THE IMPORTANCE OF INTRODUCING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IN THE TEACHING OF GEOGRAPHY
1.1 Background of the Study
The purpose of teaching is primarily to assist the learner acquire the type of knowledge and skill that will produce desirable change in him. This can be actualized if the teaching and learning process provides the enabling environment for the learner to think critically, analytically and consequently, be an agent of change. Generally, the educational system is subdivided into the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. In some cases, the pre-primary education is an integral part of the primary level. The secondary level occupies a critical position in the educational system. According to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, FRN (2004, p.18), “secondary education is the education children receive after primary education and before the tertiary stage”. The broad goals of secondary education therefore shall be to prepare the individual for useful living within the society and for higher education. The role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the 21st century education system has been described as vital to keeping abreast with rapidly changing technologies. The introduction of information and communication technology into the Nigerian educational system is very important as it will translate into huge potentials in terms of positive outcomes.
Presently, investments into ICTs in Nigerian’s educational system have not yielded much when compared to similar investments made in telecommunication (Atureta, 2011). The field of education has certainly been affected by the penetrating influence of ICT worldwide. ICT has made impact on the quality and quantity of teaching, learning and research in the institutions using it (Kwacha, 2007). According to Ololube, Ubogu and Ossai (2007), the introduction of ICT usage, integration and diffusion has initiated a new age in educational methodologies, thus has radically changed traditional method of information delivery and usage patterns in the domain as well as offering contemporary learning experience for both instructors and learners. ICT has the potential to accelerate, enrich and deepen skills, motivate and engage students in learning, helps to relate school experiences to work places, helps to create economic viability for tomorrow’s workers, contribute to radical changes in school, strengthens teaching, and provides opportunities for connection between the school and the world (Davis & Tearle, 1999; Lemke & Coughlin, 1998; cited by Yusuf, 2005). The rapid growth in Information Communication and Technologies (ICTs) have brought remarkable changes in the twenty-first century, as well as affected the demands of modern societies. ICT is becoming increasingly important in our daily lives and in our educational system. Therefore, there is a growing demand on educational institutions to use ICT to teach the skills and knowledge students need for the 21st century. Information and communication technology (ICT) has become, within a very short time, one of the basic building blocks of modern society. Many countries now regard understanding ICT and mastering the basic skills and concepts of ICT as part of the core of education, alongside reading, writing and numeracy. Of all the subjects in the school curriculum and at secondary level in Nigeria, Geography seems to be the most difficult subject to teach. Some of the reasons put forward are, the nature of the subject and the way it is being taught. It is believed that Geography is taught in a way that discourages open questions, inquiry and active participation. The effect of this is that the mind and imagination of students are closed. Adejuyigbe and Majasan (1970) said: the study of Geography from its inception was through verbal description of geographic features, which made the study very abstract and quite uninteresting. Adesida (1985) also revealed that the undue emphasis on theoretical aspect of Geography to the detriment of scientific and experiential approach had made the subject very abstract and also uninteresting. The resultant effect of all the above is that the subject no longer attracts young scholars due to the dull, uninspiring and stereotyped approach being adopted.
Ajaegbuna (1969) criticized those who argued that Geography is a dull and difficult subject. He argued that Geography lessons are often very dull because there is too much chalk and talk and no enough pupils participation. Other problems associated with the teaching of Geography in secondary schools in the country are the low enrolment of students in the course and the poor method of communication. Students see Geography as a collection of “dead statements” presented as facts (Ajaegbuna 1969). Not only this, they find Geography concepts confusing and unfamiliar. The sceptical attitudes of parents and teachers towards the subject have also constituted a problem. The effect is that students run away from the subject and all these have culminated in the low enrolment of students in the subject at the University level in Nigeria. Balderstone and Lambert (2000) showed that Geography thinking among individual student in secondary schools is confusing and inarticulate. Okunrotifa (1970) also showed that students were just made to learn Geography concepts in the abstract form and were subjected to too much imagination of geographic features instead of learning through practical observation. Times Educational Supplement (1961) showed the expressed mounted pressure advocating for the removal of Geography from the school curriculum. The blind argument put forward by this group was that, Geography had no divine right to be part of educational experience of young people. Other problems identified include shortage of specialist teachers in the field, non-availability of relevant instructional materials and textbooks. Roberts (1996) and Smiths (1997) wrote differently emphasizing the importance of relevant instructional materials and the need to diversify the strategy for teaching Geography. Roberts (1996) suggested that teachers should be discouraged from using didactic method of teaching to a more creative, experiential learning involving project method and to particularly encourage the move towards discovery and investigative approaches in situation well structured by the teacher. Teachers also should be encouraged to be a guide, a facilitator and to abandon the traditional expository approach in favour of an active and open learning method. Smith (1997) also criticizing the teaching strategies employed by most teachers said: “There are sometimes narrowness in the range of teaching methods characterized by over long expositions, over-directed style and discussion mediated by and through the teacher, all of which reduce opportunities for developing thinking in learners”. It is the belief that the application of appropriate media in teaching can help solve the problems faced in the teaching of Geography. It is a long belief in Educational Technology that appropriate media are essential for effective teaching and learning.
Ogunmilade (1984) said “Educational technology can help to rectify the imbalance in the total process of teaching and learning”. Lumsdaine (1963) said that where information is difficult to explain verbally and where specific procedure must be performed and the exact interpretation is needed, the use of technological media will not only illustrate the instructor’s concept to the learner but also add emphasis to the essential points. Agun (1982) also opined that technological media are the most important devices that teachers can use to enhance the quality of instruction and to diversify teaching. Arundale (1965) explained that children learn in two-ways, orally and visually. Many of the students however learn more rapidly when oral teaching is linked with something they can see, touch or handle. Arundale explained further that a teacher cannot be certain that his/her verbal description will convey the correct impression especially if he/she finds it difficult to compare the things being described with those things that the students are already familiar with. He concluded that this difficulty can be removed immediately if mediate instructional medium is available. Mclendon (1965) was of the opinion that when used properly, media materials can eject impressions that heighten interest and facilitate the development of appreciation. Rapid and vast expansion of various technologies in the teaching and learning of geography throughout the world is evident. Kent emphasized how rapidly, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have developed and been incorporated by educational institutions in the last few decades and will probably develop at the same speed in the coming decades (Kent, 2003: 337-340). Prensky assessed the use of technology in education from a student’s perspective and called the new generation “digital natives,” that is those who were born in a digital age amid technologies including digital games, email, internet, cell phones and many others which are fundamental to their lives. He also called “digital immigrants” those who were not born in the digital world but to some extent have adapted to these technologies. He emphasized the difficulties of teaching such a generation of “digital natives” and underlined the importance of maximizing the adaptation of technologies into education as “digital immigrants” (Prensky, 2001: 1- 2). Van Der Schee stated that although the accessibility of the new technologies in teaching geography has increased and many governments are trying to incorporate them in education, there are still many areas of the globe which do not accept digital literacy (Van Der Schee, 2006: 190).
1.2 Statement of problem
Today, as the educational sector is faced with series of changes and reforms, it is good to reflect on matters concerned with Geography and the dissemination of Geography knowledge and lessons. Numerous teaching strategies have been developed which correspond to the accommodation of students’ need and diverse learning method. One of such strategy involves the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Considering the enormous benefits of ICT in teaching Geography in secondary schools, the Nigerian academic institutions still experience some obstacles or hindrances in the effective and efficient use of the ICT resources. Today, ICT acquisition and implementation is facing a lot of problems. This research work is being conducted to expose some of the inhibiting factors that are hindering the impact of ICT in Nigerian academic. Some of the factors hindering the impact of ICT on Nigerian education include the huge capital investment in the purchase of hardware, software and standby generators due to epileptic power supply and the lack of technical know-how are some of the problems encountered.
1.3 Purpose of the study
This study was undertaken majorly to investigate the importance of introducing ICT in teaching Geography in Senior Secondary Schools. Specifically, the study intends to:
1. Identify teachers’ and students’ perception of the use of ICT in teaching Geography in Secondary Schools.
2. Recognize teachers’ and students’ perception of the use of media such as computer system, projectors, video player etc, in teaching Geography; and;
3. Evaluate the difference between the use of traditional method of teaching Geography and the use of ICT in teaching Geography.
1.4 Significance of the study
The following objectives are addressed in this study:
1. To find out if secondary school Geography teachers are exposed to new technologies; whether or not they are aware of the new technologies and whether these new technologies are also available for teaching Geography in senior secondary schools.
2. To investigate the extent of the integration of these new technologies into teaching Geography in senior secondary schools.
3. To examine the factors that inhibits teachers from using the new technologies and find out the types of the technology currently in use in teaching Geography in secondary schools.
1.5 Research questions
During the course of the study, the researcher seeks to provide suitable answers to the problem following the questions below:
1. What is the impact of ICT in teaching and learning of geography in senior secondary schools?
2. Will the introduction of ICT make geography class interesting for senior secondary school students?
3. Will the introduction of ICT improve students’ learning and knowledge of geography in senior secondary schools?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were formulated for the guidance and advancement of the research study:
H0: There is no significant impact of ICT in teaching and learning of geography in senior secondary schools.
H1: There is significant impact of ICT in teaching and learning of geography in senior secondary schools.
H0: No relationship exists between the introduction of ICT in teaching geography and students’ interest in geography class.
H1: There is a relationship between the introduction of ICT in teaching geography and students’ interest in geography class.
H0: ICT will have no significant effect in improving the students learning and knowledge in geography.
H1: ICT will have significant effect in improving the students learning and knowledge in geography.
1.7 Delimitation of the study
The study was carried out to investigate the effect of information and communication technology in teaching geography with particular reference to senior secondary schools in Lagos State. The study is delimited to the senior secondary schools in Lagos state, Yaba Local Government Area to be precise. This is because of her representative nature of all the senior secondary schools in Lagos state, proximity to the researcher, time and financial constraints.
1.8 Scope of the study
This research work is on the importance of ICT in teaching geography in senior secondary schools in Nigeria using senior secondary schools in Lagos State, Yaba Local Government Area as a case study.
1.9 Definition of terms
Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Although ICT has several definitions depending on the nature of its use, for this review ICT (information and communication technology) is used as an umbrella term that includes any communication device or application, encompassing: radio, television, cellular phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems, as well as the various services and applications associated with them, such as videoconferencing and distance learning. We refer to ICT in the particular context of ICT provision, policy and teacher factors that variously support teaching, learning and a range of activities in education.
Geography: This deals with a wide variety of landforms and natural phenomena on earth, it also deals with knowing where places are in order to relate happenings. Geography consists of the study of our planet, its climatic conditions, the various landforms and the different natural occurrences. It encompasses a wide knowledge base and spatial analysis of human and natural phenomena, the exploration of the earth sciences and the relationships between nature and human life.
Education: This is a process by which a society deliberately transmits its cultural heritage through schools, colleges, universities and other institutions. Behaviourist view education as the process of changing the behavioural pattern of people. Behaviour in this sense refers to the way in which we change the learner, his or her thinking, his or her feelings and other overt actions.
Educational Technology: Is a process involving, “a systematic approach to identifying instructional problems and then designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating instructional solutions”.