methods and improve the quality of education (OECD, 2015b). The heavy investments in computers in school are made at the expense of traditional inputs such as educating better teachers and improved learning material (OECD, 2015b). For the program to be economically efficient it should yield better educational outcomes than alternative investments. During the last two decades the higher education institutions have invested heavily in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). ICT have impacted the university context, organization and the teaching and learning methods. One puzzling question is the effective impact of these technologies on student’s achievement and on the returns of education. Plethoric academic researches have tried to answer this question at the theoretical and the empirical levels. They faced two main difficulties. On one hand, student’s performance is hard to observe and there is still confusion about its definition. On the other hand, ICT are evolving technologies and their effects are difficult to isolate from their environment. There’s no standard definition for students’ performance. Standard approach focuses on achievement and curricula. How students understand the courses and obtain their degrees or their marks. However, more extensive definition deals with competencies, skills and attitudes learned through the education experience. The narrow definition allows the observation of the outcomes of any change in higher education. The more extensive definition needs a more complex strategy of observation and a focus on the labour market. The outcomes of education are mainly validated in the labour market. The relationship between the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and students’ performance in Higher Education is not clear. The literature shows contradictory results. Earlier economic research has failed to provide a clear consensus concerning the effect on students’ achievement.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The direct link between digital learning equipment and students’ performance was in the heart of an extensive literature during the last two decades. Several studies have tried to explain the role and the added value of those technologies on classrooms and on student’s performances. The first body of the literature explored the impact of computers uses. Since the Internet revolution, there’s a shift in the literature that focuses more on the impact of online activities: use of Internet, use of educative online platforms, digital devices, use of blogs and wikis. It is against this backdrop that the researcher decide to investigate the effect of digital learning equipment on the academic performance of student.


1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of the study is to ascertain the impact of digital learning equipment on the academic performance of student. To aid the completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following specific objectives;

  1. To investigate the effect of digital learning equipment on the academic performance of student
  2. To ascertain the impact of digital equipment on the learning culture of student
  3. To examine the role of government in enhancing the availability of digital learning equipment in higher institution
  4. To ascertain if there is any relationship between digital learning equipment and student academic performance

1.4 Research Hypotheses

To aid the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

  1. H0: Digital learning equipment does not have any significant effect on the academic performance of students in higher institutions
    H1: Digital learning equipment does have a significant effect on the academic performance of students in higher institutions
  2. H02: There is no significant relationship between digital learning equipment and student academic performance in Nigeria
    H2: There is a significant relationship between digital learning equipment and student academic performance in Nigeria.

1.5 Significance of the Study

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the management of higher institutions as the study seek to investigate if the benefit of digital learning equipment is commensurate with the cost of acquisition. The study will also be of great importance to the student as the study seek to explore the benefit of digital learning in the development of our educational system, the study will also be of great importance to researcher, academia, students and the general public as the study will add to the pool of existing literature, the study will also be of importance to researchers who intends to embark on study on a similar topic on the subject matter


1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers the effect of digital learning equipment on the academic performance of student in Nigeria higher institutions. But in the cause of the study, there were some factors which militate against the scope of the study;

a) Availability Of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Finance:

The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.


1.7 Operational Definition of Terms

Digital learning equipment

Digital learning is any type of learning that is facilitated by technology or by instructional practice that makes effective use of technology. It encompasses the application of a wide spectrum of practices including: blended and virtual learning

ICT

Information and communication technology is another/extensional term for information technology which stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications,

Technology

Technology is the collection of techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific investigation


1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  1. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  2. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  3. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  4. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  5. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to investigate the effect of digital learning equipment on the academic performance of student.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given.

In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of digital learning equipment on the academic performance of student.


5.2 Summary

It is important to note that the research literature has some shortcomings for a study of this kind. Much of it describes uses of digital tools and resources without any assessment of the outcomes or how and why they were achieved or not achieved. Most studies that attempt to measure any outcomes focus on short and medium term outcomes, small numbers of learners or teachers or schools, and commonly measure these qualitatively. The studies that do measure change, and measure change quantitatively against a comparative group or other ways to attribute the change to the digital tools or resources being applied, tend to do this over short periods (four weeks to six months). As a consequence, this led Higgins et al (2012) to conclude that ‘taking the body of research as a whole, there is not a conclusive case for the impact of digital technology on longer term educational attainment outcomes’, but there is compelling evidence that digital technology provides teachers with tools and resources that can aid learning and teaching and enhance the ability of some children to learn effectively. The meta-analyses discussed provide some strong evidence of impact, while the qualitative studies provide evidence about how the these impacts are achieved.


5.3 Conclusion

The increasing variety of digital technologies and the diversity of contexts and settings in which the research has been conducted, combined with the challenges in synthesising evidence from different methodologies make it difficult to identify clear and specific implications for educational practice in schools. Studies linking provision and use of technology with attainment tend to find consistent but small positive associations with educational outcomes. However, a causal link cannot be inferred from this kind of research. It seems probable that more effective schools and teachers are more likely to use ICT and digital technologies more effectively than other schools. We need to know more about where and how it is used to greatest effect, then investigate if this information can be used help to improve learning in other contexts. Research findings from experimental and quasi-experimental designs which have been combined in meta-analyses indicate that overall technology-based interventions tend to produce just slightly lower levels of improvement when compared with other researched interventions. The range of impact identified in these studies suggests that it is not whether technology is used (or not) which makes the difference, but how well the technology is used to support teaching and learning. This alignment of technology and learning is important. There is no doubt that technology engages and motivates young people. However this benefit is only an advantage for learning if the activity is effectively aligned with what is to be learned. It is therefore the pedagogy of use of technology which is important: the how rather than the what. With computer and digital technologies there is a recurrent and specific challenge in understanding and applying the research evidence as it takes time for robust evidence to emerge in education and the rapid pace of change of technology makes this difficult to achieve


5.4 Recommendations

Haven completed the study, the researcher recommends that;

  1. The rationale for the impact of digital technologies on teaching and learning needs to be clear: Will learners work more efficiently, more effectively, more intensively
  2. The role of technology in learning should be identified: Will it help learners gain access to learning content, to teachers or to peers
  3. Technology should support collaboration and effective interaction for learning: The use of computer and digital technologies is usually more productive when it supports collaboration and interaction, particularly collaborative use by learners or when teachers use it to support discussion, interaction and feedback.
  4. Teachers and/or learners should be supported in developing their use of digital and computer technologies to ensure it improves learning.
  5. Skills training is not usually sufficient to support teachers and pupils in getting the best from technology. On-going professional development and support to evaluate the impact on learning is likely to be required.
  6. Identify what learners and teachers will stop doing: The use of computer and digital technologies is usually more successful as a supplement rather than as a replacement for usual teaching. It is therefore important to identify carefully what it will replace or how the technology activities will be additional to what learners would normally experience.

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