EFFECTS OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY ON STUDENTS’ LEARNING: A CASE OF GULU UNIVERSITY

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EFFECTS OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY ON STUDENTS’ LEARNING: A CASE OF GULU UNIVERSITY

 

ABSTRACT

 

The study investigated the effect of ICT on students‟ learning by taking the case of Gulu University. It sought to establish the relationship between ICT and students‟ learning particularly looking at the availability, accessibility and user-ability of the ICT resources in Gulu University.

 

The study was prompted due to the persistent report that students in Gulu University are getting difficulties in their studies due to limited access and use of ICT resources. It was conducted through cross-sectional survey design; data was collected during the month of March 2009 using questionnaires, interview techniques from a sample of 275 respondents out of a parent population of 1173 . In verifying the hypotheses, the researcher used Pearson correlation analysis method to find out whether students‟ learning was linearly correlated with ICT.

 

The study established that the availability of ICT resources in the University is still very much wanting and very inadequate for the students to use. Because of the limited number of functional computers and the computer laboratory, accessibility is timetabled. It was found out that training was mainly limited to introduction to basic concepts of information technology, some application programs notably Ms office suit and internet; contextual training of students on how to use ICT in learning was not in practice.

The researcher concluded that availability, accessibility and user-ability of ICT resources significantly affect students learning in Gulu University. Based on the above, the researcher recommends that there is need for the University to invest more in computers and related technology. Access to ICT tools should not be limited only in labs and library but expanded through establishment of ICT resource centre. ICT training should not be limited to Ms Office suites but rather aim at training students with the contextual skills to use ICT for their learning.

 

 

Tables of Content

 

Declaration....................................................................................................................................... i

 

Approval......................................................................................................................................... ii

 

Dedication................................................................................................................................... iiiii

 

Acknowledgement........................................................................................................................ iiv

 

Table of content...................................................................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.

 

List of tables................................................................................................................................. iix

 

List of figures.................................................................................................................................. x

 

List of Accronyms........................................................................................................................... x

 

Abstract.......................................................................................................................................... xi

 

 

CHAPTER ONE:INTRODUCTION......................................................................................... 1

 

1.0 Background............................................................................................................................... 1

 

1.1.1 Historical perspective............................................................................................................. 1

 

1.1.2 Theoretical perspective........................................................................................................... 3

 

1.1.3 Conceptual perspective........................................................................................................... 4

 

1.1.4 Contextual perspective........................................................................................................... 5

 

1.2 Statement of the problem.......................................................................................................... 6

 

1.3 Aims /Purpose............................................................................................................................ 7

 

1.4 Objectives.................................................................................................................................. 7

 

1.6 Scope......................................................................................................................................... 8

 

1.8 Significance............................................................................................................................... 8

 

 

 

 

 

v

 

 

CHAPTER TWO:LITERATURE REVIEW............................................................................ 9

 

2.0Introduction................................................................................................................................ 9

 

2.1 Theoretical Review.................................................................................................................... 9

 

2.2 Conceptual framework............................................................................................................ 11

 

2.3 Related Literature.................................................................................................................... 12

 

2.3.1 Availability of ICT resources and Student‟s learning...................................................... 12

 

2.3.2 Accessibility of ICT resources and students learning...................................................... 14

 

2.3.3 User-ability of ICT resources and student‟s learning...................................................... 17

 

CHAPTER THREE:METHODOLOGY................................................................................. 20

 

3.0 Introduction............................................................................................................................. 20

 

3.1 Research Design...................................................................................................................... 20

 

3.2 Population................................................................................................................................ 20

 

3.3 Sample Selection..................................................................................................................... 21

 

3.4 Sampling strategies.................................................................................................................. 21

 

3.5 Data collection Method........................................................................................................... 22

 

3.5.1 Questionnaires.................................................................................................................. 22

 

3.5.2 Interview Guide............................................................................................................... 23

 

3.5.3 Observation guide............................................................................................................ 23

 

3.6 Data quality control................................................................................................................. 23

 

3.6.1 Validity............................................................................................................................. 23

 

3.6.2 Reliability......................................................................................................................... 24

 

3.7 Procedure for Data collection.................................................................................................. 25

 

3.8 Data collection techniques....................................................................................................... 25

 

3.9 Data analysis............................................................................................................................ 26

 

CHAPTER FOUR:PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF

 

RESULTS.................................................................................................................................... 27

 

4.0. Introduction............................................................................................................................ 27

 

4.1: Section one: Background information of respondents........................................................... 28

 

4.1.1: Demographic Characteristics............................................................................................... 28

 

4.2. Section two: Description of respondents‟ opinions in relation to the independent variable .. 31

 

4.2.1. Respondents‟ opinion on the availability of ICT resources.............................................. 31

 

4.2.1.1: Respondents‟ opinions on adequacy of ICT resources................................................ 35

 

4.2.2. Respondents‟ opinions on accessibility of ICT resources................................................. 38

 

4.2.2.1. Challenges affecting students' accessibility of ICT resources...................................... 41

 

4.2.3.User-ability of ICT resources and students learning.......................................................... 43

 

4.2.3.1. Factors that affect students' use of ICT tools.............................................................. 48

 

4.2.4. Responses on students' learning........................................................................................ 50

 

4.2.4.1. How often students perform various tasks using computer/ICT.................................. 54

 

4.3. Section three: Verification of the Hypotheses....................................................................... 56

 

4.3.1 Test of the first hypothesis................................................................................................. 57

 

4.3.2 Hypothesis two................................................................................................................... 58

 

4.3.3 Hypothesis three................................................................................................................. 59

 

CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSIONS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS..... 60

 

5.0 Introduction............................................................................................................................. 60

 

5.1 Discussions.............................................................................................................................. 60

 

5.2. Conclusion.............................................................................................................................. 65

 

 

 

vii

 

 

5.3. Recommendations.................................................................................................................. 66

 

REFERENCE............................................................................................................................... 68

 

Appendix A:Students Questionaire.............................................................................................. 74

 

Appendix B :Lecturers Questionaire............................................................................................. 80

 

Appendix C:Interview Guide for Administrators......................................................................... 86

 

Appendix D:Observation Checklist.............................................................................................. 87

 

Appendix E:Reliability Statistics................................................................................................ 878

 

Appendix F:Linearity between availability of ICT resources and students learning.................... 89

 

Appendix G:Linearity between accessibility of ICT resources and students  learning................. 90

 

Appendix H:Linearity between user-abilty of ICT resources and students learning.................... 91

 

Appendix I:Item statistics............................................................................................................. 92

 

Appendix J:Introductory Letter.................................................................................................... 94

 

 

LIST OF TABLES

 

 

Table 3.1: Sample selection and categories of respondents............................................................... 21

 

Table 3.2:  Questionnaire  ratings …………………………..…………………….............. 24

 

Table 4.1:  Questionnaire  return rate …………………………..……………………..      29

 

Table 4.2: Demographic characteristic of respondents………………………………...     28

 

Table 4.3: Distribution of lecturer respondents according to designation and year of

 

service……………………………….......................................................................................................... 32

 

Table 4.4: Distribution of respondents‟ by opinion on availability of ICT resources…      31

 

Table 4.5: Distribution of respondents‟ by opinion on adequacy of ICT resources…........ 35

 

Table 4.6: Distribution of respondents‟ by opinion on accessibility of ICT resources..      38

 

Table 4.7: Distribution of respondents‟ by rating of students skills in ICT tools……..     44

 

Table 4.8: Distribution of respondents by opinion on factors affecting students use of

 

Various ICT tools……………………………………………………………………...      49

 

Table 4.9: Distribution of responses by opinion on performance of learning task ……      50

 

Table 4.10: Distribution of responses on how often students perform task with

 

Computer………………………………………………………………………………     55

 

Table 4.11: Correlation between availability of ICT resources and students

 

learning......................................................................................................................................................................... 58

 

Table 4.12: Correlation between accessibility of ICT resources and students

 

learning………………………………………………………………………………...      59

 

Table 4.13: Correlation between user-ability of ICT resources and students

 

learning………………………………………………………………………………...      59

 

LIST OF FIGURES

 

 

 

Figure1:  Conceptual framework………………………………………………………11
Figure 2:  Factors affecting students‟ accessibility of ICT resources …………………42

 

LIST OF ACRONYMS

BECTA CD-ROM ESCAP

 

British Education Communication and Technology Agency

 

Compact Disk Read Only Memory

 

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the

 

Pacific

 

 

 

E-MAIL

 

ICT

 

MED-ICT

 

MS Office

 

MoWHC

 

NCCA

 

RENU

 

SNASI

 

Electronic Mail

 

Information and Communication Technology

 

Master of Education Information and Communication

 

Microsoft office

 

Ministry of Works Housing and Communications

 

National Council for Curriculum and Assessment

 

Research and Education Network of Uganda

 

Swedish national Agency for School Improvement

Technology

SPSS UNESCO

 

Statistical Package for Social Sciences

 

United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

INTRODUCTION

 

1.0 Background

 

This chapter articulates the background of the study in to four perspectives, namely: the historical, theoretical, conceptual and contextual perspectives. It goes on to give the problem statement, purpose, objectives, research hypothesis, significance and the scope of the study.

 

 

1.1.1 Historical perspective

 

Teaching is becoming one of the most challenging professions in our society today where knowledge is expanding so rapidly that modern technologies demand the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). ICT has become within a short time one of the basic building blocks of a modern society. Many countries now regard understanding ICT and mastering its basic concepts as part of the core of education (UNESCO, 2002b). In Uganda, Government has established a fully-fledged ICT Ministry since 2006 to stress the importance of ICT in promoting economic growth and development.

Observers and proponents of ICT suggest that our use of increasingly sophisticated and enabling technologies will continue, to the extent that technological literacy will become a basic functional requirement for our work, social and personal lives. The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, UK (2004), notes that as the pace of technological development continues to grow, children in our schools today will live in a world where ICT will be increasingly embedded in their daily lives.

The use of computers in education is not a new phenomenon. In the 1970‟s, its promoters claimed that it would transform and save education (Lockard & Abrams, 1994). The late 1980‟s saw a growing shift towards computer integration which emphasized the curriculum and not the tool. Its proponents felt that students would learn new skills as they needed them in order to make the computer work for them. The computer could now be viewed more as a partner as opposed to a competitor and could be treated in a more natural manner (Lockard & Abrams, 1994). The 1990‟s saw a heightened focus on increasing the use of computer technology in the classroom, and not just by the evangelists. Growing attention and pressure to implement technology in education is coming from many directions, including parents and the business sector, not just departments of education. One of the most significant features of the technological or digital era of much relevance to education is the Internet. Hargittai (1999) defines the Internet technically and functionally as a worldwide network of computers and people interacting together.

 

To enhance and streamline the developments in the ICT sector, the government of Uganda formulated an ICT Policy Framework in 2003 to meet the challenges and the harnessing of the underlying potentials and opportunities of the system (National ICT Policy Framework, 2003). Government recognizes that ICT has a big role to play in stimulation of national development, in particular, modernization and globalization of the economy. In recognition of the need of ICT for the development process, government undertook several initiatives to promote the development and application of ICT. The telecommunication sector was liberalized in 1996 by a policy framework, which provided for the introduction of competition and licensing for multiple operators (National ICT Policy Framework, 2003). The liberalization of the acquisition, use and application of ICT led to a rapid expansion of the ICT industry in Uganda over the last ten years. The Ministry of Education and Sports has approved a curriculum for ICT training for secondary schools. These schools are being equipped under various programmes, including the Schoolnet and ConnectEd Projects. However, only a very small percentage of secondary schools are offering ICT training, and in almost all cases the facilities are awfully inadequate for reasonable hands-on experience (National ICT Policy Framework, 2003). The Ministry of Education and Sports has formulated an ICT Policy for Education that it hopes to adopt so as to drive ICT training in schools and other institutions under its mandate.

More and more studies now support the claim that technology has great potential to provide new kinds of instructional opportunities and to enhance the knowledge and learning experiences of both the teachers and students (O‟Connor & Polin, cited in Fleming-McCormick, et al., 1995). However, the effect of ICT in teaching and learning is not yet fully established. Yet the need to prepare students for the information age is a recurring educational theme worldwide since today‟s students are to spend their career life in a very dynamic technological environment (Mbwesa, 2003).

 

1.1.2 Theoretical perspective

 

The study employed the theory of Cognitive Flexibility (Spiro & Jehng, 1992), emphasized by Kirkpatrick‟s four levels of evaluation (Kirkpatrick, 1994). The theory of Cognitive flexibility suggests that learners grasp the nature of complexity more readily by being presented with multiple representations of the same information in different contexts. It emphasizes the ability to spontaneously restructure one's knowledge in many ways, in adaptive response to radically changing situational demands. The theory largely concerns itself with transfer of knowledge and skills beyond their initial learning situation. Skills transfer can be described as learner‟s desire to use the knowledge and skills mastered in the training program on the job (Noe & Schmitt, 1986 in Yamnill & McLean, 2001). Behavioral change would likely occur for learners who learn the material presented in training and desire to apply that new knowledge or skills to work activities.

For the teachers and students to use and develop ICT materials that facilitate teaching and learning they should be in position to demonstrate high cognitive flexibility (Spiro, Feltovich, Jacobson, & Coulson,1992). This puts emphasis on transfer of learning. Transfer of learning refers to the extent to which performance in one situation such as multimedia lesson is reflected in another situation such as working on the job or in a subsequent lesson (Allessi & Trollip, 2001). Therefore teaching is often a precursor to apply or use that knowledge in the real world for students in the classrooms.

 

1.1.3 Conceptual perspective

 

The World Bank (2003 citing Rodriguez & Wilson, 2000) opines that ICT is the set of activities which facilitate by electronic means the processing, transmission and display of information. According to United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP, 2001) ICTs refer to technologies people use to share, distribute, gather information and to communicate, through computers and computer networks. In this study ICT is viewed as set of tools that can be used to process, avail and access, information and communication services or products. The services and products may include hardware and software; Internet, telephones/mobile phones, telefax, type writer, calculators, radios, televisions, hydraulicmachines used in industries among others. Bakkabulindi (2002; 2000) observes that ICTs are of two major types namely; ICTs for converting or processing data into information such as adding machines, calculators, typewriters and computers; and ICTs for communication of data and or information from one place to another: These include telegraph, telephone, telefax and computer networks. These gadgets offer the possibility for an interactive approach. Interaction refers to the relation between the user and these gadgets. In this study, ICT further refers to the availability, accessibility and user-ability of these gadgets. Availability implies the presence of these ICT resources, accessibility means the degree to which these ICT resources are easily accessible by as many people as possible .User-ability refers to the capability of the students and teachers to use these resources to achieve specified goals.

Learning refers to concerted activity that increases the capacity and willingness of students to acquire and productively apply new knowledge and skills, to grow, mature and to adapt successfully to changes and challenges (Warschaure, 1996). Such learning empowers students to make wise choices, solve problems and break new grounds. Learning certainly includes academic studies and occupational training through high school and beyond. In this study, learning will refer to the process whereby learners acquire and master knowledge and skills imparted in them by the instructor and through interaction with technological tools in relation to their academic performance, work place preparedness and application of the acquired skills and knowledge.

 

1.1.4 Contextual perspective

 

Gulu University, being a young and newly established University, was set up in the year 2002 to serve as a launch pad for equitable development in Uganda by providing knowledge, skills and stimulating innovations in education, technology, economic advancement and social development (Research and Education Network of Uganda, 2003). However, the University faces many challenges in regards to the teaching and learning processes. Classical instructional methods have been and continue to be used in the teaching and learning process with their limitations in different circumstances varying depending on student and instructor needs. Little emphasis is being put on the embracement of educational technology, yet if properly used, ICT can provide an array of powerful tools that may help in transforming the present isolated teacher-centered and text bound classroom into rich, students focused interactive knowledge environment. If not well addressed, investment in development of ICT in the University will be wasteful and the teaching and learning process shall continue to be very slow limiting the University from achieving the development it is hoped to bring in the University mission.

 

1.2 Statement of the problem

 

Students‟ learning remains central in any academic achievement debate. ICTs provide a window of opportunity for educational institutions and other organizations to harness and use technology to complement and support the teaching and learning process. However, despite the enormous advocacy of ICT aided teaching and learning, investment and donation of ICT equipment to Gulu University, the University still faces the challenge of how to transform students learning process to provide students with the skills to function effectively in this dynamic, information-rich, and continuously changing environment.

 

 

The cause of concern is that unless this problem is addressed, investment in the development of

 

 

 

6

 

 

ICT in the University is going to be put to waste and improvement in the quality of teaching and learning is going to be sluggish. This may make the University fail to achieve its mission and to produce graduates who are ready for the world of work which is increasingly reliant on ICT aided generation and dissemination of knowledge. In view of this discrepancy, there is need to examine the particular effects of availability, accessibility and user-ability of ICT resources on students learning in Gulu University.

 

 

1.3 Aims /Purpose

 

The main purpose of the study was to identify the perceived effect of the availability, accessibility and user-ability of ICT resources on student‟s learning in Gulu University using cross-sectional survey design with a view to provide relevant recommendations.

 

 

1.4 Objectives

 

The specific objectives were:

 

  • To examine the effect of the availability of ICT resources on student‟s learning in Gulu

 

University.

 

  • To assess the effect of the accessibility of ICT resources on student‟s learning in Gulu

 

University.

 

  • To investigate the effect of the user-ability of ICT resources on student‟s learning in Gulu

 

University.

 

 

 

1.5 Research hypothesis

 

The study was guided by the following hypothesis:

 

  1. Availability of ICT has effect on students‟ learning in Gulu University.

 

  1. Accessibility of ICT resources affects students‟ learning in Gulu University.

 

  1. User-ability of ICT resources affects student‟s learning in Gulu University.

 

1.6 Scope

 

The study on the Effect of ICT on students learning was carried out in Gulu University, Laroo Division, Gulu District between January 2009 and July 2009. The study specifically sought to determine the effects of the availability, accessibility and user-ability of ICT resources on students learning in Gulu University.

 

 

1.7 Significance

 

The study should be of great importance to the policy makers and University administrators of Gulu University helping them to appreciate the usefulness of ICT in learning so as to come up with policies that promote ICT in learning.

 

 

The findings and recommendations of the study should be of importance to Gulu University lecturers and other lecturers of higher institution of learning on the use of ICT to aid learning.

The researcher hopes that result of the study may be useful to future researchers with interest in examining further the effects of ICT on students learning. This should lead to the generation of new ideas for the better implementation of ICT into learning process.

 

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