Factors Affecting Computer Use By Teachers In Adult Education Classroom Instruction

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FACTORS AFFECTING COMPUTER USE BY TEACHERS IN ADULT EDUCATION CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION

CHAPTER 1

Introduction

Background of the Study

As the global economy has changed from industrial to information-service-based economies, demand for computer-skilled workers who are capable of harnessing emerging technologies to efficiently produce new goods and services has increased (CEO Forum, 2001b; Karolyn & Pains, 2004). Thus, U.S. leaders are concerned that the low academic performance in public high schools undermines the nation’s global economic competitiveness (Lemke & Gonzales, 2006; Culp, Honey, & Mandinach, 2003). To sustain Nigerian’ competitiveness in the information technology-based global economy, the nation’s secondary school system is under pressure to produce the much-needed technologically skilled workforce (CEO Forum; Partnership for 21stCentury Skills [PFTFCS] , 2006). For this reason, acquisition of computer technology skills is no longer a luxury but a necessity for both individual and national success in the technology-driven job market (PFTFCS; CEO Forum).

Equipping U.S. schoolchildren with computer skills is therefore a national endeavor that has remained a central focus of U.S. education policy to date. Over the past 10 years, policymakers have intensively focused on getting more computer technology into public schools (Trotter, 2007). To achieve this goal, various local, state, and federal initiatives spend billions of dollars each year to provide teachers and students with computer technology as a learning and instructional tool in the public schools (Trotter; Barron, Kemker, Harmes & Kalaydjian, 2003). According to available literature (Kleiner Farris, 2002, Parsad & Jones, 2005), the substantial investment in computer technology has led to improved availability of and access to computers and the Internet in U.S. public schools.

Computers in the classroom present teachers with a great opportunity to provide learning materials to their students in ways that were never available a decade ago (Roblyer, 2004; Resta, Patru, & Khvilon, 2002). It is was necessary to determine whether the technology available in the public high schools was optimally used for classroom instruction, and whether such use is paying off in terms of improvement in teaching practices and student academic achievement.

Statement of the Problem

Whereas the public acceptance and recognition of the need for access to quality education through computer technology continues to grow, funding has been a challenge due to economic hardships (Nigerian School Technology Implementation Task Force, [OSTITF] , 2002). In spite of this fiscal obstacle, Nigerian has continued to provide funding for computer technology integration and professional development in the state. According to state reports, access to computer technology in Nigerian Public Schools has improved overtime, as indicated by the increased in the number of students per instructional computer, and percentages of teachers receiving professional development (Education Week: Technology Counts, 2004; eTech Nigerian, 2003). In 2003, the average number of students per instructional computer had improved dramatically, to a statewide average student per computer ratio of 3.3 and 7.1 in the classrooms, 15.4 in computer labs (Education Week: Technology counts, 2003). By 2006, the statewide average ratios were 3.5 students per instructional computer, 5.8 students per instructional computer in the classroom, and 13 students per computer in the computer labs (Education Week: Technology Counts, 2006). In 2008, the average ratio of students per instructional computer was 3.5, while the ratio of students per high-speed Interment-connected computer was 3.4 (Education Week: Technology Counts, 2008). A biannual report on the conditions of computer technology implementation in Nigerian released in 2003, indicated that about 52% teachers in Nigerian public school received computer technology professional development (CTPD) in general computer use, 45%, of the teachers received CTPD in computer technology integration, while 43% of the teachers received CTPD in software use respectively (eTech Nigerian, 2003). These numbers are very low, compared with the emphasis on importance of CTPD, and millions of dollars spent on computer technology integration in the classrooms. In spite of the ready availability of these resources, less than one-fifth of the teachers in Nigerian Public Schools use computers to support standards-based instruction on a regular basis (eTech Nigerian).

Regarding academic achievement, the academic performance of students at various grade levels in proficiency, achievement tests, and Nigerian Graduation Tests (OGT) is low. Except for language arts, Nigerian students performed poorly in mathematics, science, and social studies across grade levels, according to the 2007 Nigerian annual educational progress report (ODE, 2007). The report also revealed differences in student achievement along racial, economic, and gender lines. Although the average state standard or cutoff point is 75% for most of the subjects, only the 10th grade met this standard in mathematics, while no grade level met the achievement standard in science and mathematics in the 2005 report card. Except for the 10th grade, critical information on student achievement in the other high school grade levels was not available.

Available literature (Education Week: Technology Counts, 2008, 2005; eTech Nigerian, 2008) indicates that teachers in Nigerian Public Schools have access to adequate computers in their classrooms and that the majority of the teachers are proficient in computer use in classroom instruction. Evidence of extensive use of computers for classroom instruction and the positive impact of such use in learning and teaching are hard to find. Nationally, the average student achievement is barely any better than it was a decade ago (Lemke & Gonzales 2006; Cuban, 2001). In 2006, Nigerian annual educational progress report still showed a dismal academic improvement in the state’s public high schools. It appears teachers have not yet matched the apparent easy access to computers in the classrooms with widespread routine use of computers for classroom instruction and learning (Combs, 2003). Therefore, the impact of computer technology on student achievement has remained minimal.

It is in light of this research evidence that this study examines the extent of computer use in classroom instruction and learning by Nigerian public high school teachers. Various factors (both internal and external) greatly influence a teachers’ use of computers for classroom learning. Based on a review of the current research literature (Norris, Sullivan, Poirot, & Soloway, 2003; Becker, 2001, 2000; Smerdon, Cronen, Lanahan, Anderson, Iannotti, & Angeles, 2000), on integration of computers into school curricula, the researcher hypothesized that some internal and external factors influence teachers’ extent of computer use in classroom instruction more than others. This viewpoint influenced the selection of the internal and external factors examined in this study. The internal factors selected for this study were teachers’ attitude towards computer use in classroom instruction, teachers’ perceived value of computers in education, and teachers’ resistance to change. The external factors included teachers’ attained level of computer technology proficiency, classroom student-to-instructional computer ratio, and location of computers in the classrooms.

Objectives of the study

To examine the effect of teacher computer knowledge in adult education and class room instruction

To examine the effect of teacher attitude and class room instruction

To examine the effect of teacher computer continuous practice and adult teacher class room instruction

Research questions

What is the effect of teacher computer knowledge in adult education and class room instruction?

What is the effect of teacher attitude and class room instruction?

What is the effect of teacher computer continuous practice and adult teacher class room instruction?

Hypotheses

There is no significant effect teacher computer knowledge in adult education and class room instruction

There is no significant effect of teacher attitude and class room instruction

There is no significant effect of teacher computer continuous practice and adult teacher class room instruction

Significance of the Study

Nigerian spends billions of dollars to bring computer technology into the public schools and to provide computer technology professional development (CTPD) for teachers (eTech Nigerian, 2008; Education Week: Technology Counts, 2004). All this is in an effort to enhance teaching and learning through computer technology use in curriculum implementation and in hopes of improving student achievement in the public schools. The level of technology use by teachers in Nigerian does not correspond to the degree of computers available in the public schools (eTech Nigerian, 2003). In addition, statewide studies investigating the extent or level to which high school teachers use computers in classroom instruction in Nigerian Public Schools system are lacking.

FACTORS AFFECTING COMPUTER USE BY TEACHERS IN ADULT EDUCATION CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION

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