An Assessment of the Usage of Computer Application in the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics
1.1 Background to the Study
A catch phrase in education today is Information Communication and Technologies (ICT) use. The rapid growth in ICT have brought remarkable changes in the twenty-first century, as well as affected the demands of modern societies. The call to integrate ICT in education has become a major concern to many countries all over the world. Until recently, the primary teaching resources available to teachers were the books in libraries. However, ICT has provided a new kind of support for instruction through the development of facilities that supports the teaching and learning process. Integrating technology in classroom instruction ensures greater motivation, increases self-esteem and confidence, enhances good questioning skills, promotes initiative and independent learning, improves presentation of information/outputs, develops problem solving capabilities, promotes better information handling skills, increasing focus time on task, and improves social and communication skills.
Several studies have revealed that ICT plays important role in teaching and learning mathematics. For instance, Becta (2003) assert that the use of technology in mathematics classroom allows the students to focus on strategies and interpretation of answers rather than spend time on tedious computational calculations. ICT use in mathematics instruction assists the learner in visualizing the process and concept role of symbols, which reaches great heights in calculus (Tall & Ramos, 2004). Ittigson and Zewe (2003) also opine that technology improves the way mathematics should be taught and enhances students understanding of basic concepts. It deemphasizes algorithmic skills resulting in an increased emphasis on the development of mathematical concepts.
Integrating ICT tools such as computers and scientific calculators in mathematics instruction have the potential to change pedagogical approaches radically and to improve individual student learning outcome by transforming the classroom social practices (Forgasz & Prince, 2004; Goos, 2005). It is therefore essential for government to introduce mathematics teachers to use ICT tools in teaching and also urge students to use ICT tools in learning mathematics. This will enable the students to better understand the mathematical concepts taught. It is against this background this study aims to assess the usage of computer application in the teaching and learning of mathematics in secondary schools in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Education stakeholders and policymakers must make a remarkable step towards the introduction of ICT in all secondary schools in Nigeria that will contribute to knowledge production, communication and information sharing among students and teachers in the school system. Recently in Nigeria, there has been a sudden increase in computer laboratories at all levels of the school system and this testifies to the potency of the use of ICT in education delivery. Furthermore, ICT has currently become a compulsory (core) subject for every secondary school students in Nigeria. Pre – service mathematics teachers are trained to integrate ICTs in the teaching and learning of mathematics with practicing teachers been trained through workshops (to promote acquisition of technological pedagogical content knowledge (Mishra & Koehler 2006) in Ghana and this is what Nigeria must emulate. With such an increased emphasis on ICT and a large investment in its infrastructure, teachers are expected to be competent and effective in using it. However, with teachers’ increasing knowledge of and familiarity with ICT and there being infrastructure to support it, many mathematics teachers are still not effectively and efficiently integrating ICT into their teaching (Buabeng-Andoh, 2015).
Evidence from other countries in the world, however, reveals that such commitments and investments in ICT in education do not lead to technology adoption (Gulbahar, 2007). Rather, technology adoption in educational settings is a complex process that is influenced by many other factors such as teacher-level, school-level, and system level factors (Balanskat, Blamire & Kefalla, 2006). Sherry and Gibson (2002) argued that technological, individual, organizational, and institutional factors should be considered when examining technology adoption in educational systems. There has been quite a number of research to investigate Nigerian mathematics teachers and students’ use of technology in teaching and learning and the factors that support or inhibit their effective integration into classroom practices (Boakye and Banini, 2008; Omollo, 2011, Agyei and Voogt, 2011). However, Mereku, et al., (2009) asserted that for Ghana, and Africa as a whole, to be able to fully integrate ICT into teaching and learning there is the need for frequent collection and analysis of data on ICT usage. It was therefore essential to conduct an empirical study to assess the usage of computer application in the teaching and learning of mathematics in secondary schools in Nigeria.
1.3 Research Objectives
The general objective or main objective of this study is to examine the factors that influence tax compliance on small and medium scale enterprises in Kumasi metropolis. The specific objectives are:
i) To find out the current status of computer models and mathematics computer software resources.
ii) To establish the difficulties teachers face when using computers in teaching and learning mathematics.
iii) To establish the challenges students face when using computers in learning mathematics.
iv) To give recommendations on using computers in teaching and learning mathematics.
1.4 Research Questions
i) What models of computers and mathematics computer software are available for use in schools?
ii) What difficulties do teachers face when using computers in teaching and learning mathematics?
iii) What challenges do students face when using computers in learning mathematics?
iv) What recommendations may be given on the usage of computers in teaching and learning mathematics?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were postulated to guide the conduct of this study;
i) There is a significant correlation between the use of ICT in mathematics and academic excellence
ii) There is a significant influence of usage of computers and teaching and learning mathematics
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study will be useful and will make a major contribution in providing information on the factors that affect the use of computers in teaching and learning mathematics in secondary schools. First and foremost, as the implementers of all research inputs related to academic excellence in schools, Mathematics teachers will find much assistance in the findings. The findings will provide the teachers with appropriate information on using computers in teaching and learning Mathematics in secondary schools in order to enhance the performance of their students in the subject. Secondly, students of Mathematics have a responsibility of responding to the learning activities and utilization of time for proper guidance. The findings will increase students’ awareness of the use of computers as a medium of teaching and learning mathematics which will lead to improved learning strategies with modern technology and achievement in mathematics. In addition, policy makers will use the findings to review the existing policies especially on teacher training on computer skills with a view of guiding them on using computers as a medium of teaching and learning. The findings will also assist in formulation of policy guidelines on using computers as a medium of teaching and learning in all secondary schools of not only Mathematics but other subjects as well. Also, educational administrators are charged with the responsibility of monitoring learning programmes in schools. The findings will help them to ensure appropriate and meaningful computer instructions in Mathematics and other subjects as used in secondary schools. The results will also help the Government to identify and plan administrative issues related to imports, marketing and access to computers and computer software in order to enable students’ access quality education. Lastly, the study will provide an insight into the Nigeria’s perspective of B.F. Skinner’s programmed instruction with reference to the factors affecting the use of computers as a medium of teaching and learning in the Nigerian’s education system. In addition, the study will contribute to the body of knowledge in the field of instructional technology and help stimulate further research in computer applications and other related fields.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study was limited to a sample of schools in in Ibadan area of Oyo State because it offered a variety of schools: local government areas, schools both mixed and single (boys and girls), private schools, provincial and National schools for the study to be carried. The study focused on Mathematics teachers, principals and Mathematics students. The researcher was also familiar with the locality.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
The limitations of the study included the ever changing technology on computer hardware and software resources, inadequate literature addressing use of computers in teaching and learning of Mathematics in secondary schools in Nigeria and insufficient funds. The study only took place in Ibadan area of Oyo State due to time and money constraints. Sample size was five schools to represent the whole State.