ASSESSMENT ON THE USAGE OF COMPUTER APPLICATION IN THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF MATHEMATICS
1.1 Background of the study
Education is the most important agent of change and the bed rock of industrial development as well as socio-economic growth. Education can be said to be the greatest investment a nation can make for the quick development of its social, economic, political, technology and human resources.
Hence most nations of the world give education high priority in their developmental efforts. Developed countries such as USA, Britain and Japan among others have embraced and recognized technology as a means of realizing economic independence and self-reliance. Information and communication goes hand in hand and although information can always be communicated, yet not everything that is communicated is information. Communication becomes information only when data derived from it have been organized and interpreted in such a way that they contain meaning beyond the individual facts and can be used in decision making. While technology means the tools people and organization apply to operation to get things done more quickly, more easily or more efficiently.
Computer is a force that has changed many aspects of the ways we live. If one was to compare such fields as medicine, tourism, mathematics, law, banking, engineering and architecture, the impact of ICT across the past two or three decades has been enormous. The ways these fields operate today is vastly different from the ways they operated in the past, but when one looks at mathematics education, there seems to have been an uncanny lack of influence and far less change than other field have experienced.
Mathematics according to Butler and Wren, (1951) can contribute to the realization of the general aims of education and mathematics education in particular by:
- Developing habits of effective critical thinking. This means developing logical reasoning both inductively and deductively;
- Providing competence in the basic skills and understanding for dealing with number and form;
- Fostering the ability to communicate thought through symbolic expressions; · Developing the ability to differentiate between relevant and irrelevant data and to make relevant judgment though the discrimination of values;
- Developing intellectual independence and aesthetic appreciation and expression;
- Advancing the cultural heritage through its own total physical and social structure.
The role of mathematics in the society has been variously recognized and acknowledged as the key to the science and technology based courses, and as useful to man in his daily living (Aminu, 1990). In support of this Ale, (1994) stated that mathematics is the backbone of knowledge. Eguavon, (2002) also remarked that mathematics is the pivot of all civilization and technology 14 14 development. According to Dedron and Itard, (1974) mathematics arose from the need for areas and volumes. Furthermore, Adegboye, (1999) described mathematics as universal language of communication. It is proved to be the sharpest tool through its application in different subjects and in every day life. Mathematics helps to enumerate, calculate, measure, collate, group, analyze and relate knowledge (Osafehinti, 1986). All these were signals given to mathematics as a descriptions tool for sustainable development. Odo, (1990) pointed out that mathematics is a model for thinking, developing scientific structure, drawing conclusion as well as for solving problems. Perhaps it is because of the importance of mathematics that the study has been made compulsory in secondary schools.
The rapid advancement in information and communication technologies is offering new potentials for producing and distributing knowledge. These technologies are fundamentally altered how we live and work as well as how we learn and have transformed into a global community. This is in line with the view of Ononogbo (1990) of Computer as a revolution, which has penetrated almost all fields of human activities, thus, transforming our economic and social life. Computer therefore, refers to the use of skills such as browsing, power point, Microsoft word, in combining information and communication processes and devices to obtain, analyze, store, recall and transmit accurate information from one place to another at very high speed.
Teaching generally is a planned effort to bring about desirable change in behaviour. The changes cover the three major domains of blooms taxonomy of education, which comprises cognitive, affective and psychomotor abilities. Teaching influences the cognitive ability by increasing in storing useful information and understanding of basic concept, principles and operation taught in a particular subject. In affective domain, teaching provides a change in the possession of desirable attitudes and ideals. It also develops the learner through increasing satisfaction about learning achievements. Teaching in the area of psychomotor abilities provides changes in the acquisition of practical skills, abilities and habits on how to perform certain job activities efficiently.
Learning is seen as a modification of a person‘s behaviour in a particular area of study so that his or her behaviour is changed on a more permanent basis. In learning, learner‘s behavior can be modified through organized experience provided in the learning process. In the learning process, learners are provided the opportunity to acquire knowledge to enable them perform a given task completely.
Globally, the nature of teaching and learning is changing rapidly due to increase interaction from more accessible global telecommunication networks driven by the content of the internet. With the increasing capacity of information and communication technology, there is a
rise in new learning opportunities beyond the traditional ―Book-teacher‘s model‖. The shift from the teacher centered to student learning via the internet means teachers and students at all level need to embrace information and communication technology.
Computer is generally accepted as a model instrumental tool that enables the mathematics educator to modify the teaching and learning methods use in order to increase the student‘s interest. Though the chalkboard, textbooks, typewriters, duplicating machine, dictating machine, radio, film have been used in teaching mathematics education over the years, none has quite impacted on the teaching and learning of mathematics education process like the computer-internet. Typewriters and radio impact only on the audiovisuals facilities of users and acquisition of skills in a slow pace, the computer is capable of activating the sense of sight, hearing and touch of the users. ICT has the capacity to provide higher interactive potentials for users to develop their individual skills, intellectual and creative ability. The collective and rigid nature of learning and the nature of the learning associated with the use of typewriter, radio, duplicating machine and chalk-board do not contribute serious innovative changes to traditional methods of teaching mathematics education programme. Computer are being used in the developed world for instructional functions in teaching and learning as many nation are adding computer literacy, reading and writing literacy as skills students will need for succeeding in a technologically developed world.
The goals of reviewing existing or designing a new programme is to ensure that it meets existing or emerging challenges in a discipline. The major purpose of curriculum study and development programmes in mathematics education is to improve the quality of schools in order to make them more proficient in fortifying students with broad knowledge and varied skills.
Studies attest that there is deficiency in the curriculum content of mathematics education. Okeke and Eze  submitted that vocational education [mathematics education inclusive ] has inadequate curriculum to meet with the current technological development which hinges on information and communication technology. However, there should be reasonable degree of correlation between the curriculum in use and knowledge and skills required by the employers .School curriculum should be built to produce graduates for current jobs and not jobs that existed in some years ago.
With the emergences of Computer on teaching mathematics education courses in colleges of education, teaching and learning has changed from traditional chalkboard to electronic learning requiring such skills as internet browsing, Microsoft word, power point, Microsoft excel and teleconferencing gadgets from teachers and students. Nwosu (2003) specifies the benefits of ICT skills to mathematics education students to cover development of multiple sensory delivery, increased self expression, active and cooperative learning. A graduate of mathematics education from various colleges of education are supposed to be at the fore front of applying ICT skills in their daily contact which is geared towards preparing them for the place of work and also the classroom. All these therefore form the background to which the study is based on influence of Computer on teaching mathematics education courses in Colleges of Education in North West geo-political zone, Nigeria was planned.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Even with the incorporation of computers into the curriculum of mathematics education in colleges of education in Nigeria, the performance of NCE mathematics education students has not changed. Despite the introduction of the new teaching method that are computer based, most lecturers prefer to use the traditional method in teaching and learning mathematics education such as chalk board, outdated equipment for teaching skills acquisition courses such as type writer. A lot of reasons were advanced by lecturers and students for still maintaining the old method of teaching and learning.
Based on the researcher‘s interaction with some lecturers from colleges studied, it was observed that the incorporation of computer in teaching mathematics education courses has not made any much impact due to unavailability of the relevant computer for teaching purpose. Similarly, the students interviewed complained that the computer facilities provided by the colleges cannot go round the students due to their unavailability, which is making the students to be deficient in using the new technology, lack of adequate computer application tends to hamper effective teaching of mathematics education courses. Some other students the researcher interacted with complained that some lecturers are not skilled in using computer in teaching their students. This is why such lecturers prefer to stick to the traditional method of teaching. This can be supported with the view of Adeshina (2007) who stated that for mathematics education lecturers to grow professionally and remain relevant, they must possess computer skills.
On the basis of the foregoing, the researcher is concerned with knowing the level of influence that computer had in teaching mathematics education courses in Colleges of Education in NorthWest geo-political zone, Nigeria
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to determine the level to which Computer application in teaching and learning of mathematics education courses in Colleges of Education in North-West geo-political zone, Nigeria. The specific objectives are to:
- establish the extent to which mathematics education lecturers and are skilled in the use of computer in teaching mathematics education courses in Colleges of Education in North-West geo-political zone, Nigeria.
- identify the extent of availability of computer for teaching mathematics education courses in Colleges of Education in North-West geo-political zone, Nigeria.
- ascertain the extent of utilization of computer provided for teaching mathematics education courses in Colleges of Education in North-West geo-political zone, Nigeria.
- identify the challenges in the use of computer for teaching mathematics education courses in Colleges of Education in North- West geo-political zone, Nigeria.
- determine the extent to which available computer has help students in learning mathematics education courses in Colleges of Education in North- West geo political zone, Nigeria.
1.4 Research Questions
For the purpose of this research work, the following research questions were answered:
- Are mathematics education lecturers skilled in the use of Computer facilities in teaching mathematics education courses in Colleges of Education in North-West geo-political zone, Nigeria?
- Are computers available for teaching mathematics education courses in Colleges of Education in North West geo-political zone, Nigeria?
- To what extent are computers utilized for teaching mathematics education courses in Colleges of Education in North-West geo-political zone, Nigeria?
- What are the challenges in the use of computers in teaching mathematics education courses in North West geo-political zone, Nigeria?
- To what extent do available computers help mathematics education students in learning mathematics education courses in Colleges of Education in North – West geo-political zone, Nigeria?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
In line with the specific objectives and research questions, the following null hypotheses was tested:
- There is no significant difference in the opinion of mathematics education lecturers and students in the use of Computer for teaching mathematics education courses in colleges of education in North-West geo-political zone, Nigeria.
- There is no significant difference in the opinion of mathematics education lecturers and students on the availability of Computer for teaching mathematics education courses in colleges of education in North-West geo-political zone Nigeria.
- There is no significant difference in the opinion of mathematics education lecturers and students on the utilization of Computer provided for teaching mathematics education courses in colleges of education in North-West geo-political zone, Nigeria.
- There is no significant difference in opinion of mathematics education lecturers and students on the challenges in the use of computer for teaching mathematics education courses in colleges of education in North-West geo-political zone, Nigeria.
- There is no significant difference in the opinion of mathematics education lecturers and students on the help of available computer in learning mathematics education courses in colleges of education in North-West geo-political zone, Nigeria.
1.6 Significance Of The Study
The significance of a study is to announce and indicate those who are to benefit from the research findings. Therefore, it‘s hoped that this study will be of great benefit to federal and state government, National Commission for Colleges of Education, mathematics education lecturers, students and other researchers.
The result of the study will be beneficial to the federal and states government as an employer of labour in that it will tackle the problem of obsolete and outdated office equipment, poor working condition, poor infrastructure, and inadequate network. Also, National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) whose statutory responsibility is to managed the colleges of education in Nigeria will find this work useful. It will assist the commission to evaluate the implementation of ICT in teaching and learning in colleges of education in NorthWest Nigeria and make necessary recommendations to the Federal Ministry of Education.
The outcome of the study will provoke mathematics education lecturers in Colleges of Education to acquired Computer skills relevant in teaching mathematics education courses and the need for the lecturers to attend conference, seminar and workshops to update their knowledge. Also, the outcomes of the study will be beneficial to students of Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) as the study will unravel Computer skills needed by mathematics education graduates from Colleges of Education. The result will provide guide and direct the students to acquired saleable skills that will give them competitive advantage in the world of work.
In addition, intending researcher will find the work useful for further studies in this area. Also, Management of different Colleges of Education can used the result of this research to provide adequate Computer facilities for teaching and learning mathematics education in their various institutions.
1.7 Basic Assumptions of the Study
The researcher has the following assumptions:
- Computer enhances students over all learning experience.
- Lecturers and students are skillful in Information and Communication Technology.
- Adequacy of Computer facilities in Colleges of Education.
- There is no obstruction of power supply in the use of Information and Communication Technology.
- All instructional materials for teaching and learning are provided by the colleges.
1.8 Delimitation of the study
This study was delimited to all the Colleges of Education both Federal and State in North-West geo- political zone, Nigeria. Within these Colleges, the study was equally restricted to all mathematics education lecturers and NCE III students requiring ICT skills such as internet browsing, Microsoft word, power point and Microsoft Excel. This was because they are direct beneficiaries involved in using Computer in teaching mathematics education courses. This is in line with National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) minimum standards for NCE teachers. Also, the two beneficiaries was delimited to the use of questionnaire which was administered by the researcher as instrument for collecting data.
ASSESSMENT ON THE USAGE OF COMPUTER APPLICATION IN THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF MATHEMATICS