Use of Information Technology in teaching and learning
This age of information is dominated by the use of Information Communication and Technology (ICT), which is becoming an essential tool in teaching and learning various courses which accounting courses are included. Various researches have shown that these tools have a great impact on the teaching and learning of accounting courses. As a result of that, this paper aims to investigate the relevance of ICT in effective teaching and learning of accounting courses, the concept of ICT is also examine, as well as the meaning of Accounting Education, it also discussed various accounting courseware, the importance of ICT in teaching and learning of accounting courses was touched, some impacts of using ICT in online accounting tutoring on students are not left out, some challenges of the application of ICT are equally examined, conclusion was made it is also recommended that: there should be awareness campaign through workshops, seminars and conferences to make the implementer of curriculum be aware of the essentiality of ICT in teaching/learning of accounting courses, the government should allocate fund to equip the ICT sections in school; and many other recommendations were made on this paper.
If we look at the way accounting is learned most is through Oral (teaching). Now in the computer era, the use of computer which is one of the ICT technologies is very important in teaching and learning of accounting courses, since computers are widely used for its speed and efficiency. Given that computer has become everyday-used tool at the work place, it will be very beneficial of such practices can be initiated from schools. Use of computers in teaching and learning in Universities (accounting education), is useful for learning experience and development of experts for the work place.
Learning through practical exercise and training (using simulations in, spreadsheet, GenerReS and Asset Series) is far superior and effective and can go a long way in equipping the students and also helps in rapid understanding of the course than learning through the traditional method which we are used to. When the courseware is introduced in teaching and learning of accounting courses, the students tend to get the experience right away.
THE CONCEPT OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION AND TECHNOLOGY (ICT).
ICT is an acronym which stand for;
I = INFORMATION
C = COMMUNICATION
T = TECHNOLOGY
The term Information and Communication Technology is the application of various software and hardware which supports activities involving information. Such activities include gathering, processing, storing and presenting data. The ICT is derived from IT (Information Technology). According to OECD (1987), Information Technology is defined as “a term used to cover technologies used in the collection, processing and transmission of information”. Ukpebor (2006) noted that Information Communication Technologies are vast web of high speed digital communication networks, delivering information, education and entertainment services to schools, offices, homes and so on.
The computer was never developed for improving quality of teaching-learning process. But researchers started using computer for teaching purpose. It then gave birth to Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI), Computer Managed Instruction (CMI), Computer Based Instruction (CBI), etc. People started developing CAI for teaching different subjects at school as well as Higher Education level. The developed CAIs were compared with the lecture method or traditional method and found that the developed CAIs were significantly superior to lecture method/traditional method in teaching different subjects as well as teaching accounting courses.
IMPORTANCE OF ICT IN TEACHING-LEARNING OF ACCOUNTING COURSES.
Most of the teachers in higher institutions make use of lecturing/traditional method of teaching, which the school was able to provide and which does not have tendency of achieving effective learning objectives. For the set objective to be achieved, multiple methods should be used in an integrated fashion. At present, ICT may be of some use. It is a known fact that not all the teacher is capable of given up to date and complete information in his/her own subject/field. The ICT can breach this gap especially in area of teaching of accounting courses, because of the following reason;
- Provision of Accurate Information: ICT can provide access to different sources of information which is as comprehensive as possible in different formats with different examples, which can be used in solving problems in accounting courses.
- ICT provides online interaction facility: Students and teachers of Accounting Education can exchange their ideas and views, and get clarification on any topic in accounting courses from different experts, practitioners, etc through online interaction.
- It helps learners to broaden the information base: ICT provides variety in the presentation of content which helps learners in concentration, better understanding, and long retention of information which is not possible otherwise.
- The Super highway and cyber space also help in qualitative improvement of teaching learning process: ICT provides flexibility to learners which are denied by the traditional process and/or method of teaching. Flexibility is a must for mastery and quality learning.
In order to meet the professional expectation in this changing scenario, the profession has called for significant change in accounting professionals. The Institute of Certified Accountants in Australia suggests that fresh accounting graduates must equip themselves with necessary skills to use technological tools effectively and efficiently in order to match market expectations and to enhance their professional competence (CPA/ICAA, 2009).
The following importance of ICT were also outlined by Abolio, Andural and Abolio, 2006.
- Enhancing of Distance Education: information age have made education (Accounting Education Inclusive) easier with the use of modern technology, many a student who prefer to stay at home could easily study online through the usage of e-learning. This type of method is mostly recommended for students who are disabled, sick, no transportation facilities etc. So with ICT education is meant for all irrespective of their circumstances.
- Easy Communications among disabilities: Technology also enables students with disabilities to communicate with others and to express themselves in writing.
- ICT increases positivity in learner participation: ICT increases learners’ effectiveness or performance, increased learner engagement or satisfaction, more positive student attitudes to learning etc.
- Increased self-expression and active learning by students: Technologies provide stimulating environments that encourage student involvement in the learning process.
- Co-operative learning: Introducing technology into the learning environment has been shown to make learning more student-centered to encourage teacher/student interaction, which also encourages team work.
- Acquisition of new ideas, skills and methodology in teaching and learning accounting education: With the help of ICT, some ideas and skills adopted in developed countries like America and United Kingdom can now be read and learned through internet and Satellite and be applied in Nigeria for effective learning.
Furthermore, it is very essential that ICT knowledge be inculcated to accounting education students so as to meet the need of new industries, productions patterns and teaching and learning methods.
IMPACT OF ICT IN ONLINE ACCOUNTING TUTORING
The digital technology has broken the boundaries between countries. Human beings do not feel any type of restrictions in communication with people all over the globe. The access has become easy. It is a well known fact that all students do not understand all subjects to the same extent. Some students find subjects (like financial accounting, taxation, business statistics, mathematics etc.), difficult. Consequently, students do feel the need of academic support out of the school. Therefore, students go for online tuition/e-learning. These days, students from Nigeria and other countries are enrolled in private tuition classes in India and in other places and are being taught online. This has become possible only due to ICT.
Due to the availability of ICT, the students can log on to tutor through the use of internet software after being taught in school without much understanding. He can see and learn with the tutor who is in another country to verify him in the aspect he does not understand. It has made the academic life of many students easy especially that of accounting education students.
CHALLENGES OF THE APPLICATION OF ICT IN TEACHING AND LEARNING OF ACCOUNTING COURSES
The application of ICT in teaching and learning of accounting faces a lot of challenges. Some of these challenges are;
- Equipment/Infrastructure: Most of the Schools lack adequate infrastructure such as classroom and only a few equipped with computer television and radio. Computer equipment can’t function without amenities such as electricity under “condition”.
Due to inconsistent and unstable power supply, it has made it difficult to teach or learn with such high technology equipment such as computer.
- Cost: Buying computer is something a low income earner can’t afford to buy in our country (Nigeria) due to its high cost in price unlike buying it in other country where you can easily get it in a lower price. Also other costs associated with ICT are beyond the reach of most Nigerian teachers.
- Lack of Adequate Skills: Nigeria lack human skills, to fully integrate ICT in teaching and learning of accounting courses in tertiary institution the acute shortage of trained personnel in the application of software, operating system network communication and local technicians to service and repair computer facilities must be looked into.
Barret (2007) also observed that teachers need effective tools; techniques and assistance that can help them develop computer based projects and activities especially designed to raise the level of teaching in required subjects and improve students’ learning.
- Creating awareness: There is little awareness of the uses of ICT in Accounting Education among students and teachers. The challenges facing educationists is how to create the necessary awareness and ICT skills among students and teachers, creating the necessary technical skill for application of ICT in teaching and learning is a current challenge facing Accounting Education programme in Nigeria.
- High rate of poverty: The level of poverty among Nigerians is so high that many can still not acquired personal computers for themselves to make research on confusing topic and seek for the directions of the expert online.
- Low in the pace of ICT development: The slow pace of development in the field of ICT makes most people to stay in the dark. Keeping pace with the development in ICT field is enough challenge to application of ICT in teaching and learning of accounting courses.
- Lack of Maintenance: There should be good maintenance culture of the existing facilities to enable them to last much longer.
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