PROJECT TOPIC- USE OF COMPUTER (ICT) IN TEACHING-LEARNING OF ELECTRICAL ELECTRONIC EDUCATION
Computer and information technology play an important role in Electrical/Electronics Education. The use of computer for teaching and learning is rapidly increasing in the developed world and it brings about technological development. This paper actually examined the historical development of computer, improving the teaching and learning of Electrical Electronics through computer usage. The ways computer can be used to improve teaching and learning of Electrical Electronics Education were discussed. The role of teachers in using computer for instruction in Electrical Electronics Education was also highlighted. Summary and conclusion were drawn on the usage of computer in teaching and learning of Electrical Electronics Education.
In recent times, the world has witnessed a rapid increase in technological innovations. This era ushered in the advent of the electronic computer system among other modern technologies. At present the computer technology has permeated nearly all aspects of human organizational roles and education. Computer encompasses almost all facets of human endeavours and it is designed to make life easier due its speed, accuracy and ability to store large quantity of information and to carry out long and complex operation without human assistance.
Computer Education is perceive as a new instructional system that is designed to improve the quality of teaching and learning and to aid technological and socio-economic development (Ajibade, 2006). According to Mccormick (1993), computer Education is the knowledge and ability to use computers and related technology efficiently, with a range of skills covering levels from elementary use to programming and advanced problem solving.
Reith (1993) defines computer as an electronic device, which stores information on disc or magnetic tape; analyses it and produces information as required from the data on the tape. Sharing the same view with Reith (1993), Kingsley (1995) sees computer as a device that accepts data in one form and processes it to produce data in another form. Adekomi (2001) defines computer as a combination of related devices capable of solving problems by accepting data, performing described operations on the data and supplying the result of these operations.
In my own view, computer can be defined as an electronic device that receives, stores, processes and retrieves information very fast. In schools computers are widely used; and the need for computer literacy in the educational system has become more relevant. Computer is actually an effective device for presenting an instructional programme. According to Mccormick (1993), computers can be used to diversify, develop and improve the pedagogical relation of teaching and learning.
Teaching is a challenge that requires long hours of work and preparation and it is a continuous, cyclic process (Obanya, 1980). Clark and Starr (1986) defined teaching as an attempt to assist students in acquiring or changing some skill, knowledge, idea, attitude or appreciation. Learning is a life long process of transforming information and experience into knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes (Hartley, 1998).
According to Ramsden (1992) learning is gaining knowledge or ability through the use of experience. He further defined learning as interpreting and understanding reality in a different way and it involves comprehending the world by reinterpreting knowledge. Rogers (2003) defined learning as the outcome; the end product of some process; and it can be seen. Learning is a process by which behaviour changes as a result of experience (Maples and Webster 1980 quoted in Merriam and Caffarella 1991:124).
Basically, from an educator’s perspective, learning involves helping people along the learning process and learning occurs when people take newfound information and incorporate it into their lives. Electrical/Electronics is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism (Weber, 1994). From the foregoing, based on the importance of computer to learning, introducing it into Electrical Electronics Education can be said to be a step in the right direction.
Schools around the world especially in developed countries are already linked up, such that children and children at far and near distances share thoughts, knowledge and views (Okonkwo, 2005). He further said that children talk also to children; and teachers in UK for example, talk to teachers in South Africa. By so doing, knowledge and information are shared and quality education is enhanced.
Innovations appearing today indicate that the world is dependent on computer technology (Ajibade, 2006). Computer is not only for word processing and accounting, but also a great learning tool for adults, little ones, nursery school pupils and secondary school students, graduates, under graduates and post graduate students.
Historical Development of Computer.
Nothing epitomizes modern life better than the computer. For better or worse, computers have infiltrated every aspect of the society. Today computers do much more than simply compute. To fully understand and appreciate the impact computers have on our lives and promises they hold for the future, it is important to understand their evolution. According to Alo (2007), the history of computer can be traced back to the Abacus.
The Abacus was one of the earliest known computational devices with its origin in the ancient Babylonia. This was a device in which beads held with strings were manually manipulated with the aim of effecting some calculations. During the 17th and 18th centuries, many significant developments were made, finding an easier means of calculating. In 1614, John Napier, a Scottish mathematician developed a Slide Rule which had the capacity of performing multiplication, division, square roots, logarithm etc.
The Slide Rule which is easy to operate is made up of two graduated rules, one of which slides upon the other. Suitable alignment of the scales leads to solutions to mathematical problems, which are read off on one of the several scales on each rule (Alo, 2007). In 1623, Francis Bacon made the first known use of Binary Codes for number representation. The Binary Codes make use of strings of 0’s and 1’s.
In 1642, a French man, Blaise Pascal invented the first mechanical adding machine known as Machine Arithmetic. The device was constructed by a system of dials, each connected to a drum. As the drums rotated, “cray” was generated by a ratchet device, which caused the next higher drum to be stepped onwards only one per revolution. Addition and subtraction were easily done with the device. Multiplications were achieved through a repeated addition while divisions were done through a repeated subtraction (Alo, 2007).
In 1812, Charles Babbage, an English professor of mathematics at Cambridge University came up with a theory that made it possible to construct an automatic mechanical device. In 1822, Babbage demonstrated a working model of this in form of a Difference Engine to the Royal Society. The British government, who later withdrew their support because Babbage was constantly improving his idea without completing the original work, funded the Difference Engine.
Later in 1834, Babbage constructed the Analytical Engine, a general-purpose calculator. The design of the machine depended on a series of ten toothed gear wheels of Jacquards inventions. The machine was not completed owing to the non-discovery of electronic switching. Yet, this device formed the bedrock of today’s modern computer (Alo, 2007).
Ways Computer can be used to Improve Teaching and Learning of Electrical Electronics Education.
The world is advancing at a rapid rate. Events have moved to the electronic stage with the computer at the center. This development has brought a lot of innovation and revolution into teaching and learning. “The world is now in the age of information technology or computer age, hence, there is a need to keep abreast of time” comments Baugher (1999). He further comments that one of the ways of achieving this is through the introduction of computer education in the institutions of learning. The introduction of computer education in the institution of learning will go a long way in improving teaching and learning of electrical/electronics education.
Ajibade (2006) says that to be computer literate amounts to be able to read, write and speak the language of the computer. Computer technology can actually be applied to solve educational problems in various ways, which include:
1. Computer assisted instruction (CAI)
2. Computer managed instruction (CMI).
3. Computer supported learning (CSL).
4. Computer aided design (CAD).
Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI)
This is a direct interaction between the learner and the instructional material by the computer. In this context, students learn through direct interaction with computer programmes. Computer assisted lessons could be given through tutorials, drills and practice, simulation etc. Computer can be used as tutors and servers to increase students’ basic skills and knowledge (Reeves, 1998). Murphy (2001) says that computers are viewed as a medium for learning, rather than as tools that could support further learning. Schachter (1999) also discovered that students with access to any of a number of technologies (such as computer assisted instruction, integrated learning systems, simulations and software that teaches higher order thinking, collaborative networked technologies or design and programming technologies) show positive gains in achievement on tests. Using computers to solve simulations will see students’ mathematics scores increase significantly (Wenglinsky, 1998).
Computer Managed Instruction (CMI)
In this context, computer is not for teaching. It is used for storing educational lectures and for organizing lectures. The computer stores examination results, tests, school records etc.
Computer Supported Learning (CSL)
This a combination of computer assisted instruction and computer managed instruction. Apart from the above ways, computer can also be used to evaluate students’ performance and direct students forward for appropriate learning activities. Its patience, memory and endless capacity for details are assets that defy competition from ordinary teacher. Computer can present diagnostic test, provide branched programmes to accommodate individual needs and furnish prescriptive assignments that might refer the student to a textbook, a laboratory experiment or a consultation with the instructor (Akinyemi, 1988).
Computer Aided Design (CAD)
Computer aided design is a system where engineers create a design and see the proposed product in front of them on a graphics screen or in the form of a computer print out or plot. In electronics, the result would be a printed circuit layout. It has replaced the drawing boards, and allows designers to work a lot faster and decrease production times significantly. Computer aided design also help to work on the design of telecommunication systems, the operation of electric power stations, the lighting and wiring of buildings, the electrical control of industrial machinery, electric motors (Fredrick, 1994).
Today, most engineering work involves the use of computers and it is commonplace to use computer aided design programmes when designing electrical systems. Fajola (2001) assets that the computer is diligent and consistent in its mode of operation, as it does not suffer from tiredness or lack of concentration like human beings. Computer performs multi-functional roles in teaching and learning processes at all levels.
At the tertiary level, computer can be used to store the daily or weekly observation of experiments in science. It can be used to mix and separate colours, scan, draw, design various things and create charts and graphs for instructional purposes (Ajibade, 2006). According to Adekomi (2001), information can be stored in manual files in the computer magnetic disc and retrieved when needed. Computer can also provide a convenient technique for developing a course of instruction. It can also provide dynamic interaction between students and instructional programme not possible with most media. Other potentials of computer in instruction identified by Abimbade (1997) are:
1. Computer helps students to learn at their own pace.
2. It produces significant time saving over conventional
3. It allows students’ control over the rate and sequence of
4. Computer gives appropriate feedback.
5. It promotes individualized instruction through
personalized responses to learner’s action to yield a high rate of reinforcement.
6. Computer also provides a more positive affective climate
especially for slow learners.
7. It provides appropriate record-keeping and thereby
monitors students’ progress.
8. It puts more information in the hand of teachers.
9. Novelty of working with a computer raises students’
10. It provides reliable instruction from learner to learner
regardless of the teacher/learner at any time of the day and location.
11. It directs instruction to learners.
12. It provides instruction at comparable expenses to other
media (Abimbade, 1997).
The Role of Teachers in using Computer for Instruction in Electrical Electronics Education.
According to Kersh (1995), the classroom teacher will never be replaced by programme of self-instructions. Rather, he will be freed to guide the learning of his students in ways that only a human being can. In using computer for instruction in electrical/electronics education, the teacher’s role is hypothesized as changed basically from that of informer to learning facilitator. His duty of delivering lectures changes to that of guide and problem solver. In the words of Johnson (1992), the instructor is freed from time consuming chores as compiling, administering and making tests; has time to work individually with the subjects.
In schools, the instructor is the manager of the learning process. The instructor decides when the students use the terminal, read the textbook or work with the laboratory equipment. This is to say that the teacher is relieved from pure informative tasks. The teacher’s role in using computer for instruction involves spending his time in leading group discussions and in working with students individually and in small groups using laboratory work where applicable. The teacher guides the students in the multitude of diversified documents to make relevant choices. Hence, the teacher’s attitudes, beliefs and preferences will be changed and adapted.
Computer as an entity is not totally independent. To achieve the set objectives for using computer for instruction, the teacher should check what each student is doing and where a student with low ability tries a difficult material, it is imperative for the teacher to discuss the method and content of such difficult material with the student to enable such student understand the content of the material.
Benmaman (1992) asserts that teachers and their assistants have the responsibility to help each student find the best way to learn, to help them with their work, to check their work and to guide them to more effective learning. Sharing the same view with Benmaman (1992), Wynn (1999) says that the teacher cannot be removed from effective instructional positions he occupies irrespective of the level of the technology because of the paramount role he plays in teaching and learning processes.
The scope and quality of teachers’ contribution to teaching and learning process should be considered in introducing a new technology to instruction. The teacher is actually a significant figure in education advancement. No educational system can rise above the level of its teacher.
In the technology-based teaching and learning practice, the major activities of the lecturers may include preparation of the software packages, adopting new concepts and new teaching practices, and above all these, they can spend time to continuously evaluating the teaching and learning outcomes (Ertugrul, 1998).
The Problems of Computer Usage in Improving the Teaching and Learning of Electrical Electronics Education.
The usage of computer in improving the teaching and learning of electrical electronics education is very important, though, computer has not really gained its root in the Nigerian schools, let alone the entire society. Its impact is not strongly felt by all, especially by the students. This is because there are some problems facing its implementation in the society. Some of the problems are listed below.
The prominent among the problems are cost. The cost of computer has been on the high side over the years. This has been a deterrent to the adoption of computer for instructional purposes in most schools in Nigeria. Coupled with this, is the exorbitant price of software, it follows the same pattern as that for hardware. Where attempts are made to purchase computers for instructional purposes, the cost of installation, maintenance and replacement are unavoidable (Jenks, 1996).
The meagre funding of education in Nigeria coupled with low technological level and poor technological development in Nigeria has been an impediment to the provision of instructional materials and use of computers for instruction in education.
In addition, lack of competent personnel also militates against the use of computer for instruction. Experts with the technical know-how of computers are few except the computer dealers who are profit conscious. Hence, there are no computer operators, keypunch operators, analysts, computer scientists, computer engineers and technicians to operate service and develop computer course ware for use on a large scale in education (Salisbury, 1998).
Another problem is resistance to change among Nigerian teachers. They see the use of computer for education as a means of displacing them from their cherished job rather than an instructional material to enrich and improve teaching and learning. They also view the use of computer as an increase in their tasks in the classroom without enough compensation, hence, the prayer for premature death for computer education (Pudlowski, 1995).
In addition to the above problem, lack of instructional facilities also militates against computer usage in schools. Facilities like adequate air-condition, appropriate computer environment and buildings are not provided. Moreover, electricity, which is the major source of power supply to the computer, is not stable. There is incessant power supply; and power surge when there is light. This actually causes damage to the computer system. Coupled with this, are the scarcity of computer spare parts and the exorbitant cost of maintaining and using the computer for problem solving and information storage.
Suggestions for Improvement
1. The parliamentarians should pass a bill on stabilizing the price of computers in the market.
2. The government should also provide enough funds for schools to purchase computers for use. Competent personnel should also be employed by employers in schools.
3. Computer spare parts should be imported to repair the damaged ones.
4. The government should provide enough funds for schools to make available suitable computer environment to improving teaching and learning.
5. Conferences, workshops and symposium should be organized to train people and enlighten them on the need for computer usage in education. According to a report by the us Department of Education, in that country “about 90% of students use computers and 59% of them use the interment” explains the wall street journal. “Almost in four use the internet for help with school assignments”, comments Journal.
6. The government should show concern and as well pump money into the power sector, because electricity is the engine for any viable economy. Government must also decide and indeed know that mush of the bulk of the money for power development has to come from its resources. Actually without electricity one cannot get online, connect and collaborate globally and increasingly even locally.
The world is a global village. The present age technological advancement has brought changes into virtually all-human endeavour including teaching and learning processes. However, the use of computer in teaching and learning of electrical/electronics education will change the roles of the university lecturers from pure classroom-based teaching to one of consultation, advice and direction giving; as it will not eliminate the educators, but will change the type of activities they carry out. It is clear that the computer-based educational technology has reached the point where many major improvements can be made and significant cost reductions can be achieved, specifically in the area of engineering education.
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