THE EFFECT OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY ON EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION DELIVERY
The study attempted to investigate the impact of information communication technology (ICT) on educational development of children in early childhood education in selected nursery schools in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State. In this study, some relevant and related literatures were reviewed under sub-headings. The descriptive research survey design was applied in the assessment of the opinions of the respondents with the aid of the questionnaire and the sampling technique. A total of 200 (Two hundred) respondents were used in this study. A total of four null hypotheses were formulated and tested in this study with the use of the Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient for hypotheses one and two, while the independent t-test statistical tool was used for hypothesis three and four respectively. All the hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance. At the end of the tests, the following results emerged: that there is a significant effect of the use of ICT on learning of children at preschool, that there is a significant relationship between the use of ICT and teacher’s performance at preschool, that there is a significant relationship between use of ICT and pupils’ learning outcomes at preschool and that there is a significant gender difference in the use of ICT at the preschool level
1.1 Background of the Study
The importance of ICT is quite evidence from the educational perspective. Though the chalkboard, textbooks, radio/television and film have been used for educational purpose over the years, none has quite impacted on the educational process like the computer. While television and film impact only on the audiovisual faculties of users, the computer is capable of activating the senses of sight, hearing and touch of the users. ICT has the capacity to provide higher interactive potential for users to develop their individual, intellectual and creative ability. The main purpose of ICT “consists just in the development of human mental resources, which allow people to both successfully apply the existing knowledge and produce new knowledge” (Shavinina, 2001).
The collective and rigid nature of learning and the passive nature of the learning associated with the use of radio, television and film do not contribute any innovative changes to traditional methods in education system. Information and communication technologies are being used in the developed world for instructional functions. Today, computers perform a host of functions in teaching and learning especially as many nations are adding computer literacy, reading and writing literacy skills students will need for succeeding in a technologically developed world (Thomas, 2005). At the instructional level, computers are used by pupils to learn reading, mathematics, social studies, art, music, simulation and health practices.
In educational multimedia application Shavinina (2006), asserted that today’s learning contents are domain-specific products and that they dominate the world market. According to Shavinina (2006), domain-specific educational multimedia is directed to knowledge acquisition skills development in the language arts, history, physics, literature, biology and so on.
There is no doubt that ICT provides productive teaching and learning in order to increase children’s creative and intellectual resources especially in today’s information society. Through the simultaneous use of audio, text, multicolor images, graphics, motion, ICT gives ample and exceptional opportunities to the pupils to develop capacities for high quality learning and to increase their ability to innovate.
Nigeria cannot afford to lag behind in using multimedia to raise the intellectual and creative resources of her citizens especially the children. This is particularly important for children whose adulthood will blossom in a cyber environment entirely different from that of the present (Shavinina, 2006). Nigerian children need to be taught by radically new educational programme and variety of educational contents with multimedia playing key role (Ayo, 2000).
Technology plays a significant role in all aspects of life today, and this role will only increase in the future. The potential benefits of technology for young children’s learning and development are well documented (Wright & Shade, 1994). As technology becomes easier to use and early childhood software proliferates, young children’s use of technology becomes more widespread. Therefore, early childhood educators have a responsibility to critically examine the impact of technology on children and be prepared to use technology to benefit children.
Computers supplement and do not replace highly valued early childhood activities and materials, such as art, blocks, sand, water, books, exploration with writing materials, and dramatic play. Research indicates that computers can be used in developmental appropriate ways beneficial to children and also can be misused, just as any tools can (Shade & Watson, 1990). Developmental appropriate software offers opportunities for collaborative play, learning and creation. Educators must use professional judgment in evaluating and using this learning tool appropriately, applying the same criteria they would to any other learning tool or experience. They must also weigh the costs of technology with the costs of other learning materials and programme resources to arrive at an appropriate balance for their classrooms.
Computer are intrinsically compelling for young children. The sounds and graphics gain children’s attention. Increasingly, young children observe adults and older children working on computers, and they want to do it. Children get interested because they can make things happen with computers. Developmentally appropriate software engages children in creative play, mastery learning, problem solving, and conversation. The children control the pacing and the action. They can repeat a process or activity as often as they like and experiment with variations. They collaborate in making decisions and share their discoveries and creations (Haugland & Shade, 1990).
The teacher’s role is critical in making certain that good decisions are made about which technology to use and in supporting children in their use of technology to ensure that potential benefits are achieved. Teachers must take time to evaluate and choose software in light of principles of development and learning and must carefully observe children using the software to identify both opportunities and problems and make appropriate adaptations. Choosing appropriate software is similar to choosing appropriate books for the classroom, teachers constantly make judgments about what is age appropriate, individually appropriate and culturally appropriate (NAEYC, 1992).
Early childhood educators must devote extra effort to ensure that the software in classrooms reflects and affirms children’s diverse cultures, languages, and ethnic heritages. Like all educational materials, software should reflect the world children live in: it should come in multiple languages, reflect gender equity, contain people of color and of differing ages and abilities, and portray diverse families and experiences (Derman-Sparks & A.B.C. Task Force 1989; Haugland & Shade, 1994).
As pre-school educators become active participants in a technological world, hence they need in-depth training and ongoing support to be adequately prepared to make decisions about technology and to support its effective use in learning environment for children. Mayor (1997) advocates for teachers to be fully equipped to understand and communicate to both children and adults the skills required to build more sustainable life in a technological changing and highly globalized world. The potentials of technology are far-reaching and ever changing. The risk is for early childhood educators to become complacent, assuming that their current knowledge or experience is adequate. “Technology is an area of the curriculum, as well as a tool for learning, in which teachers must demonstrate their own capacity for learning” (Bredekamp & Rosegrant, 1994).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The problem of lack of the application of the information and communication technology (ICT) in the teaching and learning processes at the early childhood education delivery cannot be overemphasized. This is because, several factors pose some hindrances to the effective use of ICT for the purpose of teaching pupils at the pre-school level. The major impediments to the successful use of information and communication technology (ICT) in the preschool level include: the high cost of computers in the developing countries; weak infrastructure that has caused deficiency in the use of computer; lack of skills and human knowledge to integrate ICT into teaching and learning in the preschool.
Not only that, other problems of the non-utilization of ICT in teaching at the nursery school, include lack of relevant software. For instance, software that is appropriate and culturally suitable to the Nigerian education system is in short supply. Also, there is great discrepancy between relevant software supply and demand in developing countries like Nigeria. Limited access to the internet by many Nigerian teachers, especially those who teach the pupils at the preschool is yet another problem of this study. This is because, there are few internet providers that provide internet gateway services in Nigeria, many of the foreign companies that provide the internet services in Nigeria, provide poor services to the Nigerian masses, and so, teachers do not make good use of them.
The above identified problems, gave rise to the examination of the effect of information communication technology on early childhood education.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main objectives of the study include to:
(1) examine whether information communication technology affects early childhood education.
(2) assess whether there is difference in performance between teachers who applied information communication technology and those who do not.
(3) Investigate whether there is effective use of information communication technology in teaching and learning at the preschool level.
(4) find out whether there is gender difference in the use of ICT at the preschool level.
(5) discover the factors that militate against the use of ICT in teaching at the preschool level.
(6) proffer solution to the problems of non-use of ICT in teaching and learning processes at the preschool level.
1.4 Research Questions
The following questions were raised in this study:
(1) Does ICT usage affect early childhood education of children?
(2) Is there any difference in performance of teachers who used ICT in their teaching and those who did not?
(3) Is there any effective use of ICT in the teaching and learning processes at the preschool?
(4) To what extent does gender different exists in the use of ICT at the preschool level?
(5) What are the factors that militate against the use of information communication technology in preschool?
(6) What is the possible solution to the problem of the use of ICT in teaching at the preschool level?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following research hypotheses were formulated and tested in this study:
1. There will be no significant effect of the use of ICT on learning at the preschool.
2. There will be no significant relationship between the use of ICT and teachers’ performance in school.
3. There will be no significant relationship between the use of ICT and pupils’ learning outcomes at the preschool.
4. There will be no significant gender difference in the use of ICT at the preschool.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The beneficiaries of the outcomes of the study include:
(1) Teachers would be one of the beneficiaries of this study as the findings and recommendations of the study will enable them to appreciate the importance of the application of ICT in teaching and learning at the preschool level of the country’s educational system. Also, teachers, will see this study as an eye opener, in the sense that, it will give them an insight into the appropriate use of ICT in the teaching and learning processes at the nursery school.
(2) Pupils would benefit from this study, as the findings and recommendations of the study will enable them to understand the importance of the use of ICT and the role it plays in their learning outcomes.
(3) Parents would benefit from this study because it will enlighten them to know the importance of the use of ICT by their children’s teachers and its effect on their children’s learning outcomes. Also, with the effective application of ICT, parents would notice a difference in the performance of their children at the early stages of their educational careers.
(4) The society will also benefit from the outcomes of this study because, the recommendations of this study will enable the adult members of the society to understand the effect of the use of ICT on teaching and learning at the preschool level of Nigerian educational system.
(5) Researchers, both old and new, including students, will see this study as a contact or reference material for their further studies and academic work.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study covered the effect of the use of ICT on teaching and learning at the early childhood education in Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State.
1.8 Definition of Terms
The following terms were operationally defined in this study:
Information Communication Technology: Is the component culture that enables people to use their power to utilize their environment for their survival. It has made the world to be a global village.
Early Childhood Education: Education for the children from birth to age 8.
Educational Technology: Systematic approach to designing, implementing and evaluating the instructional system on the basic principle of education.o