THE RELEVANCE OF ICT TO TEACHING AND LEARNING OF MATHEMATICS IN COLLEGE OF EDUCATION
Background of the Study
Mathematics is the science of number and space and the language of science and technology. It is an essential requirement by every field of intellectual endeavor and human development to cope with the challenges of life. It is also described as the queen and servant of all school subjects, since it cuts across the school curricula (Fajemidagba 2006 and Akpan, 2007).
Life without the knowledge of mathematics would have been very difficult because mathematics is an important subject for the aspiration of scientific and technological development. No nation in the world has ever developed technologically without putting mathematics in the formost position, David, (2011). “Most advances in science and technology owe their origin to mathematics which is often referred to as the language of science and technology. For example, the computer which is the greatest discovery of the last century owes its origin to mathematical theories, Daloung, (2001).
Whatever problem is solved today by applying computer technology has been solved by mathematics in the past. No wonder, the place of Mathematics amongst the subjects taught in Nigerian schools is well recognized” (Adenegan, 2007). With the current need for science and technology in a developing nation like Nigeria, the teaching and learning of mathematics need to be improved. Our immediate society cannot afford to lag behind in the scheme of development. Hence, the need to update ourselves so as to bridge up with the trend of development as it obtains in the other parts of the world.
Information and communication technology (ICT) is the processing and maintenance of information and the use of all forms of computer, communication network and mobile technologies to mediate information (UNESCO, 2002). It is a diverse set of technological tools and resources used to communicate, and to create, disseminate, store and manage information. Communication technology includes all media employed in transmitting audio, video, data or multimedia information such as cable, satellite, fibre optics, wireless,(radio, infra-red, Bluetooth, wi-fi). Net-work technologies include Local Area network (LAN) Wide Area Network (WAN), Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) and the internet, Coroton, (2002).
The applications of ICT are advancing in the technologies of computer and internet that these have revolutionized all spheres of human endeavours is no news. In Nigeria, most Banks and industries are presently tapping from the obvious advantages of these versatile machines through E- banking, E-communication, E-commerce, E-mail etc. Educational system needs to wake up and join the trends, Marklong, (2012). The use of sophisticated electronic tools can allow the educationist to explore and organize new ways of teaching and learning. These tools include radio, television, calculator, computers and mobile phones.
The use ICT in teaching is a functional way of providing education to learners that will assist to imbibing in them the required capacity for the world of work. Very few jobs today do not required the use of skills in technology, collaboration, teamwork, and information; all of these can be acquired through teaching with ICT. Igbarashi (2005) said that technology fundamentally changes the way we live, learn and work.
Technology has entered the classroom in a big way to become part of the teaching and learning process. Yoshida (2003), opined that sometimes Mathematics lecturers do not have adequate knowledge, but have to fall on ideas which lead to contradictions with what the physics theory says or meant. Students are left on their own, even when they are to read on their own, they find no material to read, where it is available most of them are obsolete material.
The most important of these is the computer. This is because it is capable of solving complex problems quickly and accurately. Hence, other ways of applying ICT to teach and learn mathematics; E-teaching and E-learning, Computer Assisted Instruction, Mathematics by Radio and Television, Classroom Teaching with Multimedia System, Autograph and Cabri3D amongst others. According to Douglas (2005), autograph uses the standard conventions of Windows applications with regard to multiple windows (called ‘pages’ in Autograph), the loading and saving of pages as files and the copying and pasting of text, data and graphics.
Communication is defined as a source and extension of imagination in forms that can be learned and shared. According to Lampard (2005), information technology is seen as the acquisition, processing, storage and distribution of vocal, pictorial, textual and numeric information by means of computers and telecommunication networks. Simply, communication is the exchange of information between people by means of speaking, writing or using a common system of signs or behaviours. In the light of this, we can see that we are in an information age where ICT has gained a lot of grounds in the world’s educational development. The ICT tools or components, which are computers, telephones, radio, communication networks and know-how, have a lot of influence in enhancing the effectiveness of instructional techniques. The use of the internet and other products of telecommunications industry looms large in computer science, computer engineering and information systems interactively together for efficient and effective gathering, processing, dissemination and maintenance of information.
In a nutshell, “Mathematics is now an enormously useful science which, in order to attain this status, has had to cross a desert of usefulness where Mathematics was nursed tenderly as a science of mind” (Balogun et al., 2002)”. Astronomy is a practical science of Mathematics. It is used to foretell the calendar, feast, eclipses, wars, pestilence, whirlwinds, storms and the future of nation and even of individuals.
In Nigeria, a credit in mathematics is required for admission to countless programmes of study at the tertiary level of education. Ekhaguere (2010) asserted that in view of this fate-determining place of mathematics in the nation’s educational system, a policy must be formulated and implemented toward ensuring that no child is left behind in mathematics at the pre-tertiary level of education.
According to Oyekan (2000), “instructional materials are those things that can facilitate effective teaching and pleasant learning that is teaching aids through which learning process may be encouraged and motivated under the classroom situation”. These enhance the teaching learning process when adequately and appropriately used. Mathematics as a Core Subject in Nigeria Secondary Schools is a model for thinking, for developing scientific structure, for drawing conclusions and for solving problems. It is a subject that deals with facts.
As a result, Olademo (1990) opined, “this subject-mathematics should be given much consideration and let no man think of it as abstract or as untrue”. As posited by Balogun et al. (2002), “Mathematics instruction is a training of logical thinking. It is a means of solving many problems. It is confronted with finding solutions to problems that have not been provided by a similar type. Its greatest virtue is its flexibility and the high esteem at which it is held as a tending discipline is partly due to its illustrious pedigree”.
Obi(2003), conducted a study on information technology skills needed by College of Education lecturers for effective instruction in the college of Education in Enugu State, her result reveal great needs by College of Education lecturers for information technology skills. Oyebisi (2012), conducted a study to determine the extent of application of information technology in Lagos, Ibadan and Oshogbo, and discovered that information technology has invaded the business office and College of Education lecturing strategies. The introduction of ICT into colleges of education clearly changed the way education is conducted.
It paves the way for a new pedagogical approach, where students are expected to play more active role than before (i.e. getting more involved in the learning process, being active participants of knowledge creation not mere recipients of knowledge). Using information and known ICT tools in education, students should be able to communicate, create preservatives in PowerPoint, and interact with colleagues and teachers using technology. According to Yusuf (2005), ‘culture and society which are major factors of education, have adjusted to meet the challenges of the knowledge age’. These prevalence and rapid development in ICT has transformed human society from the information age to the knowledge age. The use of ICT in colleges of education by staffs and students is becoming a necessity as it can be used to improve the quality of teaching and learning in any tertiary institution.
Oduma (2013) likened ICT to a utility like water and electricity which plays a major role in education and has impacted on the quality and quantity of teaching and learning as well as research in educational methodology to initiate a new age in education. Internet as a digital tool of ICT has strengthen teaching and learning as it provides powerful resources and services for students, thereby enabling them meet their educational needs, it also allows for networking among students and teachers to facilitate exchange of ideas and improve opportunities for connecting schools to the world as learning is expanding beyond the classroom, so real life context can be established (Dotimi and Hamilton-Ekeke, 2013).
Etim, Akpan, and Ibok (2013) defined the internet as the inter connection of system of subsystems of equipment that is used in the automatic acquisition, storage, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission or reception of data or information. Dickson (2012) noted that the internet can be seen to provide resources and services that are used for accessing, processing, gathering, manipulation and presenting or communicating information. The use of internet in education is now growing in all parts of the world and their application is becoming an integral part of education in many parts of the globe. Abascal and Nicolle (2005) indicated that most developed countries have exploited the potential of internet to transform their education landscape.
Nigeria as a country is yet to make available and use ICTs to transform its’ educational system. Ololube (2007, 2008) indicated the benefits of internet use in education, and also found positive and moderately high achievement at all educational level, from computer use in school subjects, which allows students to focus on strategies and interpretation of answers rather than spend time on tedious computational calculation. It is then generally believed that the use of internet in the educational sector in a developing nation like Nigeria would help bridge the information barrier between developed and developing nations. However, improved access does not result in improved utilization in educational institutions.
ICTs as a field of education has been there in the form of teaching aids or apparatus, as it was earlier called (Abimbade, 2002). But current achievement in the field of ICT has offered tremendous opportunities for learning by electronic means, the use of e-learning and internet technology in learning. It is seen as a means to improve accessibility, efficiency and quality learning. The 21st century ICTs has stretched educational boundaries and created new ones, some of which are internet, e-learning and m-learning.
The concept of mobile learning (m-learning) is facilitated by mobile devices. M-learning according to Sharples, Arnedillo Sánchez, Milrad and Vavoula (2007) is an emergent paradigm in a state of intense development fuelled by technological streams, good competition power, good communication and development intelligent interface. Dickson (2012) defined mobile learning as the intersection of mobile computing and communication device and e-learning (learning facilitated and supported through the use of ICT). M-learning (which is mobile-learning) takes place through wireless devices like mobile phones, Ipad, Mp3 player, personal digital assistance etc. According to Sharples et al. (2007) M-learning now plays a great role in activity-based and technology base learning.
Despite the rapid growth of e-learning, most educational institutions lack consolidated and comprehensive curricula for training in ICT. The provision of appropriate framework for full integration of ICTs into the educational system of any nation’s university is the responsibility of the federal or central government (Yusuf, 2006), for the proper integration of ICTs and related technology into the educational system there is need for a comprehensive policy document to serve as a guide for stakeholders in the education sector, competence, adequate funding, provision of infrastructural facilities, institutional factions, environmental factors, students attitude, skill, students interest to usage. These factors help determine the successful use of ICT for information retrieval and sharing in education (Gillwald and Esselaar,2005)
Computers are seen to have the potential to make a significant contribution to the teaching and learning of mathematics. In particular, when students are working on computers, it is generally recognized they are more able to focus on patterns, connections between multiple representations, interpretations of representations and so on. Busari (2006) is of the view that poor reading skills of science and technology students, the state of laboratory facilities, and dearth of science text books affect effective teaching and learning of science subjects. If Mathematics lecturers and students in higher institutions are exposed to video and computer usage in classroom teachings, would it bring about an impact in teaching and learning of Mathematics? Hence, this research study intends to investigate the relevance of ICT to teaching and learning of Mathematics in College of Education Ikere Ekiti.
Statement of Problem
The influence of ICT to education and educational activities worldwide is very glaring, especially in the reliance of ICT facilities to institute the expected change in teaching and learning. The development has placed a pressure on educators to transform schools through technology and ICTs. The availability of ICT facilities and its utilization is a key factor for the adoption of ICT for educational activities such as teaching and learning. The availability and utilization of ICTs on the other hand is a major challenge across higher institutions of learning Hamilton-Ekeke (2011). But if academic institutions fully adopt the use of ICTs in higher institutions of learning, then goals would be achieved within a short period of time. As Nigeria is striving hard to play a leadership role in Africa, particularly in the period of pragmatic and competitive science and technology, there is an urgent need to pay more prominent attention to the improvement of teaching and learning particularly in Nigerian tertiary institutions especially in Colleges of Education. This entails the adoption of information, communication technology (ICT) in the institution.
ICT is an invaluable intervention of this modern time. Its inherent attributes such as accuracy, high speed performance, reliability and capability to store very large amount of data have made it possible for its applicability to all human endeavours including teaching, learning and research in educational institutions.
This study is specifically set out to critically appraise the role of information, communication technology as a change agent for higher education in Nigeria. It also examines the implication and challenges of ICT on the development of higher education in Nigeria. In specific term, this study intends to provide solution the following identified problems;
- Students’ poor knowledge of the use of information and communication technology in learning mathematics.
- Inadequacy of ICT facilities and laboratories in higher institutions of learning.
- How efficient is the Information, Communication Technology in performing its lofty role as a change agent for higher education in Nigeria?
- The constraints to effective utilisation of Information, Communication Technology as a change agent for higher education in Nigeria. Hence, this study is poised to the relevance of ICT in teaching and learning of Mathematics in College of Education Ikere Ekiti.
Purpose of Study
The broad objective of this study is to investigate the relevance of ICT to teaching and learning of Mathematics in College of Education Ikere Ekiti.
Significance of the Study
It is neither an understatement nor an over-statement to say that mathematics is the pivot on which the wheel of sciences rotates. It is therefore believed that the outcome of this study might help in focusing on the need to introduce information and communication technology to College of Education students so as to get acquitted with the modern ethics of science and technology. The study might also help in improving the performance and interest of students in the learning of mathematics.
Moreso, the study would allow students to communicate more easily with research scientist through e-mail and other online discussion group. In addition, the findings of the study could create more. Interest in mathematics as a subject in the minds of the students and when this is done, the impact of mathematics will be felt the more in our society. The study would enable parents to help in fostering the education of their wards right from homes when they introduce ICT to their wards through their computers.
Furthermore, the study hoped to provide educational policy makers, curriculum developers as well as text-books writers some information which are recent and which will update them on the subject. It would enhance the delivery and access to knowledge and improvement on the curriculum, providing richer learning out comes compared to education without ICT. The study could form the basis for the federal and state ministries of education to organize seminars, conferences and in service training for mathematics lecturers on how to teach students with the view of improving student’s performance in the subject.
The findings would inform government and parents about the status of ICT facilities in schools. This could help them to make informed decisions on provision and maintenance of such facilities. The findings would help Mathematics lecturers to re-evaluate themselves if they are adequately prepared to use ICT in teaching and learning of Mathematics and if not; the kind of skills upgrading that would suit them. It could help schools to come up with policies that promote the use of ICT in teaching and learning.
Scope of the Study
This study is delimited to College of Education Ikere, Ekiti State. It covers both students and lecturers in Mathematics and Mathematics related departments. Sampled lecturers in the college formed the sampled population, since the topic concerns the relevance of ICT in teaching and learning of Mathematics in College of Education Ikere Ekiti.
The following research questions were generated to guide the study:
- Does ICT improve teaching and learning of Mathematics in College of Education Ikere Ekiti?
- Does ICT usage have significant effect of on students’ performance in Mathematics?
- Does introduction of ICT make Mathematics class so interesting?
- Does ICT have significant effect in increasing the students learning and knowledge of Mathematics?
The following research hypotheses are formulated from the research questions:
- There is no significant impact of ICT on teaching and learning of Mathematics.
- There is no significant effect of ICT Usage on students’ performance.
- There is no significant influence of ICT on making the Mathematics class very interesting.
- There is no significant effect of ICT in improving the students learning and knowledge in Mathematics.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
The following terms are operationally defined below:
Appraisal: a judgment or assessment of the value of something, especially a formal one.
Classroom: a room, often in a school, where classes take place.
Internet: a global network providing variety information and communication facilities, consisting of inter-connected networks using standardized communication protocols.
Lecturer: a person who gives lectures, especially as a profession.
Performance: This is the noticeable change in behavior or action that the students achieved and exhibited as a result of their exposure to a body of knowledge. It is a measure of achievement.
Students: a person who studies a particular academic subject.
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