1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
During the last two decades education institutions have invested heavily in information and communication technologies (ICT) particularly computers. The use of computers has had a major impact in the secondary school context, and in teaching and learning methods (Ema and Ajayi, 2006). One puzzling question is the effective impact of these computers usage on student achievement and on the returns of education. Many academic researchers have tried to answer this question at the theoretical and empirical levels. According to Anyanwu (2003), they have faced two main difficulties. On one hand, student performance is hard to observe and there is still confusion about its definition. On the other hand, computer is evolving technologies and their effects are difficult to isolate from their environment. There is no standard definition for student achievement. The standard approach focuses on achievement and curricula, how students understand the subjects and obtain their certificate or their marks. However, a more extensive definition deals with competencies, skills and attitudes learned through the education experience (Kamba, 2009).
The narrow definition allows the observation of the outcomes of any change in secondary education, while 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 higher institutions. The effect of computer usage on learning is currently in relation to the internet to facilitate teaching and learning. Computers are the technologies used in conveying, manipulation and storage of data by electronic means, they provide an array of powerful tools that may help in transforming the present isolated teacher-centered and text-bound classrooms into rich, student-focused, interactive knowledge environments (Ogunsola, 2005). To meet these challenges, secondary schools must embrace the new technologies and appropriate computer use for learning. The relationship between the use of computer and student performance in secondary schools is not clear, and there are contradictory results in the literature. Earlier economic research has failed to provide a clear consensus concerning the effect on students’ achievement (Kamba, 2009). Since student performance is mainly explained by a student’s characteristics, educational environment and teachers’ characteristics, the use of computers may have an impact on these determinants and consequently the outcome of education.
The differences observed in the performances of students are thus more related to the differentiated impact of computer usage on the standard determinants. The direct link between computer use and students’ achievement has been the focus of extensive literature during the last two decades. Several studies have tried to explain the role and the added value of the computer technologies in classrooms and on student’s achievement. The first body of literature explored the impact of computer uses. Since the Internet revolution, there has been 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, etc. Looking at the link between computer usage and student achievement seems nowadays a misunderstanding of the role and nature of these technologies.
In fact, since computer is general purpose technology (GPT), it needs to be specified in order to meet the needs expressed by students and to be adapted to the local context and constraints (Antonelli, 2003; Youssef, 2008). A variety of models of usages can be identified leading to the same outcome. Computer usage brings widened possibilities for the learning processes that are independent from place and space. Computer usage also allows more flexible (asynchronous) and more personalized learning. It offers new methods of delivering subject at secondary education level. Taking advantage of these opportunities needs a profound change in the organization of the secondary education system.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
For many years, educational researchers have maintained an interest in the effective prediction of students’ academic achievement at school. The prediction and explanation of academic achievement and the examination of the factors relating to the academic achievement are topics of greatest importance in different educational levels. Studies have shown that prior academic achievement is an important predictor of performance at other levels of education. Similarly, cognitive ability was found as the strongest predictor of academic achievement. However, some studies confirm that the correlation between cognitive ability and academic achievement tends to decline as students progress in the educational system.
The direct link between computer usage and students’ academic achievement has been the focus of extensive literature during the last two decades. Some of them help students with their learning by improving the communication between them and the instructors (Valasidou and Bousiou, 2005). Leuven et al. (2004) stated that there is no evidence for a relationship between increased educational use of computer and students’ academic achievement. In fact, they find a consistently negative and marginally significant relationship between computer usage and some student achievement measures. In support to these, some students may use computer usage to increase their leisure time and have less time to study. Online gaming and increased communication channels do not necessarily mean increased achievement. Based on all these, the researcher is examining the effect of computer usage on academic achievement of secondary school students in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
1. To examine the relationship between computer usage and academic achievement of secondary school students in Nigeria.
2. To examine the effectiveness of computer usage in teaching and learning process in secondary schools in Nigeria.
3. To identify the disadvantages of computer usage in secondary schools in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the relationship between computer usage and academic achievement of secondary school students in Nigeria?
2. What is the effectiveness of computer usage in teaching and learning process in secondary schools in Nigeria?
3. What are the demerits of computer usage in secondary schools in Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
HO: There is no significant relationship between computer usage and academic achievement of secondary school students in Nigeria.
HA: There is significant relationship between computer usage and academic achievement of secondary school students in Nigeria
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The outcome of this study aims at determining whether or not the use of computers has any significant influence on the academic achievement of students in secondary schools in Nigeria. More over education is the bedrock of any society. Nigeria as a developing nation needs a standard secondary schools that has available learning resources, that teachers can improvise learning resources easily and more often also where teachers and students utilize learning resources on a regular basis. It could be a guide line for incoming students and be educative to them when writing and studying similar problems in school. This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the effect of personality trait on student’s academic performance, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will cover the level of computer usage in secondary schools in Nigeria with a view of ascertaining its influence on student’s academic achievement.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
Anyanwu, J. M. (2003). The Effectiveness of Instructional Materials in Teaching of Social Studies in some Selected Post Primary School in Owerri Educational Zone Imo State. (B. ed) Research Project Unpublished.
Ema, E. &Ajayi, D. T. (2006). Educational Technology: Methods, Materials, Machines. Jos: Jos University Press Ltd.
Ogunsola, L.A. (2005). Information Communication Technologies and the Effects of Globalization: Twenty-First century “Digital Slavery” for Developing Countries- Myth or Reality?.Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship 6 (1-2); pp. 1-10.
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