AN INVESTIGATION OF MATHEMATICS TEACHERS’ COMPETENCE AND KNOWLEDGE OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
In the body of prior research, the potentials of information and communication technology, abbreviated as ICT, had been identified to ease the learning of students, improve teaching, and better institutional administration (Kazu & Yavulzalp, 2020; Kirschner & Woperies, 2019). It is now very necessary to make use of information and communication technology as a tool for increasing students’ learning as well as the teaching that mathematics instructors provide, and as a catalyst for expanding access to excellent education in formal as well as non-formal contexts. Teacher education institutions are trying to restructure their education programs and classroom facilities in order to harness the potentials of information and communications technology (ICT) in order to improve the content of teacher education. This is in recognition of the impact that new technologies have had on the workplace and on everyday life. In the context of the school setting, the uses of information and communication technology as tools include school administration and management, the teaching and learning of ICT-related skills for enhancing the presentation of classroom work, the teaching/learning of repetitive tasks, the teaching/learning of intellectual, thinking, and problem-solving skills, and the stimulation of creativity and imagination; research by mathematics teachers and students, and the use of information and communication technology as a communication tool by mathematics teachers a. (Collis & Moonen, 2020; Derbyshire, 2020; Moursund & Bielefeldt, 2019).
The term “information and communications technology” refers to tools that are based on computers and are used by humans to assist with the information and communication processing requirements of an organization. Its remit include computer hardware and software, the network, and other digital devices like as video, audio, and cameras, amongst others, that transform information into digital form (such as text, sound, motion, etc). (Moursund & Bielefeldt, 2019). The level of knowledge and perspective that mathematics instructors have on the use of contemporary technologies in the classroom is critical to the achievement of a successful integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) into the educational system. Therefore, experienced mathematics instructors, freshly certified mathematics teachers, and student teachers of mathematics all need to be confident in their ability to use information and communication technology (ICT) successfully in their classrooms (Kyriakidou, Chrisostomou, & Bank, 2020).
The mere presence of information and communications technology in educational settings is insufficient to ensure its efficient use. The teacher is the most important factor in determining how effectively students learn to use the tools provided in the classroom, regardless of the quantity or quality of the technology that is installed. As a result, teachers of mathematics need to have the necessary skills as well as the appropriate mindset when it comes to technology (Kadel, 2018). An individual’s favorable or negative assessment of a certain issue is referred to as their attitude toward that subject. Analyzing the information that is available on the effects of an activity and giving either a good or negative appraisal of those results is what leads to the establishment of attitudes (Ajzen & Fishbein, 2019). There is a proverb that says one’s attitude will decide their level of success. Studies have shown that there are strong connections and affinities between the attitudes of mathematics instructors and their usage of information and communication technology (ICT). Higher levels of computer expertise were connected with more favorable opinions towards the computer (Dyck & Smither, 2019; Teo, 2018). The mentality and actions of students’ maths professors may be used to explain why students have such a high level of confidence in ICT. Because they serve as an essential example for their pupils, the actions of mathematics instructors have a significant impact on the level of students’ self-assurance as well as their perspective on ICT (Derbyshire, 2020). According to the available research, one of the most significant reasons why mathematics educators do not make use of technology in their classrooms is because they do not have sufficient training and expertise. The result of this is that mathematics professors tend to have a negative attitude toward computers and other forms of technology. In addition, mathematics instructors who lack self-assurance are less likely to make use of computers in their classrooms (Kumar & Kumar, 2017).
By incorporating technology into mathematics instruction, both pre-service and in-service teachers may have a more positive attitude about the importance of computer and technological abilities in the classroom (Zammit, 2019). (Khine, 2017) research has shown that there is a significant relationship between computer attitude and its use in institutions for pre-service mathematics teachers, as well as for serving mathematics teachers in the areas of affective attitude, general usefulness, behavioral control, and pedagogical use of computers (Yuen & Ma, 2021). The way that one feels about using a computer in the future is a significant one. According to the findings of Lee’s research (2021), one of the most important things that contributes to success is providing suitable replies to the trainee’s sentiments about using ICT. Therefore, it is necessary to take care of the emotional requirements of student mathematics instructors since attitude is a significant predictor of future usage of information and communication technology (ICT). Student mathematics instructors have a good attitude and are very passionate about interactive whiteboards as an essential aspect of teaching and learning; as a result, the technology has inspired them to practice using it (Kennewell, & Morgan, 2019)
There is a gender gap in education in sub-Saharan Africa, and children who are not in school, the majority of whom are females, are denied the chance to learn anything connected to information and communication technology (ICT) at school. At every level of school, the percentage of African women who enroll in science and technology programs is among the lowest in the world. According to the findings of a research that was carried out in four different African nations, gender equality does not exist in reality despite the fact that in theory, girls are given the same chance as boys to use computers (Derbyshire, 2020). However, a research conducted by Kirkpatrick and Cuban (2018) found that when female and male students had the same numbers and kinds of experiences with computers, male and female students’ success scores and attitudes were comparable across all educational levels.
Studies have demonstrated that females tend to be less interested in computer and use them less frequently in their leisure time (Schaumburg, 2019). (Schaumburg, 2019). In addition, research have proven that females are less confident than boys in their computer abilities, and that certain worldwide studies have indicated that boys scored higher than girls in computer related knowledge and skills in large majority of nations. Additionally, the three computer-related occupations of computer scientists, computer engineers and system analysts, as well as computer science and engineering, are the most popular career options for guys (Derbyshire, 2020). Females also have a more unfavorable attitude toward computers, according to Bebetsos and Antoniou (2018); as a result, females are often less computer proficient than males; as a consequence, this may result in different methods of using the computer (Jackson, Ervin, Gardner, & Schmitt, 20221). According to the findings of a research conducted by Sefyrin (2018), being competent in information and communications technology (ICT) might be seen as an issue of interest in ICT. The study found that males are more interested in ICT than women. The findings therefore verified the concept of gender and competence as actively produced in a social process. This is due to the fact that people within the groups that were investigated negotiated their own understandings of the words being researched, and these understandings were then employed as standards by which individuals perceived themselves and their activities. Serving and student-mathematics instructors need to be knowledgeable in the use of information and communications technology (ICT), as well as able to critically analyze techniques for the acquisition and the proper use of ICT in a variety of subject areas of the curriculum. Kirschner and Woperies (2019) identified the major ICT competencies required of mathematics teachers as the following: the ability to make personal use of information and communication technology; the ability to master a range of educational paradigms that involve the use of information and communication technology; the ability to use information and communication technology as a tool for teaching; the ability to master a range of assessment paradigms that involve the use of information and communication technology; and the ability to understand the policy dimensions of the use of information and communication technology. Pre-service teacher education should place an emphasis on the need for student-mathematics teachers to have ICT skills for their own use in the preparation of materials for teaching and learning activities; the need to facilitate the direct use of ICT in students’ learning activities within the context of the classroom setting; and the need for mathematics teachers to develop in their students a critical awareness of the applications of ICT and the social implications of those applications. In a similar manner, Marija and Palmira (2017) divided ICT abilities into two categories: fundamental and instructional ICT competency. The International Communication and Information Technology Competency Standards for Mathematics Teachers were produced by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). These standards go into additional detail about these competencies (UNESCO, 2018a, 2018b). According to these publications, the information and communication technology competence covers a far wider range of topics than a simple concentration on ICT abilities. Rather, it is an all-encompassing strategy for bringing about education reform in the six primary domains of policy, curriculum and assessment, pedagogy, the use of technology, school structure and administration, and the continuing education of educators. The UNESCO (2018a, 2018b) standards for mathematics teachers are intended to enhance the practice of mathematics instructors in utilizing information and communication technology (ICT) in an innovative manner for teaching, working with colleagues, and for school organization.
According to Lee (2017), a significant number of pre-service mathematics teachers are not prepared with fundamental computer operational skills. As a result, in order for mathematics teachers to be able to integrate ICT into the school curriculum, groundwork needs to be done at the level of pre-service teacher education. As a method of establishing a curriculum for teacher education that is appropriate for the modern information era, teacher educators need to have a solid understanding of the many facets of the attitudes held by prospective teachers.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
According to a number of studies, there is a significant gap between the formulation of policy and its implementation in Nigerian schools with respect to the provision of computer instruction in Nigerian schools (Jegede & Owolabi, 2020). In terms of the information and communication technology that is used in the Nigerian healthcare system, the only technologies that are accessible in the country’s hospitals are mobile phones and the internet, and only to a limited level (Idowu, Ogunbodede, & Idowu, 2021). According to Yusuf (2019), mathematics teachers in Nigerian secondary schools are not competent in basic computer operation and in the use of generic software, despite the fact that they have a positive attitude toward the use of computers in Nigerian secondary schools. This is despite the fact that mathematics teachers in Nigerian secondary schools teach students how to use computers (Yusuf, 2019). These data have shown that there is a low degree of ICT penetration in the educational system of Nigeria, despite the fact that the attitudes of mathematics instructors have been favorable. To the disadvantage of research on pre-service mathematics teachers, many studies that have been undertaken on computers and ICT have concentrated mostly on practicing mathematics instructors in Nigerian secondary schools rather than on pre-service teachers. The majority of studies that examined the attitude of pre-service mathematics teachers toward ICT were conducted outside of Nigeria; in fact, very few studies on attitude and competence in the use of computers have focused on the academic and non-academic staff of Nigerian higher institutions. This is despite the fact that Nigeria is home to a large number of higher education institutions (Jegede, 2020). It is possible that gaining an appreciation of mathematics teachers’ attitudes toward the use of information and communications technology (ICT) and their perceived levels of competence in this area could provide useful insight into the future of the integration, acceptance, and utilization of technology in teaching and learning in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this study is to investigate mathematics teachers’ competence and knowledge of information and communication technology. Specifically, the present study examined:
- To examine mathematics teachers knowledge of information communications technology.
- To find out the extent at which mathematics teachers apply the knowledge of ICT to the teaching of mathematics.
- To investigate the benefits of ICT competent in the teaching and learning of mathematics.
- To assess the attitude of teachers towards information and communication technology (ICT).
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions will guide the study:
- Do mathematics teachers have knowledge of information communications technology?
- What is the extent at which mathematics teachers apply the knowledge of ICT to the teaching of mathematics?
- What arethe benefits of ICT competent in the teaching and learning of mathematics?
- What is the attitude of mathematics teachers towards information and communication technology (ICT)?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be significant to government as it would be exposed to the need of carrying out periodic training for teachers on the use of information communications technology.
The study will be significant to teachers as the knowledge and competence of using the information communications technology will aid in the teaching of mathematics to students.
The study will be of benefit to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.
1.6 SCOPE OF STUDY
This study will examine mathematics teachers knowledge of information communications technology. The study will also find out the extent at which mathematics teachers apply the knowledge of ICT to the teaching of mathematics. The study will further investigate the benefits of ICT competent in the teaching and learning of mathematics. Lastly, the study will assess the attitude of teachers towards information and communication technology (ICT). hence the study will be delimited to Akwa Ibom State.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
COMPETENCE: This is the ability of having the skill or knowledge to do something well or effectively.
Knowledge: facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.
ICT: the use of computers to create, process, store, retrieve, and exchange all kinds of electronic data and information