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EFFECTS OF COMPUTER ASSISTED INSTRUCTION ON SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENTS IN BIOLOGY IN ABAKALIKI EDUCATION ZONE, EBONYI STATE
This study sought to determine the effects of Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) on students’ achievements in Biology. To guide the study, three research questions were asked and three hypotheses formulated.The study adopted a quasi-experimental design, because there was no randomization of subjects into experimental and control groups. The study was conducted in secondary schools in Abakaliki Education Zone of Ebonyi State. Simple random sampling was used to select two secondary schools from two Local Government Areas in the education zone. From these two schools drawn for the study, all the SS1 students in each of the two schools were used as sample for the study. A total of 303 senior secondary school students (SS1) composed the sample of the study. A 30-item multiple choice test called Biology Achievement Test (BAT) was developed for the purpose of data collection.The research questions were answered usingmean and standard deviation, while the hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). Findings from the study revealed that, Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) is an effective instructional method for teaching biology. The students in the experimental group who were taught some contents in biology using Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) as a method of instruction achieved better in BAT (20.41 ± 3.770) than their counterparts in the control group who were taught using the conventional classroom instruction (17.87 ± 2.998). The result of the hypotheses also indicated that there was a significant difference between the achievements of the students in the experimental and control groups (F=43.392, р=0.000), in favour of the students in the experimental group. The result of the study also revealed that the female students in the experimental group achieved slightly better in BAT (20.53 ± 4.230) than their male counterparts (20.28 ± 3.248) in the same group, however, there was no significant difference between their mean achievements (F= 0.380, р= 0.539). Another finding of the study showed that there was no significant effect of interaction (F= 0.000, р=0.990) between teaching method and gender on students’ achievements in Biology. In view of the findings of the study, it was recommended that necessary attention should be accorded CAI as a method of instruction, government should provide computer facilities in secondary schools for teaching and learning, and teachers should employ the use of CAI for their instructions.
1.1 Background to the Study
Biology is the study of living organisms, divided into many specialized fields that cover their morphology, physiology, anatomy, behaviour, origin, and distribution (Wikipedia, 2016). Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, evolution, distribution, identification and taxonomy. Modern biology is a vast and eclectic field, composed of many branches and sub-disciplines such as anatomy, entomology, ethology, veterinary science, mammalogy, primatology, zoology, entomology, etc. However, despite the broad scope of biology, there are certain general and unifying concepts within it that govern all study and research, consolidating it into single, coherent field. In general, biology recognizes the cell as the basic unit of life, genes as the basic unit of heredity, and evolution as the engine that propels the synthesis and creation of new species. It is also understood today that all the organisms survive by consuming and transforming energy and by regulating their internal environment to maintain a stable and vital condition known as homeostasis (Wikipedia, 2016).
Biology is a science subject being taught at the senior secondary school. Biology teaching helps learners to understand biological concepts, principles theories and laws. Among others, the objectives of teaching biology at secondary school level as stated by National Policy on Education (2004) involve ability of the learners’ to development of an awareness of the environment, to have meaningful and relevant knowledge in biology necessary for successful living in a scientific and technological world and to make room for technological advancement.
In view of the above, it would be observed that the schools are not only to equip learners with basic knowledge of biology content but also the practical skills needed for enhancing self development. In order to achieve this, the pedagogical approach which is centred on teachers’ method of imparting facts and concepts of the subjects is important. The implication is that biology teaching must be effective and meaningful to achieve this goal. The conventional instructional methods are not able to achieve these goals. NTI (2008) remarked that the conventional instructional method is teacher centred while Adeyemi (2012) also commented that theconventional instructional method is characterized by emphasis on instructor behaviour rather than students’ behaviour, minimal responses of students to the instructional materials and delayed feedback on students’ performance.
In order to facilitate the achievement of such goals,the recent moves of information revolution and knowledge explosion in technology have brought about changes in the educational system. Technology is utilized in enhancing instruction thus shifting from teacher centred conventional methods attitude have increased across many countries and have proved tobe effective. Ochoyi and Ukwumunu (2008) reported that the use and increasing growth of technology in the classroom provides new opportunities for deliveryof instruction. Educators utilizing technology to enhanced instruction have increased in number across a variety of disciplines and the method has beenproven to be effective. Research has indicated that technology in the classroom can be useful in pedagogy management and an effective teachingenhancement. Technology has been described by Abimbade, Aremu & Adedoja (2003) as a systematic and integrated organization of man, machine, ideaand procedure to achieve a desire goal. Over the years, various machines have been invented by man in technology. The major and most influentialtechnology in the last millennium is the introduction of computer.The introduction of computer in education has not only being found to improved access to learning by all and quality knowledge delivery; its applicationhas also being in the teaching-learning process. This may improve students’ achievement in some subjects such as biology where students’ performance is very low. Students’ performance in biology hasconsistently been reportedly low over the years in Nigeria especially in public examinations such as senior secondary school certificate examination (WAEC Chief Examiners’ Report, 2010).
Hayes and Robins (2010) found that the use of computer based instruction is effective on the achievement of pre-service teachers as well as their attitude towards computer instruction. In similar study, Ogunleye (2007) also noted that computer in expands pedagogical resources available to teachers in science classroom thus supporting teaching. The implication of this is that the introduction of computer in the delivery of biology instruction as a science subject in classroom may improve the quality of pedagogical delivery and students’ learning outcome.
It has also been commonly accepted and proven that information and communication (ICT) is the engine of the 21st century and beyond as it will chart the economy of developing countries. Therefore, the integration of computer which is the major and most influential technology in the last millennium into education especially in the classroom could be beneficial in building students’ capacity in technology. Human capacity building has been described by Tachiki (2012) as the process of equipping individuals with the understanding, skills, and access to information, knowledge and training that enables them to perform effectively in an information society. The use of Computer Assisted Instruction in sciences especially biology would encourage exposure and capacity building in understanding, skills, knowledge and access to information in the technology world. Such capacity building will encourage social technological relevance and sustainable development of the country.
The potential benefits of Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) cannot be underestimated in the contemporary world. CAI is defined as a teaching process directly involving the computer in the presentation of instructional materials in interactive mode to provide the controlled, individualized learning environment for each individual student. These interactive modes according to Splittger (2009) are usually subdivided into drill and problem solving. There is a plethora of established findings on the instructional value of computer, particularly in advanced countries. There are now several CAI packages on different subjects. It is obvious that the current trend in research all over the world is the use of computer facilities and resources to enhance students’ learning. This may be the reason why Handelsman, Ebert-May, Beichner, Bruns & Chang (2014) opined that “many exercises that depart from traditional method are now readily accessible on the web” (p. 521), even though teachers do not use these facilities. They further showed that the interactive approaches to lecturing significantly enhance learning.
Gender issues have been linked with performance of students in academic tasks in several studies but without any definite conclusion. But there is a general conclusion that general imbalance exist in computer use, access, career and attitude. Some studies revealed that male students perform better than the females in physics, chemistry, and biology (Danmole, 2008; Novak & Mosunda, 2011; Okeke & Ochuba, 2006) while others revealed that female students are better off than males (Kelly, 2008; Wonzencreaft, 2013). Some studies such as those of Bello (2010) did not find any form of influence being exerted by gender on students’ academic performance in the sciences. Gender factor on the use of CAI has also been of interest to researchers. Collazos, Guerrero, Llana, and Oetzel, (2007) examined gender influence on collaborative use of computer based communication. They found that group with minority women had low index of collaboration compared to homogenous group and group with majority women.
Spence (2014) found no significant influence of gender on the achievement of college students in mathematics when they were exposed to mathematics courseware in online and traditional learning environment. However, female online learners were significantly less likely to complete the course compared to their traditional female counterpart or male online counterparts. In a review of studies on access, use, attitude, and achievement with computer, Kirkpatrick and Cuban (2008) concluded that when female and male students at all levels of education had the same amount and types of experiences on computers, female achievement scores and attitudes are similar in computer classes and classes using computer.
Inspite of the benefits of the introduction of computer in presenting science learning/materials, studies have shown that it is not yet widely used in Nigerian science classrooms. This study therefore seeks to investigate the effects of Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) on the achievements of secondary school students in Biology in Abakaliki Education Zone of Ebonyi State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The appalling condition of students’ achievement in biology may be attributed to lack of interest on the part of the learners which is as a result of poor method of teaching adopted by the teacher (Eze, 2006). Despite the outstanding positive effect of educational aids to instructional activities, teachers still insist only on the use of conventional approach to instruction, which has led to students lack of interest, attention and active participation in the teaching and learning exercise which might be responsible for the poor academic performance of students generally. Hence they have not been able to impact fully on biology achievement. This situation therefore, calls for exploration of the effectiveness of other teaching-learning techniques, which have been found effective in some other subjects like physics, mathematics, and chemistry. One of such techniques is the use of computer assisted instruction (CAI) package.
Therefore, the problem of this study posed as a question is: how would CAI affect the academic achievements of students in biology in secondary schools?
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study was to ascertain the effects of Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) on students’ achievement in Biology. Specifically, the study sought to determine:
- The effects of CAI on secondary school students’ achievement in biology.
- The effects of CAI on the achievement of male and female students in biology.
- The interaction effects of teaching method and gender on students’ achievement in biology.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The results of the study will be of utmost importance to students, teachers, biology educators, curriculum planners and the Ministry of Education.
To the students, the findings of this study will be useful as it will enable them to develop manipulative skills which will reinforce their comprehension of Biology concepts, improve their achievement in Biology, as well as develop in them an appreciation for computer. It will also expose them to varieties of teaching methods, which also reinforces learning.
The results of this will also guide teachers on whether to separate instructional techniques for male and females. This study would contribute empirical research information through provision of an insight into other subject areas as to know whether to use CAI or not. This would motivate teachers that are computer literate to strive and equip them with the knowledge of computer usage in education.
The findings of this study when published would also guide the Ministry of Education and curriculum planners/developers on whether to recommend CAI for biology instruction in Nigerian secondary schools.
1.5 Scope of the Study
This study is focused on determining the effects of Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) on students’ achievement in biology in Abakaliki Education Zone of Ebonyi State. The study also sought to investigate the effects of CAI on the achievement of male and female students in biology, as well as the interactive effects of treatment (CAI) and gender on the achievements of students in biology.
1.6 Research Questions
The following research questions guided this study:
- What are the effects of Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) on students’ achievements in biology?
- What are the effects of Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) on the achievements of male and female students in biology?
- What are the interaction effects between teaching method and gender on students’ achievements in biology?
1.7 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were test at 0.05 level of significance:
HO1: There is no significant difference in the mean achievement of students exposed to Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) and the conventional classroom instruction (CCI) in biology.
HO2: There is no significant difference in the mean achievement of male and female students in biology exposed to Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI).
HO3: There is no significant interaction effect between teaching method and gender on the mean achievement of students in biology.