EFFECTS OF COMPUTER PACKAGE ON SENIOR SECONDARY ONE CHEMISTRY STUDENTS
ACHIEVEMENT IN JOS-NORTH LGA OF PLATEAU STATE, NIGERIA
1.2 Background of the Study.
Educational technology is the effective use of technological tools in learning and incorporates numerous types of media that deliver e.g. text books, audio CDs, photographs and animated information in the teaching and learning process. Similarly, it encompasses technological applications and processes such as audio or video tape, satellite TV, CD-ROM, and web-based learning as well as computer package, (Garrison, (2011)). A computer is a general purpose device that can be programmed to carry out a set of logical operations. Computers as technological tools have been used to teach, manage, show and communicate information which makes them unique compared the other learning devices (Georges, (2001)). Computer package is a method, which uses a computer in the teaching and learning, thereby strengthening students’ motivation and education in the process. In other words, use of computer package creates a learning environment where a computer program, or its application is used to assist in teaching and learning of a particular subject. This is because the use of computer package gives
opportunities to both students and teachers to learn at their speed and combine active learning with computer packages. (Daintith, (2004)).
According to Daintith and Wright (2008), over the last two decades, the use of computer package has become more and more widespread and important especially in difficult subjects, more specifically in the sciences. Several reasons have been advanced by researchers for the use of computer package to support educational programs, chemistry education included. Among these is the capability to provide information in form of text, graph, audio, video, picture, animation and simulation which aids in strengthening student’s mastery level. There is a form of one-to-one instruction and the opportunity for the students to proceed at their own pace, repeating parts of the exercise as they wish, none of which are available in a didactic classroom situation. In addition, there is the added variety and, perhaps, novelty in computer packages, along with the potential to use vivid and animated graphics, enabling three dimensional aspects, and other features to be viewed more realistically (Sanger and Greenbowe, (2000)).
In the United States of America, computer packages has long been considered as a method for addressing school improvement since it offers advantages over traditional instruction. computer packages involves a one-on-one interaction, multimedia capabilities that enrich the lesson presentations, self-pacing and instantaneous feedback. (Zhao and Lei, (2012)). The report illustrates that computer packages has positive effects on students’ achievements and attitudes. In addition, Fraser, Walberg, Welch and Hattie (1987) noted that the use of computers for instruction resulted in increased student interest, cooperation, achievement in science, and coverage of science curriculum. According to Bangert, and Kulik (1987), students receiving computer packages learn better and faster, and students’ scores on delayed tests indicate that
the retention of content learned using computer packages is superior to retention following traditional instruction.
Similar studies in Europe supports the fact that computer packages is an effective tool in enhancing student’s level of mastery in chemistry. In a study on the overall effectiveness of computer package in teaching chemistry, biology and physics in Turkey, the results indicated that computer packages has a positive effect on the academic achievement of students. Pontecorvo et al (1997) in a study to assess the effects of computer package on attitudes, motivation or learning, and the possible advantages of computer-assisted learning programs among secondary school students also reported a higher achievement rate for the experimental group that received computer packages than those in the control group who were exposed to traditional methods of instruction. Likewise, Levine and Donitsa (1997) compared the effects of traditional learning strategies to computer packages in applications and the assessment using chemistry Achievement Test on students and the results of the evaluations showed that students in the experimental group were more successful at answering questions than those in the control group.
Similar results were reported by Yalcinalp, Geban and Ozkan, (1995) among 6th grade chemistry students (Park, Lee and Kim, (2009)) among secondary school level learners. Similarly, in a study where the traditional and the computer package methods were used in teaching acids and bases in secondary chemistry ,a 52% improvement was observed in the post-instruction test results of the students of the experimental group whereas the control group only improved by 31%. The independent two-sample t-test was applied for the evaluation of the results and they were significantly different (Morgil, (2005)). The significant positive influence of computer package on the student’s achievement in chemistry has also been supported by Ranade (2006) and Bollinger (1986) whose conclusion was that computer packages provides greater opportunities to the students to learn and brings a new kind of experiences for the students in secondary schools thus it is better than the traditional method of learning chemistry.
In Africa, studies on use of computer package in teaching and learning of chemistry are few. The few documented research findings however tend to corroborate the observations by researchers globally. For instance, Etukudo (2003), in a study on effects of computer package on Nigerian secondary school students’ performance in Mathematics, showed that performance of students exposed to computer packages was better than that of their counterparts exposed to the traditional methods.
In Nigeria, few studies document the impacts of computer package on classroom practice. In a study on enhancement of science performance through computer-assisted instruction among selected secondary school learners in Nigeria, Samuel (2012) noted that the improvement in science performance by the experimental group resulted from the application of computer package in science lessons and that the instructional methods used by teachers influence the performance of the learners. Wambugu and Changeiywo (2008) also noted that the teaching approach that a teacher adopts is one factor that may affect students’ achievement, and therefore use of an appropriate teaching approach is critical to the successful teaching and learning of science. The studies however were not specific to chemistry.
Although numerous research findings on computer packages globally attest to its positive impact on students’ learning outcome, Omwenga (2005) noted that Nigerian high school teachers, chemistry teachers included have done very little to introduce this modern teaching approach in their classroom practice . This is in spite of the government sponsored day secondary education provided by the Nigeria Government that is making it possible for schools to increasingly acquire computers thereby ensuring that the infrastructure is put in place awaiting implementation by teachers (Ministry Of Education Science And Technology Sessional Paper, (2012)). The integration of computer package could have helped schools in checking the persistent poor performance witnessed from the year 2005 to 2012 in science subjects such as chemistry both national in Nigeria and in Jos-North Lga. Table 1.1 compares students’ performance in three science subjects (Chemistry, Biology and Physics) in the Nigeria Certificate of Secondary Examination (NECO).
Table 1.1 Students’ Performance in Sciences at NECO Level (2005 – 2012)
Source: Jos-North LGA N.E.C.O. subject analysis 2005-2012.
Table 1.1 shows that between 2005 and 2012, students’ performance in science subjects had persistently been low (lower than 6 out of 12). The poor performance was found to be
more noticeable in chemistry which registered the least mean score for all the science subjects within the same period. A similar trend in performance in the subject is observed for Jos-North Lga students over the same period as is illustrated in Table 1.2.
Table 1.2 Jos-North LGA Students Performance in Chemistry
|YEAR||Jos-North LGA||National Chemistry||Maximum|
|Chemistry Mean Score||Mean Score|
Source: Jos-North LGA N.E.C.O. subject analysis 2005-2012.
From Table 1.2, it is evident that for the period of 2005 to 2012, Jos-North LGA chemistry mean score was equally below average though slightly higher than the national averages for the same period. Ogembo (2012) attribute the students’ poor achievement in chemistry to a number of factors including student’s attitude towards chemistry, teacher’s attitude towards student ability in the subject, availability and use of resources, poor learning environment, and poor method of instruction. Research by Chiriswa (2002) and Kwaka (2003) commenting on the deplorable levels of performance
by students in the sciences maintain that sciences subjects (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) are poorly performed by most high school students in Nigeria.
1.3 Statement of the Problem.
Chemistry is one of the science subjects studied in the secondary school. It is central to many science related courses such as medicine, pharmacy amongst others. In spite of this fact, students’ achievement in chemistry both at national level and Jos-North Lga is poor. Available research findings attribute the students’ poor achievement to a number of factors including student’s attitude towards chemistry, teacher’s attitude towards student ability in the subject, availability and use of resources, poor learning environment, and poor method of instruction. Integration of computer package in teaching and learning of chemistry has been proposed as one of the modern approaches which could lead to improved achievement. However, there is limited research on the extent and effect of use of computer package on students’ mastery and achievement in chemistry in Nigeria and Jos-North Lga. The existing gap in research in Nigeria and Jos-North Lga demands that studies be carried out to ascertain the impact of integration of computer package students’ mastery of chemistry concepts and achievement. The research therefore sought to investigate the effects of computer package on students’ mastery and achievement in chemistry.
1.4 Research Objectives.
The study was intended to compare computer package and traditional learning methods in teaching chemistry. Specifically the study sought to:
- Establish the difference in performance in chemistry in Jos-North LGA secondary school students exposed to computer package compared to those exposed to traditional learning methods.
- Determine the gender difference in performance in Jos-North LGA secondary school students exposed to computer package.
- Determine the age difference in performance in Jos-North-LGA secondary school students exposed to computer package.
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following research hypothesis were tested:
HO1: There is no significant difference in performance in chemistry of students exposed to computer package compared to those exposed to traditional methods of learning.
HO2: There is no significant difference in performance in chemistry for students exposed to computer package based on gender.
HO3: There is no significant difference in performance in chemistry for students exposed to computer package based on age.
1.6 Significance of the Research.
The study draws its importance from the fact that achieving a country scientific and technological development targets depends on the quality of human resource it prepares. Educational institutions, secondary schools included are charged with the responsibility of preparing a country’s human resource by implementing the agreed curriculum. Thus poor implementation of curricula directly hampers development of the human resource. The study findings will therefore be beneficial to:-
Ministry of Education – help in coming up with polices that would promote formulation and dissemination of ICT integration in to school curricular.
School Administrators – enable them adopt best practices for implement ICT integration in classroom teaching and learning.
Chemistry Teachers – benefit from information on best practices on integration of computer package in teaching and learning for improvement of students’ achievement in chemistry.
1.7 Assumption of the Research.
The study assumes that teachers implementing the computer packages lessons are of same competence motivation and have a positive attitude towards integration of computer package in the teaching and learning of chemistry. It also presupposes that the students undertaking the computer packages lessons are of the same ability motivation and attitude towards use of computer package in chemistry.
1.8 Delimitation of the Research.
The study delimit itself to issues of integration of computer package in the teaching and learning of chemistry so as to enable an assessment of its impact on students’ mastery of the subject. This is in spite of the fact that integration of ICT tools such as computer packages in the teaching and learning is anticipated in the entire secondary school curricula subject
1.9 Theoretical Frame Work
This research was based on the Constructivism Theory. Constructivism is a term used to represent a collection of theories, such as generative learning (Wittrock (1990)), discovery learning (Bruner, (1961)), and situated learning (Brown, Collins, and Duguid, (1989)). The fundamental insight of constructivist theory is that knowledge is actively constructed and not simply acquired by the learner. According to Roblyer and Edwards (2006), learners construct knowledge themselves rather than simply receiving it from knowledgeable teachers. Computer package programs have been related to constructivism in that students are at the centre of the learning process. Rather than being passive recipients of instruction, they are actively involved in constructing knowledge (Hogan, (2005)). Constructivism Theory argues that humans beings generate knowledge and meaning from an interaction between their experiences and their ideas. Learners learn by experimentation, and not by being told what will happen. They are left to make their own inferences, discoveries and conclusions. It also emphasizes that learning is not a haphazard process but that students learn the new information that is presented to them by building upon knowledge that they already possess. This theory suggests that the teacher’s role is not only to observe and assess but to also engage with the students while they are completing activities, suggesting solutions and posing questions to the students for promotion of reasoning (DeVries, et al (2002)).
Computer package programs are interactive and enable students to control the pace and sequence of their learning (Driscoll, (2000), Silverman and Casazza, (2000)). During the learning process, a student is presented with specific tasks and must master them before going to the next level. In the drill and practice of computer package, the pace and number of trials to reach mastery varies from student to student.
1.10 Conceptual Frame Work.
Figure 1.1 conceptualizes the relationship between the elements identified as important in integration of computer package in the teaching and learning for mastery of chemistry. The achievement in chemistry which is the dependent variable is effected by mastery of chemistry content as is dictated to by the method of instruction (independent variable)
adopted in teaching and learning of the subject. The process is mediated by student
factors which include gender and age.
Figure1.1 Conceptual Frame Work
Independent variable variable
Method of Instruction
- Computer package
- Traditional method of learning
Mediating variable Dependent
Source: Samuel, N. J. (2012).
|1.12 Definition of Terms|
|Computer package||The use of computers to present drills,||practice|
|exercises and tutorial sequence to students during|
|the teaching and learning process.|
|Curriculum||The set of courses and their content offered at an|
|institution of learning|
|Drill||Something done over and over in order to develop|
|Simulation||An attempt to model a real-life or hypothetical|
|situation on a computer so that it can be studied to|
|see how the system works.|
|Traditional method||Teacher centered teaching and learning approaches|
|that are commonly adopted in the classroom in the|
|delivery of curricula.|
|Tutorial||As used here to mean a computer program whose|
|it is to assist users in learning how to use a software|
|product e.g. where the user follows on-screen where|
upon they do the tutorial exercises and receives feedback depending on their action.