ASSESSING THE USE OF ICT IN TEACHING AND LEARNING IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS.

Author:Dei, De-Graft Johnson
 
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  1. Background to the Study

    Today, the educational sector of Ghana is confronted with series of changes and reforms. Numerous strategies for teaching and learning 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). ICT has become a force that has changed many aspects of the way we live and every aspect of human endeavor (Quarshie, 2015). Therefore, its integration into the classroom will significantly improve the educational experience.

    ICT is the use of technology in managing and processing information with the use of electronic computer system and computer software to convert, store, protect, process, transmit and retrieve information. Oje (2005) states that awareness towards the use of ICT is increasing in the classroom in the developing world such that mere verbalization or over verbalization of words alone to communicate ideas, skills and attitude to educate learners is futile.

    ICT has snow become integral part of teaching and learning in schools. It provides opportunities for both teachers and students to learn how to operate in an information and technology age. ICTs are drastically changing schools syllabus in a number of ways, demanding that teachers focus on new teaching methodologies instead of relying on traditional methodologies. As Hare (2007) puts it, the successful integration of technology in education is not simple, because it depends on such interlinking variables.

    The development of ICT itself dictates that in order for teachers and students to adjust to modern society and the global economy, the way in which teachers teach and students what to be taught requires modifications to and around ICT (Watson, 2001). However, Oje (2005) and Hare (2007) argue that although educators appear to acknowledge the value of ICT, difficulties continue to be encountered in adopting and integrating such technologies. Kok (2007), also express that though many teachers are comfortable with the emergence of technology in general, they still cannot be ready or capable to integrate these technology into their classrooms.

    Kok (2007) noted that the problem of information technology illiteracy was a serious one among. That is, many teachers did not have basic computer appreciation skills and noted that the problem was a hindrance to efforts at achieving the use of computers for educational purposes in schools. Same conditions can be said of Ghana as established by Quarsshie (2015). In Ghana, the state of ICT facilities, and the lack of adequate ICT text books affect effective teaching and learning. If teachers and students in senior secondary schools are exposed to ICT usage in classroom teachings, how would it bring about an impact in teaching and learning. It is against this background that the study seeks to assess the role of ICT in secondary school education in Ghana.

  2. Literature Review

    2.1 The Concept of ICT and its impact on Teaching and Learning

    According to IMPICT (2012), ICT is the process of gathering, creating, processing, and storage of information by using hardware, software, as well as the internet and global system of mobile communication (GSM). However, the communication aspect of ICT is assuming more significance now than ever before, hence, it is now more appropriate to use the expression ICT rather than mere information technology which has become the back bone of the new information based global economy (Quarshie, 2015)

    Today, development has brought about evaluation of ICT, which is ever growing and continuously affecting every aspect of human endeavour (Abifarina, 2003). Thus, the teacher using ICT in the class will be able to present a well-planned set of lessons and the students will experience these lessons in an exciting environment. Ojo (2005) notes that the misconception that the computer will replace the teacher and thus render them redundant does not arise; all the computer does is to reinforce and enhance the teacher's lessons. ICT can help students to become independent learners capable of developing critical thinking and problems-solving strategies, collaborative works and inquiry. It allows for information searches, computer modelling, team-work, brain-storming and revision. Teachers can use computers to make learning experiences more effective and to offer students access to a variety of learning tools, expert opinions and alternative viewpoints (Quarshie, 2015).

    Idahosa and Ero (2005) states that in computer assisted instruction; lessons production is guided by the learners' knowledge, skills, understanding, expectations as well as motivation. This implies that a computer is not an instructor in itself but rather a mere vehicle of instruction. It is a clear secret that the computer offers powerful features for facilitating learning. Utor and Agbi (2006) identifies telecommunication and teleconferencing as another useful development in ICT where students can sit in their respective classrooms or research centres and partake in teaching without necessarily visiting each other.

    ICT play a critical role in socio-economic development because they are being used to achieve sustainable development (Quarshie, 2015). That is, ICT sustains development by enhancing the following:

    1. Improvement of institution information management, inter-institutional communication, communication between regional or state cooperation institutions and their organizations thereby facilitate integration.

    2. Promote trade, financial cooperation, agricultural development, educational research, environmental protection etc.

    3. ICT could also catalyse trans-border data flows bringing down barriers to personal communications and removing the constraints of national boundaries, physical disabilities as well as distance. By providing access to network, ICT reduces the costs of international communication among countries.

    2.3 Policy on ICT Education in Ghana

    The government of Ghana has committed to the transformation of the agro-based economy into an economy driven by ICT that generates an information and knowledge--based economy. The government of Ghana has acknowledged the need for ICT training and education in the schools and the improvement of the education system as a whole. The development of ICT into education will result in the creation of new possibilities for learners and teachers to engage in new ways of information acquisition and analysis; ICT will enhance access to Education and improve the quality of education delivery on equitable basis.

    Again, the government of Ghana has developed comprehensive programs that aims at the utilization of ICT within the education sector. This will help to transform the educational system and thereby improve the lives of Ghanaians. Through the implementation and utilisation of ICT in education, the culture and practice of traditional memory-based learning will be transformed...

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