Demographic Variables And Ict Access As Predictors Of Information Communication Technologies' Usage Among Science Teachers In Federal Unity Schools In Nigeria.

Author:Aramide, Kolawole Akinjide
Position:Report
 
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Introduction

Science is a universal subject with no boundaries and the claim for its inclusion in the school curriculum was established based on its ability to revolutionize human life as well as the society. Evidence on relevance of science in schools suggests that science has been found to have influence on every field of human endeavor. Prakash (2005) while arguing for the inclusion of science in school curriculum described science as a subject that provides unique training in observation and reasoning for students and enables them to form an objective judgment. This is corroborated by Armstrong (2001) who emphasized that science is taught to provide training in and knowledge of scientific method that is useful in life pursuits.

Science as a subject and discipline has contributed immensely to the development in our society and has helped the modern society to be able to respond effectively to changing social, economic, and environmental trends to meet sustainability goals. Olatoye (2007) emphasized that science will continue to be a tool for explaining interactions between human activities and our environment while also proffering solutions to many problems that may arise as a result of human activities.

Turner (2003) presented four arguments to support the teaching and learning of science in schools viz: economic argument, democratic/humanistic argument, skills argument, and cultural argument. The economic argument of teaching science in schools is based on the need to produce more scientists to meet the supply demands in science-related fields. The economic argument is considered as the dominant reason why science is taught especially in advanced and prosperous countries (Hassard, 2010).

The relevance and importance of ICT in the teaching of science has been discussed and advanced at relevant fora. The National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) (International Technology Education Association, 2000), the International Society of Technology in Education, ISTE (2000) and British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, BECTA (2010) recommended the use of ICT in the teaching of science subjects, as a result of observation that reveals that science teachers are not using ICT for teaching and learning of science.

Ramayah (2006) emphasised that ICT provides access to a huge range of resources that are of high quality and relevant to scientific learning. In some instances, the multimedia resources available enable visualization and manipulation of complex models, three dimensional images and movement to enhance understanding of scientific ideas. Lua and Sim (2008) reiterated the capability of ICT in widening the range of materials that can be used in teaching and learning to include text, still and moving images and sound, and increase the variety of ways that the material can be used for whole class and individual learning. Therefore, science teachers have the opportunity of meeting the needs of students with different learning styles as well as being creative in their teaching through the use of ICT.

Of what use is Demographic variables a determinant to effective teaching?

Demographic variables have been described as major factors that may influence or predict the use of ICT resources by individuals. Among the demographic factors that are often cited as having an influence on ICT use include: gender; income; level of education, skills and age (UNDP, 2011; Inan and Lowther, 2009). For the purpose of this study, demographic variables such as age, gender, teaching experience, subject(s) taught, computer use experience, and educational qualification were considered. Therefore, for teachers to effectively make use of ICT resources in the classroom, they must have easy access to various types of ICT resources (Alston, Miller, Chanda, and Elbert, 2003). Access describes the extent to which a particular user is able to easily locate particular resources for use as well as the degree of accessibility of accessibility of such resources. Access is a factor that can influence the use of ICT resources by the science teachers. The ease of location would determine whether a teacher would use ICT resources for teaching or not. It is expected that if teachers finds it easy locating ICT resources the tendency to use such resources is high and vice versa.

There had been several studies on the use of ICT by teachers such as Aladejana (2007), Jarosievitz (2009), Hernesey, Harrison, and Wimkote (2010), Oye, Iada, and Rabin (2011), and Jarosievitz (2012). The researcher is unaware of any study that has investigated the combination of demographic variables and ICT access as factors that predict ICT use among science teachers in FUSs in Nigeria. Therefore, the focus of this study is to investigate the extent to which demographic variables such as age, gender, subjects taught, educational qualification, ICT use experience, and teaching experience as well as degree of ICT accessibility and location of ICT access predict ICT use among science teachers in Federal Unity Schools in Nigeria. The following research questions were addressed in this study:

Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to investigate the extent to which demographic variables, ICT accessibility, and location of ICT access predict their use of ICT in teaching at the Federal Unity Schools (FUSs) in Nigeria. The specific objectives of the study are to:

i. investigate the pattern of ICT access (i.e location of access and degree of accessibility) among science teachers in FUSs in Nigeria

ii. determine the relationship among demographic variables, ICT access, and ICT use by science teachers in FUSs in Nigeria.

iii. find out the best predictors of ICT use among the demographic variables (age, gender, subjects taught, educational qualification, ICT use experience, and teaching experience), degree of ICT accessibility and location of access among science teachers in FUSs

Research Questions

The following research questions were answered in the study

  1. What is the degree of ICT accessibility among science teachers in FUSs in Nigeria?

  2. Where is the preferred location of ICT access among science teachers in FUSs in Nigeria?

  3. What relationships exist among demographic variables, ICT access, and ICT use by science teachers in FUSs?

  4. Which of the demographic variables (such as age, gender, subjects taught, educational qualification, ICT use experience, and teaching experience), degree of ICT accessibility and location of ICT access predict ICT use?

    Research Hypotheses

    The following hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance

    [H.sub.01]. There is no significant joint relationship among demographic variables, ICT accessibility location of access and ICT use among science teachers in FUSs

    [H.sub.02]: There is no significant relative contribution of demographic variables, ICT Accessibility and location of ICT access to ICT use by science teachers in FUSs in Nigeria

    Literature Review

    Interest in the use of ICT resources especially in secondary education is increasing significantly (Alampay, 2006). Therefore, as the teaching importance of ICT resources continue to rise among teachers involved in secondary education, understanding of the factors that encourage ICT use among the teachers become critical (Jiang, Hsu, Klein and Lin, 2000). Alampay (2006) while commenting on differences in capabilities and opportunities to access and use of ICT resources by people affirmed that while access to ICT is a prerequisite to use, the capability approach says that individual differences, capabilities and choice play a role on whether an individual will make use of these ICT resources.

    Scholars have theorized demographic factors as having the ability to determine the extent of use or non-use of ICT. Among the demographic factors that are often cited as having an influence on ICT use: gender; income; level of education, and age (UNDP, 2011). Olatokun (2009) highlighted demographic factors such as income level, level of education, age, and gender as the key individual differences that determine the freedoms, capabilities and functioning's that relate to ICT use.

    Mayanja (2002) affirmed the influence of age on the use of ICT by reporting that young teachers make use of ICT resources more than the old people. According to the study, young teachers within the age range of 21-40 years were found to be more capable of using the ICT resources than every other age group. One explanation for this is the fact that the ICT is a more recent development and that the young population would have had the benefit of being exposed to it in their schools. This was corroborated by Alampay's (2006) study in the Philippines that emphasised that the use of ICT is more pronounced among the younger generation. Sanni, Awoleye, Egbetokun and Siyanbola (2010) corroborated Mayanja (2002) views on age differences in ICT use. According to them ICT usage is more pronounce among the younger teachers than among their older counterparts.

    On the issue of gender and ICT use, Kirk and Zander (2004) reported gender as a very influencing factor on ICT use.. They (Kirk and Zander) reported that there is a gender digital divide, as result of high versus low literacy, high versus low income and rural-urban divide. According to Alampay (2006) men were more receptive to ICT use than women which may mean that male teachers would be more receptive to ICT use than female teachers. This according to Alampay (2006) may be due to the fact that women are more preoccupied with other issues that they do not have time to use the ICT facility. Research findings on gender gap have shown that females teachers differ in terms of ICT use (Mitra, 2001; Liu, 2000; Butler, 2000).

    Furthermore, scholars such as Abu-Obadieh et.al. (2012), Teczi (2009), Jawarneh, El-Hersh and Khazaleh (2007), Sabariah Sharif, Khaziati and Osman (2005) have established, in their studies, a non-significant influence of...

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