INTEGRATING INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) TO TEACHING AND LEARNING PROCESS IN NIGERIA: THE PROS AND CONS PRESENTED BY

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1 INTEGRATING INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) TO TEACHING AND LEARNING PROCESS IN NIGERIA: THE PROS AND CONS PRESENTED BY SURAJO A. MUSA RINGIM mnse* RISLAN ABDULAZEEZ KANYA** *JIGAWA STATE INSTITUTE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY KAZAURE, JIGAWA STATE **BAZE UNIVERSITY, ABUJA, NIGERIA , BEING A PAPER PRESENTED AT 1 ST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF ARTS & SOCIAL SCIENCES AT SA ADATU RIMI COLLEGE OF EDUCATION KUMBOTSO, KANO STATE NOV,

2 Abstract: Although valuable lessons may be learned from best practices around the world, there is no one formula for determining the optimal level of ICT integration in the educational system. This paper discussed how ICT is integrated to teaching and learning process around the globe. Based on the level of integration in other countries, the challenging factors supporting or hindering the use of ICT oriented methodologies in Nigeria is also cited. There are over 100 Research and Education Networks in the World today and Nigeria remains the biggest country in the World that is yet to commission one. Many countries that are not as endowed as Nigeria or have been grappling with more internal challenges than Nigeria have functional and thriving RENs. Examples include Sudan, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, Somalia, etc. Significant challenges that policymakers and planners, educators, education administrators, and other stakeholders need to consider include educational policy and planning, infrastructure, language and content, capacity building, and financing. Some suggestions were also made to overcome the aforementioned challenges. 2

3 Introduction: Learning takes place when an unknown become known or rather known ideas are updated or upgraded. Learning is an all round development from the day you were born to the day you die. The processes involved were the methodologies adopted to make learning possible. It is believed that the methodologies used to achieve knowledge transfer are the alpha and omega of every successful teaching and learning process. This is why many efforts have been made toward improving the process (Methodology) thus, the role of ICT in education is commonly associated with a process of "educational innovation" Zohreh & Saedah (2009). While we recognize that the use of instructional technology in the higher education teaching and learning processes is still in its infancy in Nigeria, ICT instructional use is vital to the progress and development of faculty and students alike. Higher education institutions, especially those in the West, have adopted ICT as a means to impart upon students, the knowledge and skills demanded by 21st century educational advancement (UNESCO, 2002a) in Nwachuku et-al, (2009). According to UNESCO (2002b) in Nwachuku et-al, (2009), ICT now permeates the education environment and underpins the very success of 21 st century education. ICT also adds value to the processes of learning and to the organization and management of learning institutions. Technologies are a driving force behind much of the development and innovation in both developed and developing countries. As such, all countries must seek to benefit from technological developments. To be able to do so, professionals (including faculty) have to be educated with sound ICT backgrounds, independent of specific computer platforms or software environments, to meet the required competencies of the ever-changing global environment. This is the case for higher education, what then is the case with our primary and secondary education. 3

4 Conceptual Background and Methodologies: Teaching is an active process in which one person shares information with others to provide them with the information to make behavioral changes. Learning is the process of assimilating information with a resultant change in behavior. Teaching-learning process is a planned interaction that promotes behavioral change that is not a result of maturation or coincidence Terressa (2000). He further explains that teaching and learning process involved five different stages which are Assess, Plan, Implement, Evaluate and Document. Learning is the act, process, or experience of gaining knowledge or skill. It is Knowledge or skill gained through schooling or study. According to Psychologists, learning is a behavioral modification especially through experience or conditioning. Information according to Encarta (2009) is a definite knowledge acquired or supplied about something or somebody. It is gathered facts and data about a specific subject. A handbook on computer and information processing, (2004) defines information as a data that is organized, has meaning and is useful. It can be in the form of reports, newsletters, receipt, picture, sign etc. information can even be in form of command and responses, as one responds to command, he definitely perceives and in turn responds to the received information i.e. either accepting or declining. It also defines Communication as the activity or process of exchanging information mutual understanding form. It is the act of sharing resources between different parties. It further defines Communication as an exchange of information between people, e.g. by means of speaking, writing or using a common system of signs or behavior. Integration is a combination of parts or object that works together well. It is the process of coordinating separate personality elements into a balanced whole or producing behavior compatible with somebody s environment Encarta (2009). Thus, integration of ICT to teaching and learning process is an attempt to concatenating the two aspects and successfully 4

5 works as one or rather improves the earlier. Information and Communication Technology ICT is therefore a process of information transfer via technological media, hence, technology here serves as the methodology used to transfer or communicate the information (i.e. the Concept). Information and Communication Technology ICT is synonymous to teaching and learning processes and can be describe base on these three basic terms i.e. The Concept, Methods and Transfer of the Concept as seen in the figure below: CONCEPT METHODOLOGY TRANSFER Concept is what is been taught, in other words it is the information to be communicated. The process involved in teaching the concept is the methodology hence, is the media (Technology) through which the information can be transferred. Knowledge transfer is the resultant learning that took place; or rather we say the concept was successfully communicated, as said by Doyle, T. in Sajjad (2010) that teaching in the absence of learning is just talking. Factors Supporting or Hindering the Use of ICT Oriented Methodologies: The result of European elearning Forum for Education (ELFE1 and 2) research on five participating countries (Denmark, Germany, Norway, Portugal and United Kingdom) outlined that ICT facilities can be categorised in number of ways in which ICT can be used to optimize the positive impact of ICT on teaching and learning process. How ICT is used 5

6 depends on a number of factors such as for example the financial resources available to the school, teaching traditions and organisational structures. One of the crucial factors is the ICT infrastructure available for instruction. These involve interactive boards; facilitate experiments, video and sound, power point, animations, internet and for communication, learning platforms, dissemination of information, contracts with other schools, and distance education. It also revealed that Most of the ways in which ICT was used mentioned above are perceived by teachers and students as positive, but there are also circumstances that make the picture more complex. It was observed that all schools visited had according to themselves a more or less sufficient number of computers available. In some schools the wish was expressed to have more computers, but in no case the lack of computers was a problem. Most available computers also seemed to be modern computers equipped for multimedia use and with access to the internet and . Schools also seemed to have access to the software considered to be relevant for the learning and teaching in the schools. The infrastructure was not seen as a problem in any of the schools. On the contrary most schools seemed to be rather satisfied with the ICT equipment they had. However, if they perceive the need for new tools they either improvise or plan to develop infrastructure. Now, the question here is comparing each and every factor afore mentioned to Nigerian situation. ELFE1 and 2 further categorized ICT teachers into three groups; they are: 1) Teachers who seemed to be confident and enthusiastic users of ICT. They reported that they had learned how to use ICT, both technically and pedagogically, in many different ways. 2) Teachers who were placed in the ICT-rich learning environment. Thus, they have to use the infrastructure available in the school. Gradually they become more and more confident. They are aware of changes introduced by ICT into their teaching practices. 6

7 3) Teachers who have not integrated ICT into their teaching. This group did not exist in all visited schools, but most likely in several of the schools. References made to these teachers indicated that the majority of these teachers consisted of teachers close to retirement. The entire teacher s categories above when compared to Nigerian case do exist. Majority of primary and secondary teachers fall in the second and third category. Many teachers shy away from mathematic related subject due to the fear syndrome that naturally exists since from their preparatory study. In an educational tour attended in China 2005, it was noticed that application of ICT find cognizance since from their kindergarten schools through their primary, secondary up to tertiary level. A child become familiar with computing facilities from their day one in kindergartens; and becomes their play partner even during their leisure hours. Despite the fact that most of the schools or even all the secondary schools are ICT enable, many of them has internet access up to the extent that some schools were internationally connected. Universities were internationally rated according to how much contribution was made to knowledge. One of the determining factors is through assessing the academic contribution made through conferences, seminars, journals and other academic publications of every Institution. This is possible through common interactions of universities globally via ICT medium. A 2009 survey of the online presence of 70 higher education Institutions found that 46 Nigerian universities have an online presence whereas 24 are not online. The University of Jos, for example, has an online library (egranary) and select infrastructure on campus to support basic forms of ICT integration in education. Some of the other university websites 7

8 have online-learning portals with downloadable tutorials and provisions for online chatting; however, none support virtual classrooms, tele-conferencing and other synchronous forms of online-learning. Government departments, non-governmental organizations, financial institutions and individuals are all beginning to understand the need for these types of learning tools and have begin to fund ICT implementation in Nigerian educational institutions. Some of these organizations include the Nigerian Communications Commission NCC and Education Trust Funds ETF Iloanusi and Osuagwu (2009) in Nwachukwu (2009). The Executive Secretary NUC Professor Okojie, in his welcome address during the National Stakeholders Meeting on the Nigerian Research and Education Network (NgREN) held in Abuja on 11 th June, 2013 stress on why the NUC is so passionate about ensuring that a Research and Education Network is established in Nigeria. The fact that economic development in the 21 st Century is directly tied to science and technology S&T knowledge that can be harnessed within a Nation-state. He further explained that Countries like the Republic of Korea, Japan, China, among others, have resorted to S and T to bridge limitations in the availability of natural resources. Innovation, knowledge acquisition, sharing and collaboration are all stymied when the required platforms and networks to support them are absent or expensive to acquire. Nigeria, it should be noted, faces specific problems in terms of limited quality of teaching resources, especially S and T teaching facilities and tools, and carrying capacity. He also stated that there are over 100 Research and Education Networks in the World today and Nigeria remains the biggest country in the World that is yet to commission one. Many countries that are not as endowed as Nigeria or have been grappling with more internal challenges than Nigeria have functional and thriving RENs. Examples include Sudan, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, 8

9 Uganda, Somalia, etc. These countries are sharing huge research data, pooled bandwidth, video/audio/data communication, etc. on their RENs. In addition, they have benefitted from collaboration with other countries through international leased lines on submarine cables. Such collaborations include remote class participation, remote experimentation, symposia, inaugural lectures, etc., which are currently being done in collaboration with countries like USA, UK, Germany, and France via their RENs. Little wonder that in the World Economic Forum 2012 Global Information Technology report, Nigeria is ranked 112th in terms of Network Readiness behind several African Countries including; Rwanda, Namibia, Gambia, Senegal, Kenya, Morocco, Cape Verde, Egypt, Mauritius, South Africa, Malawi, Botswana, Tunisia, Tanzania, Ghana, Zambia and Uganda. The sister report on Global Competitiveness places Nigeria 115th out of 144 countries surveyed to underscore the relevance of quality S and T infrastructure in economic development in today s globalised world. Our population size, geographical spread and diversity in other respects necessitates the utilization of innovative approaches to solving challenges such as access, availability, and quality of education without which we CANNOT guarantee the attainment of Vision 20: 2020, not to talk of transforming the economy. One of the major problems according to him was that many countries have had the benefit of a National Fibre Optic backbone as an output from their long term telecommunications infrastructure planning and in many cases long state ownership of the Telco s, including the provision of Fibre optic cabling and modern transmission techniques like Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DWDM) that allow huge amounts of communication transmission to pass through fibre. Therefore, in such climes, universities/education and research institutions didn t have to work too hard to get a REN established because public infrastructures existed in abundance. All they had to do was to connect themselves into the nearest fibre or 9

10 telecommunication operators point of presence. In addition, because those infrastructure were public owned, it was very cheap and easy to set aside capacity for education traffic. However, and unfortunately, Nigeria s hitherto national carrier, NITEL, has neither been able to deliver such a backbone to the Nigerian environment, nor been able to acquire submarine bandwidth capability. Indeed these networks have only become available within the last couple of years on a National basis from providers like MTN, Airtel and Globacom. This void inspired many organizations, including tertiary institutions to invest in satellite based systems, consequently eliminating the collaborative potential held by full interconnectivity between institutions - as is the case with many advanced countries, and even within the African continent. Furthermore, the leaderships of these Institutions have not been motivated to champion technological innovations as there has been a less than adequate exposure to modern learning and knowledge sharing tools. Information and Communication ICT applications in primary and secondary schools as well have some known, key deteriorating factors that may includes: Lack of interest in Teachers to integrating ICT in to their teaching due their negligence, deliberate attempt or as result of their incapability to use the ICT facilities. Lack of computing facilities in our primary and secondary schools. Take for example the state of Jigawa with a total number of 406 Junior Secondary Schools, very few of them have computing and internet facilities and only 19 Senior Secondary School were provided with computers and Internet facilities under Universal Service Provision Fund USPF by the Federal Government out of

11 Senior Secondary Schools in Jigawa State. Although there might be other provisions made by the State itself and other agencies like NITDA, NCC etc; yet, Jigawa been one of the pioneer state in ICT, still suffer these setbacks, one can imagine the situation of others. Lack of language; deterioration of our educational system in Nigeria directly affects the application of ICT because the use of English is important to both teaching and learning of ICT. One major challenge faced by ICT based teaching and learning process was that both the trainer and the trainee need to be ICT enabled which is not the case here in Nigeria. To our communal setup, availability of computers in the schools is even the issue as most of the existing primary and secondary schools are yet to be on National grid let alone becoming ICT enabled. Most of the existing teaching staff in both primary and secondary school are not even confident users of ICT; hence, they find it difficult to make it their method of teaching. Lack of Access to Computing facilities after school hours: The fact that social differences exist between students and that this may have an impact on the students opportunities of practicing what was been taught in schools. Benefits to Integrating ICT to Teaching and Learning Process: There is no one best method for school teachers, each procedure or method is best for a specific purpose or condition and good education exposes the pupils to them all Halima (2012). Despite the fact that many of our academics in the field of science and technology S and T have less or no educational background regarding principle and methods of teaching, 11

12 however, there are many excellent techniques applied to the current trend of teaching S and T concept. To these techniques, ICT plays a vital role towards portraying virtual ideas to its real life nature. The innovative nature of ICT is often propagated to suit the general innovative approach to the educational practice applied in the school. Although methods of imparting knowledge varies, approaches applied depends on different individual imparting the knowledge, same concept may be presented in diversified approaches based on the individual capability, yet, the laid principles and method of imparting knowledge find cognizance in teaching and learning process. Integration of ICT in the school s culture according to Fredriksson, (2009) was something that varied largely between schools. Many scholars experimented to find which among the methods of teaching is the most appropriate to the teaching and learning environment. Sajjad (2010) in her research paper titled effective teaching methods at higher education level, rated the lecture method as the most effective teaching methods among all others because of the following reasons: It is good for large classes, Teacher is experienced and has mastery of subject matter, and explain all points and can answer all questions raised by students, Students can ask if they need any clarification etc. Other effective teaching methods according to her is group discussion, individual presentation, assignment, seminars, workshops, conferences, brainstorming role play and case study i.e. scenario based. All the listed benefits attached to lecture method are also applicable to ICT related methodologies with some other added features like student remembering things easily when they see it again. 12

13 Richard et al (2007) in his Melbourne Model described the nine principles as an encouragement and support to the process of interdisciplinary learning there by providing a framework under which teachers from different backgrounds and disciplines can work together to plan, develop and provide coherent interdisciplinary learning experiences for students. Integrating ICT to teaching and learning process is a global issue of 21 st century. The European e-learning Forum for Education (ELFE1) in their research drew a conclusion that ICT have made a difference in several ways in the schools including how the students are taught and how they learn. Most of these changes according to them can be described in positive terms. To successfully integrate ICT to teaching and learning process according to Welliver s Instructional Model (Welliver, 1990) in a Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, University of Warwick, 6-9 September 2006; following five hierarchical order need to be observed. These include Familiarisation, Utilisation, Integration, Reorientation, and Revolution. Other benefits that may be derived after successful integration is that Virtual Library (that will provide the community with access to hundreds of electronic journals online in addition to other digitized materials). Virtual Institute for Higher Education Pedagogy (under which over 2000 teachers can be trained online on how to improve their pedagogical skills). Currently, the World Bank, through the STEP-B Project of Nigeria Research Education Network NgREN, assisted tremendously as it provided the fund to enable this initial phase of the project, connecting 27 older Federal Universities, to take off. The Ministry of Communication Technology (through the Universal Service Provision Fund) has also 13

14 commenced the process of connecting 17 teaching hospitals to the main campuses of their corresponding universities and will also help to take service to the various colleges of medicine (where they are distinct from the main campuses). The USPF has also commenced a needs assessment to enable it provide complementary services on the network like providing a 50 seater smart classroom and multi-party video conferencing service layer between these 17 teaching hospitals and their corresponding universities Okojie (2013). The prospects for the use of ICT in teaching and learning in Nigerian higher education are therefore positive, though there is much work left to be done Nwachukwu (2009). Conclusion A popular and one of the most current methodologies is the student-centred approach which actively engages the young person in the learning process. This is critical if skills which result in healthy behaviours are to be fostered and developed. Some of the learning strategies that could be incorporated in a comprehensive approach include self-directed learning, cooperative learning, role playing, behavioural rehearsal, peer education and parent involvement. Consideration should be given to allowing students to plan some learning experiences. They could be provided with opportunities to identify topics or areas for further study, contribute information relevant to an issue for study and/or make suggestions for follow-up activities and this result in an avenue to employing the application of information and communication technology ICT. Recommendations Below following the aforementioned challenges, some suggestions are here by presented: The present scope of (NgREN) should be sustained in order to advance teaching, learning and research in the Nigerian University System and should be expanded to include the State and Private universities as suggested by the (NgREN) communiqué. 14

15 State governments and private proprietors must ensure that their institutions are connected to the initial backbone that is being established. Federal Government to enlist into this network all the over 600 higher education and research institutes in Nigeria as well as their multiple campuses. Policymakers and planners, educators, education administrators, and other stakeholders need to consider include educational policy and planning, infrastructure, language and content, capacity building need to be revisited. Alternative power source should be made available as stated by the Honourable Minister of Education. Our primary and secondary teachers need to have a regular update on the current ICT related methodologies and encouragement to make it their method of teaching. The issue of language needs to be addressed. The already implemented secondary curriculum make sure students are exposed to practical session, and there is need for extending this to our primary schools. Government should make all possible effort to revive an indigenous telecommunication services as this may curtail some of the deterring factor causing the delay of the current NgREN project. 15

16 References: ELFE Steering Committee (2006) Report to the European Commission of the (ELFE) Project Brussels. European Trade Union Committee for Education. retrieved on 20th Aug, Encyclopedia Encarta, (2009) Informatics Science Microsoft Encyclopedia. Fredriksson, U. et al (2009) Ways to Use ICT in Schools to Optimize the Impact on Teaching and Learning. Online Journal Volume 2, No. 4. Halima, R.A. (2012) An Introduction to Principles and Methods of Teaching. 2 nd Edition, Albarka press and publishing company FCE Kano, Nigeria. Informatics Academy Singapore, (2004). Computer and Information Processing A study guide (version 1); Informatics Education Ltd. Singapore. Nwachukwu P. O; et-al (2009) Instructional Technology in Higher Education: A case of selected universities in the Niger Delta Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, Volume 10, Issue 2, Article 7. Okojie J.A. (2013) National Stakeholders Meeting on the Nigerian Research and Education Network (NgREN). A Welcome Address note by the Executive Secretary NUC Nigeria 26, Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, Abuja. Richard J. et al (2007) Principles of Adult Learning. Centre for the Study of Higher Education University of Melbourne retrieved on 20th Aug, Rukayyatu A.R. (2013) National Stakeholders Meeting on the Nigerian Research and Education Network (NgREN). A former Honourable Minister s Speech Abuja Nigeria. Sajjad S. (2010) Effective Teaching Methods at Higher Education Level. A Professory article from Department of Special Education University of Karachi Pakistan. Teressa B. (2000) Teaching Learning Process. Centre for Aide Regulation and Education North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services. Towards A Comprehensive School Health retrieved on 20th Aug, Zohreh A. K. and Saedah S. (2009) The Utilization and Integrating of ICT in Chemistry Teaching in Iranian High Schools. World Applied Sciences Journal 6 (11), University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. retrieved on 20th Aug,

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