The Implications of ICT and NKS for Science Teaching

Whither Nigeria?

Francisca Olusegun Aladejan

Obafemi Awolowo University

Globally, the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) is fast gaining prominence and is becoming one of the most important elements defining the basic competencies of students.  Specifically for science, ICT can be used as an experimental tool for gathering and exploring data, for recording information, and for presenting ideas. The possibility of A New Kind of Science (NKS), which does not rely on traditional mathematics rules but rather follows the use of computers whose programs implement a huge variety of rules, offers an innovative paradigm for doing science.

Presently in Nigeria, science teaching at the various levels still retains the old conservative approach with characteristics such as: the teacher in most cases acting as the repertoire of knowledge and the students the dormant recipients; the over-reliance on textbooks and the occasional demonstration and experimental classes. If this situation would change, there is the need for a diagnostic study that will help in better direction of effort.

This paper will examine the attitude to ICT and NKS use for learning science among undergraduates from selected Nigeria universities. It will determine the impact of the use of simple computer experiments and playing with programs on the learning of science. The paper will determine the availability of resources for this new paradigm such as desktop computers, laptops, interactive whiteboard, sensors and data-logging software, school network and “hub” access to the internet through phonelines. The learning environment available will also be assessed.

The study is predicated on the assumption that the use of computers affects the motivation of students in the learning and enjoyment of science and mathematics: and that appropriate use of software packages can enrich, support, and mediate the learning of mathematics and science concepts. The study is underpinned by the theory of constructivism that knowledge is constructed rather than reproduced.

The students’ attitudes will be measured using adapted established instruments. About fifty undergraduates will be purposively selected based on having any basic science as a subject of specialization. Analysis will be done using descriptive and inferential statistics.

Findings from the study are thus expected to reveal the attitudes of the students to ICT and NKS use for learning science, the impact of ICT and NKS on the learning of science, the availability of resources for learning, and the quality of the learning environment. Based on these findings, appropriate recommendations will be made for improved science learning in Nigeria using ICT and NKS.

[presentation materials]

Created by Mathematica  (May 11, 2006)