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INTRODUCTION Background Information and communications technology has become an essential aspect of everyone’s daily life with almost every sector advocating for the use of ICT to accomplish its tasks on every inch of this planet. Nevertheless, some people would still ask themselves, “What is ICT?” There are various definitions of ICT according to different people and organizations. According to the ITAA, “Information Technology is the study, design, development, implementation, support or management of a computer-based “Information System” particularly software applications and computer hardware.” Recently the term has been broadened to explicitly integrate the aspect of “Electronic Communication” so that people prefer to abbreviate it as ICT. A broader definition of ICT is the combination of informatics technology with other, related technologies specifically communication technology (UNESCO, 2002). This definition of ICT consists of three subunits that have been collapsed into a single definition and they include; Informatics, Informatics Technology and Communication technology. UNESCO defines informatics as the science dealing with the design, realization, evaluation, use, and maintenance of information processing systems, including hardware, software, organizational and human aspects, and the industrial, commercial, governmental and political implications of these. It is a term derived from computing science. Informatics technology is the technological application of informatics in the society. Hence the definition of ICT implies that ICT will be used, applied and integrated in activities of working and learning on the conceptual on the basis of
informatics methods and conceptual understanding. OECD member countries in 1998 agreed to define the ICT sector as a combination of manufacturing and services industries that capture, transmit and display data and information electronically. The above definitions of ICT are examples of how it has become an important global aspect in the field of information and communication. ICT is a revolution which links different sectors and modes of communication. The evolution of ICTs in Uganda dates way back to the 1990s when Africa responded to the “Information revolution” that had been going on majority of other continents of the world mainly Europe, Asia with Japan as the leading nation and the Americas. With assistance from UNECA, ITU, UNESCO, IDRC and Bellanet secretariat, The African Information Society Initiative (AISI) was formed. The initiative was launched in 1996 to bridge the digital divide between Africa and the global community, creating digital opportunities to be developed by Africans and their partners as well as speeding up the continent’s information and global knowledge economy. Uganda reacted to such calls slowly through various various Policies, Statutes, Laws, Acts and Regulations, passed and enacted in the past years. Some of those are the following; The Telecommunications Policy was enacted in 1996 with the main objective of increasing the penetration and level of telecommunication services in the country through private sector investment rather than government intervention. The Rural Development’s Communication Policy of 2001 of providing access to basic communication services within reasonable distance to all people in Uganda. The press and Journalist’s statue of 1995 extended from Article 29(1) (Freedom of expression) of the Constitution to the print media. The Electronic Media Statute of 1996 created a licensing system, under the Broadcasting Council, for radio and television stations, cinemas, and videotape rental businesses. The above influenced rapid growth of ICT infrastructures since then. A table depicting
such growth is shown below. SERVICES PRODIVED Fixed lines connected Mobile Subscriber National Telephone Operators Mobile Operators Internet/Email subscribers VSAT International Data Gateways Internet Providers Private FM Stations Private Stations National Operators Courier Providers Dec 1996 45,145 3,000 1 Oct 1998 56,196 12,000 2 2 1,308 3 3 28 8 1 7 Dec 1999 58,261 72,602 2 2 4,248 7 9 37 11 1 11 July 2001 56,148 276,034 2 3 5,999 8 11 112 20 1 10 July 2002 54,976 393,310 2 3 6,600 8 17 115 22 1 11 June2003 60,995 621,082 2 3 7,024 8 17 119 22 1 14
Cellular 1 504 2
Service 2 Radio 14
Television 4 Postal 1 Service 2
Introduction of ICT to Secondary schools in Uganda The introduction of ICT in Ugandan secondary schools dates way back in 1990s when the World Bank through its World Links for Development (WorLD) program connected schools to the internet. Three schools were initially connected in July 1996 and these are; Gayaza High School, Namilyango College and Mengo Senior Secondary School. This
was the basis of the formation of SchoolNet a pilot project under WorLD. Uganda was the first country in Africa to have such a pilot study. Some of the beneficiary schools include the following are Bombo Secondary School, Bukoyo Secondary School, Busoga College Mwiri, Gayaza High School, Iganga Secondary School, Kibuli Secondary School, Kings College Budo, Kitante Hill School, Lubiri Secondary School, Makerere College School, Mengo Senior School, Nabisunsa Girls School, Namilyango College and St James Secondary School (IDRC,2004). SchoolNet is a national network of professional educators and schools whose aim is to transform the Ugandan educational system from an industrial model (learning by assimilation) to a knowledge-based model in order to prepare the youth of Uganda to effectively enter a global economy based on knowledge, information and technology. Much support has come in from companies like Celtel Cellular, Computer Applications Limited, Gates Foundation, IDRC - Acacia Initiative, Ministry of Education, Pan World Insurance Co. Ltd., Schools Online, Uganda Online to help world links in providing ICT to secondary schools. The journey from scratch to where we are now has not been easy especially due to the fact that Uganda does not have an ICT policy since the would be policy has remained a draft form since 1997.The would be policy has dreams of ICT connectivity to schools but the amount of capital investments involved are also enormous (Eremu John). This is also reported by Tina James for NRDC in 2004 that there is no definitive national ICT policy and that the MOE is engaged in developing a viable ICT policy for education. In August 2000, the Ministry of Education and Sport established an education ICT task force for the purpose of formulating and implementing an ICT policy for the Ministry. Its efforts are being supported by a Dutch NGO called IICD. The task force is also responsible for managing, monitoring and evaluating all ICT activities in the Ministry. Some of its duties are the following;
• • • •
Formulate an ICT policy for the MOE Initiate ICT activities and projects Review and direct new and ongoing ICT activities and projects; Perform monitoring and evaluation;
Disseminate information; and Publicise the ICT policy for the Ministry of Education internally and among stakeholders in the education sector.
However according to the MoWHC, 2003 a policy framework for ICT seems to have been released with the policy statement as “The government of the Republic of Uganda recognizes the important role information and ICT play in national development. Government consequently unreservedly commits itself to champion the development and use of ICT in Uganda”. But with or without the policy, it doesn’t stop initiatives from proceeding with proposed plans and projects and this is how Uganda was able to go on and develop curriculum-based ICT materials. Uganda develops Curriculum-based ICT Learning Materials In 2004 Microsoft Partners in learning and the Ugandan Ministry of Education teamed up to develop curriculum-based ICT training materials for its students and to put computers in its school system. By December 2004 the pilot program had started incorporating ICT in schools with initially eight different Ugandan schools and included several different components. The Microsoft Fresh Start for Donated PCs program, with steeply discounted product licensing, helped to provide the necessary hardware equipment for the start. In addition, Partners in Learning helped to fund and establish two Microsoft IT Academies to help train educators in ICT basics and created a teacher’s portal. With the basics of ICT now in place the next thing was creation of relevant content for students to access. Partners in learning worked in conjunction with the NCDC to develop ICT based content that would map directly to the National curricula. By the end of the pilot project, Uganda had created courses for Biology and Chemistry which were delivered to schools on CD (Microsoft Partners in Learning, 2007). The country largely benefited from the pilot programme in terms of popularity and high performance in examinations for students that participated in the programme, the country also equipped 100 schools with approximately ten computers each. The ICT-based curriculum continues to grow and by 2008 the country plans to have materials for eight additional subjects distributed to over 400 secondary schools in the country.
“Uganda is the first country in Africa that has used Microsoft Partners in learning to develop localized digital content that maps directly to the national curriculum. This represents an incredible success toward achieving relevancy of ICT in education.” (Mark Matunga, Microsoft Academic Program for East Africa). The above project was the start of CurriculumNet Uganda which works hand in hand with SchoolNet Uganda to develop ICT-based curriculum materials for selected subjects at ordinary level for secondary schools. Online Content has been developed for subjects like Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and Geography all of which are approved by the National Curriculum. The material is both student and learner centered (Microsoft Partners in learning, 2007). As a result schools have been involved in collaborative learning using internet and email for example at King’s College Buddo, students were involved in a wetlands project working in hand with Comperdown College Australia. Another 60 students were involved in a project called “Technical-based Learning in School Science” (TBLISS), in partnership with the New York Institute of Technology. PowerPoint presentations on water science were made and a website set up (Katahoire, Grace Baguma and Florence Etta for IDRC 2004).The development of curriculum materials for subjects like Biology on an ICT basis was anticipated to influence students learning . PROBLEM STATEMENT ICT is a revolution that every country in this world has responded to. It is not a surprised that Uganda has come up to incorporate it into its various sectors and most important of all Education. The fruits of ICT to education sector are countless with its amazing powers to combine a wide range of communication means like newspapers, Television, Radio and others. All these have been attributed to the influence learners in their studies. However there is very little that has information concerning the attitudes of students towards the use of ICT in teaching and learning Biology. Information on levels of ICT use as well as challenges facing students ICT use at secondary level is still insufficient and calls for research. Purpose of study
The purpose of this study is to find out the attitudes of students towards the use of ICT in the teaching and learning of Biology, to inquire into the level of ICT use at secondary level and also to find out the challenges facing students in using ICT in secondary schools. Objectives of the study The objectives of the study are outlined below.
o o o
To assess the availability of ICT resources and levels of ICT use by secondary school students To find of students attitudes towards ICT use in teaching and learning Biology in secondary schools at Ordinary level To find out the challenges facing students in using ICT in secondary schools at ordinary level
Significance of the Study The finding of the study will be very important to the following people. o The study could be very important to Biology teachers and other teachers in that it will provide feedback to them concerning students’ attitudes towards the use of ICT in school. o It could also be of very important use to other researchers in related fields in that they will be able to use it for consultation. o The research could be also be important to ICT-based curriculum developers in that they will get feedback concerning the ICT-based curriculum they are trying to implement. o The research could also be of importance to the MOE since it is the overall seer of any new developments in the Education sector.
CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW The Literature will be reviewed with respect to the following sections from which the research model will be developed. Use of ICT by Ugandan students Students’ attitudes towards ICT use in the classroom Challenges facing secondary school students in learning using ICT in Uganda Use of ICT by Ugandan students In a SCAN ICT UGANDA report results from a survey of 32 schools in Kampala demonstrated that out of sixty three percent of the schools in the survey, which owned computers: Only 55% of the schools used for academic purposes and the majority have taken ICT as an independent subject not as a tool to aid learning and teaching. Only 3 out of the schools, which owned computers, had used them as a tool to aid in teaching and learning. 45 % used them for administrative purposes. Secondary schools have to some extent utilized computers for both academic and administrative purposes, while primary schools have largely exploited them for administrative purposes. Students’ attitudes towards ICT use in the classroom It has been mentioned that ICT is so influential in improving teaching and learning by many educators and organizations. ICTs help trigger or tap into the young generation’s aptitudes and interest in learning via new media, and have the potential of enhancing their preparation for further education and work (UNESCO, 2008). Internet use is spreading rapidly into daily life, and directly affecting people's ideas and behavior. Internet has an impact in many areas, of course, including the higher education system. Internet heralded the development and implementation of new and innovative teaching strategies in higher education institutes. Educators who advocate technology integration in the learning process believe it will improve learning and prepare students to
effectively participate in the 21st century workplace [1-3 Attitudes towards Internet]. The regular use of ICT across different curriculum subjects can have a beneficial motivational influence on students’ learning (Cox 1997).Such motivation is related to developing positive learning attitudes among learners. The Software and Information Industry Association (2000) indicated that students, who used educational technology in school felt more successful in school, were more motivated to learn and have increased self-confidence and self esteem. This is related to the above and shows that ICT can induce positive learning attitudes in learners. Pedretti and Mayer-Smith (1998) indicated that students found learning in a technologyenhanced setting more stimulating and student-centered than in a traditional classroom. ICT is a means of getting a learner to be engaged in the process of teaching and learning and thus provides a means of balancing teacher and student centered approaches. Moseley and Higgins (1999) indicated that exploiting ICT can lead to an enhanced sense of achievement for many students who have previously been under-achieving. Learning gains and increases in motivation have been found in literacy and mathematics. This develops strong positive attitudes towards learning among underachieving students. Teachers providing more engaging technology-enhanced lessons report that students are motivated to continue using computers at other times of the school day and outside school (Becker 2000; Rockman 2000). This is a great achievement affiliated with incorporating ICT into education. Learning can go on any where and not necessarily in schools only. Notschool.net, an online research project managed by ULTRA LAB, the learning and technology center at Anglia Polytechnic University looks at re-engaging learners who have been out of the traditional school system of learning (for a variety of personal and logistical reasons), into an environment in which they are able to develop new ways of learning. These young people include the phobic, ill, disaffected, sick, pregnant and the
excluded. The virtual community that gives young people the opportunity to be reintroduced to learning and to develop their self-esteem. Use of support of experts, mentors and the use of new technology and learning through ‘action research’ has aided this. In the first phase 100 young people were used to establish the virtual community. The project has provided learning opportunities for this disaffected cohort and they have been able to achieve. This achievement may be through the receipt of formal accreditation but more importantly they have been successful by contributing to the community in which they have learnt many new skills (Durkwork, 2001). A quote from the pilot phase in Glasgow "Notschool.net has undoubtedly been very successful – more so than we had hoped for at the outset. Valuable lessons have been learnt across the whole population….The challenge is now to take this forward and share the practice with those who the traditional system is too great a challenge." Another research Linsie said “Not school.net has given me a great opportunity – everything else was closed” (Duckworth, 2001). Gay, Mahon, Alleyne and Devonish (2006) carried out a research on attitudes of Management’s students towards ICT in the University of West Indies and indicated that management students were generally favorable to ICT in an academic setting. Gunter Saunders and Anita Pincas (2004) reported that students firmly believe themselves that ICT has a significant role to play in supporting and enhancing their university learning experience. They see the use of ICT as potentially going well beyond the use of the Internet to search for resources and the use of email to stay in touch with tutors and fellow students. This creates a cooperative study as well as developing strong positive attitudes to learning among students. Hong, Ridzuan and Kuek (2001) study investigated the success of a technology and Internet-enriched teaching and learning environment in molding positive attitudes among students toward using the Internet for learning at a university in Malaysia. The study revealed that generally students at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak had positive attitudes towards learning using the Internet. 82% of the students responded that combining face-
to-face classes with online activities (e.g. discussion boards, short answer tests) is potentially useful. Asan and KoKa (2006) study of 667 Oman students from higher institutions of learning found out that 67.1% of the students agreed that internet has a potential to be an effective training tool and 85.7% agreed that internet is a way to provide learning for people in order to search. Katahoire, Baguma and Etta (2004) reported that Ugandan students displayed high levels of positive attitudes towards schooling the WorLD’s SchoolNet programme. Such positive attitudes towards school are all due to ICT incorporation into the traditional curriculum. In one of the study camps organised by SchoolNet Uganda participating students benefited a lot in terms of knowledge skills and attitudes. Specifically Namuyiga Winfred a students of Uganda Martyrs Namugongo said that “My attitude towards practical examinations has changed. I used to hate practical lessons but now I have learnt that I can easily carry them out on my own and especially for the spring constant experiments where in the normal labs one will have her masses touch the floor even before oscillating! This used to greatly demoralize my practical part of learning.” Retrieved from; (http://schoolnetuganda.sc.ug/testimonies/namuyiga-winfred.htm) 10th/03/2008. Problems facing Ugandan students in Using ICT The major problem facing Ugandan students is that schools lack funds to provide the necessary ICT resources that will support successful ICT incorporation into the curriculum. This has been revealed in terms of a high student to computer ration in some of the schools (Edris Kasambira, SCAN ICT UGANDA). The problem of lack of funds has created a stiff competition for the existing ICT resources. Katahoire, Baguma and Etta (2004) also identified some other major barriers to implementation highlighted in the evaluation of the Uganda School Net report and they included hardware/software deficiencies, infrastructure/connectivity problems, the lack of
a national policy on computer use, and the lack of time in the school schedule. Another problem facing Ugandan schools in using ICT is that Uganda is still depending on donors for the incorporation of ICT. This is partly because of the lack of enough funds to facilitate its incorporation in education. Uganda has functioned as a test-bed for implementation of new technologies. Pilots have either turned into programmes or ended up in the drawer in the form of reports (Spider Newsletter, April 2007). Lack of trained staff to manage the various ICT in secondary schools is also still a problem (SCAN ICT UGANDA). The report also indicated non availability of ICT training institutions in some areas of the country. Students need guidance on how to operate the various ICT gadgets and to troubleshoot them. Various training programs have been put in place by the government to train educators in ICT for example the Ugandan government contracted CSTS to equip and train teachers in 100 schools (CSTS,2007).
METHODOLOGY Introduction This chapter describes the methodology adopted for the research. The choice of the research design, area of study, data collection procedures, methods, instruments and analysis are all discussed in this section.
Research Design A cross sectional survey approach to the research is adopted to get an insight into the attitudes of students towards ICT in selected secondary schools. The choice of this design is that the data will be collected once in a given school and not over a period of time. Study area The area chosen for the study is Kampala district. The choice of Kampala district is due to the high level of ICT use in the district as well as cheap access to ICT resources in the district compared to other areas. Selection of subjects The subjects will be selected from the following secondary schools; Makerere college school, Mengo secondary school, Old Kampala secondary school, Lubiri secondary school and Bishop Cyprian Kihangire secondary school. The choice of these schools is due to the fact that they have been using ICT resources for a period of above five years. Sampling methods Yamane’s formula for determination of sample size will be used.
N 2 1 + N ( e)
n is the sample size. N is the population size e specifies the desired level of precision, where precision e − = 1 The precision level chosen for a confidence level of 95% with p = 0.5 (maximum variance) is 10%. The choice of this precision level is due to the limited funds available for the research project. Data collection Instruments The instruments used to collect data include the following; A Questionnaire and observation.
Questionnaire A questionnaire entitled “Students Attitudes towards ICT use in teaching and learning biology among secondary schools students” will be used. The questionnaire consists of three parts. The first part is for the student’s background information for example age, sex name of school and composition of school. The second part of the questionnaire the attitudes of students towards the use of ICT in teaching and learning Biology. The subjects will respond on a five-point Likert type scale (1=strongly disagree, 2=disagree, 3=Undecided, 4=agree, and 5=strongly agree). The third section deals with problems faced by learners in the use of ICT in the teaching and learning of Biology. Open ended type questions have been included for the respondent to fully express their opinions. Observation The researcher will also be actively involved in observing ICT in action in the school. An observation guide has been drawn and includes items like observing Computer laboratories with internet connection in schools and others ICT resources available in the school. The researcher will also identify any possible problems affecting the learners. Procedure for data collection An introductory letter will be obtained from the School of Education’s Department of Science and Technical Education (DOSATE). This will then be taken to the authorities in the schools mentioned n the study area to allow the researcher to collect Data. The researcher will then give out questionnaires to respondents in these schools. Observation will also be carried out when access has been granted. Data collections and Quality control The data will be collected using the above instruments. Stringent quality control measures will be undertaken and they include the following. The questionnaire will be pre-tested on a group of correspondents with similar characteristics as the population under study. Its reliability will then be calculated. This in turn will help to remove and reframe and items that are inconsistent. To improve its validity, the questionnaire has been checked against and spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. The pages of the
papers are also carefully numbered to avoid any page loss. Clear spaces for answers and options have also been provided in the questionnaire. Data Management, Analysis and presentation The data analyses will be carried out with the Statistical Packages for Social Sciences using descriptive methods. Results will be presented as percentages, frequencies, pie charts and bar graphs using Microsoft Office Software. The researcher will then base on results from the data to carry out the discussion and draw meaningful conclusions.