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1.1 Background to the study
Mathematics, the science of space and number, plays a great role in the development of an individual, society and nation. To Sidhu (1995) a common man can get on sometimes ‘very’ well without learning how to read and write, but he can never pull on without learning how to count and calculate. Any person ignorant of mathematics will be at the mercy of others and will be easily cheated. A person may belong either to the lowest or highest class of society, but he utilizes knowledge of mathematics in one form or the other. Going beyond speaking of an engineer, a business man, an industrialist or a banker whose use of mathematics is glaring, a labourer has to calculate his wages, make purchases from the market, and adjust the expenditure of his income.
Most individuals’ and group projects in life fail for want of sense of calculation. A person who can calculate, estimate and approximate properly can anticipate all the possible handicaps to be faced in a project and thus can adopt precautionary measures to avoid possible failures and loses.
According to Osafehinti (1990) the influence of mathematics to the individual in his daily undertaking is so enormous that the knowledge of mathematics is indispensible tool for a successful and balanced human existence on this planet. This is in agreement with the views of UNESCO in Odili (2006) on the importance of mathematics. UNESCO maintained that “lack of arithmetical literacy, that is, skill and understanding of the fundamental operations with whole and rational numbers in decimal notations, on the part of millions of inhabitants of our planet shows either a lack of school or failure in instruction at elementary level. Because of the importance of this knowledge in every facet of life, it goes without question that the acquisition of skill and understanding of arithmetical computation and its application to the solution of everyday problems is still the primary objective of elementary school mathematics”.
Thomaskutty (2016) said that mathematical illiteracy in the masses is a formidable barrier in the way of a country’s progress.
But why should everybody learn mathematics? What is the significance of mathematics in the civil society? What shall be the advantage of devoting so much effort, time and money in the society to learn mathematics? How does it make any contribution in the overall development of the members of the civil society? These are some of the questions that may come to one’s mind when issues of relationship between mathematics and civil society are being discussed (Kulshrestha, 2005).
History of mathematics reveals that whenever a society gave due weightage to the knowledge of mathematics, it made a tremendous progress. When mathematics makes its contribution in the advancement of science and technology, the society draws huge benefits. Its history presents a very good picture of the overall development of civilization. What the society possesses in the form of mathematical knowledge today is the fruit of the combined efforts of all human beings. Mathematics is the common heritage of mankind and it is not the exclusive property of any particular nation, race or country. So it is no exaggeration to say that history of mathematics is the history of civilization. Mathematics therefore is the mirror of civilization in all centuries of painstaking calculation (Ukeje, 1986).
Ancient men felt their concern with mathematics, motivated by their social needs and they had done their best on the computational front of their lives. It has been found that Babylonians possessed the knowledge of multiplication and division of numbers, taking squares and square root of numbers, and finding areas of certain geometrical figures. Egyptian civilization is also owed to mathematics. Aristotle said that mathematics had its birth in Egypt because there the priestly class had leisure needful for its study. They built pyramids at a very early period. The basis of both the Egyptian and the Mesopotamian civilizations were agriculture. In an agricultural economy, a reliable calendar, accurate with respect to both astronomy and arithmetic was a necessity. When thinking of Greek civilization, one must remember the great mathematicians like Thales (640-545BC), Pythagoras (580-500BC), Plato (429-348 BC), and Archimedes (287-212BC). Others are Ptolemy, Apollonius, Pappus and Diophantus. Going through history, one can see further the contributions from the Romans, Chinese, Japanese, Arabs and Indians to mathematics. A close and careful study of the history will reveal that ancient civilizations made much contribution towards the development of mathematics. These contributions and how mathematics contributed to their progress should be articulated and passed unto the new generation of students. Perhaps it is as a result of mathematics teachers’ unwillingness to acquaint students with the role of mathematics in civilization that causes poor attitude and apathy towards mathematics.
Mathematics plays a very important role in the modern world. The people of 21st century are living in a scientific era of rapid development. If one is to play a position on the team of the society, or even to watch intelligently from the sideline, such must have an understanding and appreciation of mathematics. The advancement in the area of science and technology are rapid and rather amazing. Everyone who is a beneficiary of these scientific and technological facilities may have to know a little of mathematics for its fruitful and smooth utilization. Hence, mathematics cannot be considered as a classroom discipline only. Every man has need of mathematics at any time (Anice, 2005).
To have a progressive and civil society, every country should encourage its members to participate in the political process and to contribute to community services consistent with good citizenship. Interpersonal cooperation and social responsibility must be encouraged. Mathematics helps in the proper organization and maintenance of a fruitful social structure. Mathematics plays an important role in the proper setting up of social institutions such as banks, co-operatives, railways, post offices, insurance companies, industries, transport and navigation. Effective business transactions, exports and imports, trade, commerce and communication cannot take place without mathematics. Thus the structure and functioning of the civil society is ensured by mathematics.
The success of an individual in a society depends on how well he is able to become a part of the society, what contributions he can make towards the progress of the society and how well one can be benefited by the society. Mathematics is used to quantify and qualify the contributions of individuals as well as the benefits which individuals derive from the society. Mathematical methods and logics are used to investigate, analyze and draw inferences regarding the formation of various social laws and their compliance.
Further on the importance of mathematics, British Academy (2012) and Porkess(2012) stressed that all citizens should understand data and view statistics critically. This is because debates about the society rests on statistical arguments, particularly with increasing amount of data within a digital society, and an understanding of these arguments is necessary for informed debate and decision making. For instance, without statistical understanding, voters, consumers, manufacturers, legislators, governors and government officials cannot play a full part. To call politicians, media and business to account for their activities, statistical skills are needed to know when spurious arguments are being advanced.
If a nation will prosper, there is need to give the future generation adequate mathematics education. Quantitative skills are needed by researchers in the social sciences and humanities to enable effective engagement with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) researchers, both within interdisciplinary research teams and in general intellectual dialogue (British Academy, 2012). It is this pool that feeds the supply of scientists needed within industry to perform the most demanding roles in areas that are crucial to the needed prosperity of the country. Mathematical skills underpin the attributes such as problem solving which are of critical importance within modern developing nation.
Mathematics teaching is very important for intellectual developments. According to Roohi (2015) there is no other subject in the school curriculum like mathematics which makes students’ brain active. Problem solving helps in the development of mental faculties and mental work is needed to solve mathematical problems. Mathematics makes man very calculating so that he can economize time, money, speech and thought. Mathematics is the most important subject that can help children earn their living and become self-reliant which is the main aim of education. It makes children wise, disciplined and good social contributors within the society.
Mathematics occupies a central role in the overall education of the child. It plays an important role in shaping the future of young people. For almost every subject studied in school and university, mathematics is studied too. Also in vocational areas like tailoring, carpentry, cooking, sports, farming, block laying and block molding, mathematical knowledge is needed (Roohi, 2015). Mathematics provides the vital under pining of the knowledge of economy. It is essential in the physical sciences, technology, business, financial services and many areas of ICT. It is of growing importance in biology, medicine and many areas of social sciences.
Mathematics forms the basis of most scientific and industrial research and development. Many complex systems and structures in the modern world can only be understood using mathematics and much of the design and control of high-technology systems depends on the mathematical inputs and outputs.
Because of these roles and importance placed on mathematics, it is made a compulsory subject in all levels of education system. This is not only the case in Nigeria but in almost all countries of the world. The National Policy on Education (FME, 2009) stipulated that mathematics should appear every day in the time-table of primary and secondary schools. Credit pass in mathematics is an imperative for anyone who would secure admission into any tertiary institution in Nigeria and many other countries of the world. Also to be offered employment in banking, marketing, insurance, and accounting and even in civil service, a credit pass in mathematics is a basic requirement.
Despite these central roles of mathematics in shaping the life of youths, students’ attitude towards mathematics has remained low. Lack of interest in mathematics is the reason why many students absent themselves from mathematics classes, refuse to do mathematics assignment and find it difficult to collaborate with their mates in tackling mathematical problems. The result of such poor attitude and lack of interest in mathematics are reasons for mass failure of students in internal and external examinations. The few students who succeed only struggle to pass the subject and after that they forget mathematics. This is a colossal loss to the society which spends so much on mathematics education.
It is therefore necessary to find reasons why students lose interest and develop poor attitude towards learning of mathematics. Akanksha&Santha (2015) posited that teacher’s attitude and beliefs, teaching style and behavior, parent attitudes and beliefs are factors which affect students’ attitude towards mathematics. Wendy (2012) enumerated some criteria for identifying the factors responsible for poor attitude of students through these questions; why is mathematics the most hated subject in schools? Is it the way it is taught, is it the way the teachers are trained, the failure to attract enough talented mathematicians who also have gift for teaching, or just the old problem; our failure to take mathematics seriously? May be these are the factors to some degree, but if mathematics can be presented as a collaborative, stimulating, problem solving activity relevant to real life, then maybe, more children would avoid joining the ranks of the adult innumerates. Mohammed and Waheed (2011) identified three groups of factors that play a vital role in influencing students’ attitudes. These are: Factors associated with the students themselves such as mathematical achievement, anxiety, self-efficacy and self-concept, motivation and experiences at school. Factors associated with the school are the teacher and teaching which include teaching materials, classroom management, teacher knowledge, attitude towards mathematics, guidance and beliefs, and finally factors from home environment and society such as educational background and parental expectations. Nicolaidou and Philippou (2003) showed that negative attitudes are the result of frequent or repeated problems when dealing with mathematical tasks and these negative attitudes may become relatively permanent. When children first go to school they usually have high and positive attitude towards mathematics. But as they progress their attitude degenerate gradually towards negative attitude at high school level. Factors responsible for degenerating attitude at high school level include; pressure to perform well, over demanding tasks, uninteresting lessons and less positive attitude on the part of the teachers. One must also acknowledge the fact that the higher one goes into mathematics, the more abstract it tends to become and the abstract nature of mathematics affects attitude especially if it is not concretely taught.
In response to poor attitude, lack of interest and poor performance in mathematics, government has taken a number of steps towards solving the problem. In 1988 the federal government of Nigeria set up the national mathematical centre (NMC) at Abuja. The centre was created to develop appropriate initiatives and resources of international standing of reawakening and sustaining interest in the mathematical sciences at all levels in Nigeria and to serve as an adequate response to the dramatic decline in the production of teachers and specialists in the mathematical sciences at all levels (NMC, 1989).
The centre arranges seminars and workshops for mathematics teachers, plans programmes like quizzes, lectures, competitions for students and talent hunts among youths. It prepares teaching aids like books, audio-visual aids, games and other materials for facilitating teaching and learning of mathematics.
Furthermore, the federal, state and local governments from time to time organize seminars, workshops, science and mathematics exhibitions and competitions all aimed towards generating interest and improving performance of students in mathematics. For instance the federal government under the millennium development goals (MDG) organized training workshops for all basic education teachers in mathematics and other core subjects through the National Teachers’ Institute, Kaduna. The workshop focused on innovative techniques of teaching as well as some aspects of school-based assessment and improvisation of instructional materials (Sharehu, 2011). NTI organized the workshop for all primary and secondary school teachers in all states of the federation. Apart from the contributions of NMC and NTI, various state ministries of education also organize training workshops and seminars for teachers of mathematics during vacations.
However, besides all these efforts, mathematics remains one of the most hated and burdensome subjects to majority of students.
What then can be done? There is need for a change. According to Fouts (2000) there are certain factors which make educators think that a change has become necessary. These factors include: change in the current student population and change in the requirements of the new world. Students are facing an entirely different world than the generations before. This generation of students differs in many ways, but one thing which stands out is that they have more access to technology than the previous generations. For example, research has found out that by the year 1999, a surprisingly large percentage (97%) of kindergarteners had access to computers at home or school. Statistically, even lower income students that might not have access to technology at home find a way to make use of it, by either going to a library, their school, or in a friend’s house (Eugene 2004). These statistics show that technology plays a very important role in students’ lives. It also helps to clarify why educators believe a change is needed in the way teaching and learning occurs. If students are so engrossed in the use of technology outside of the classroom, they obviously value it. It would then be logical to say that if technology were integrated into the classroom the learning environment would be more relevant to the current student population. In view of these, it is necessary to introduce information and communication technology (ICT) into the mathematics teacher education programme. ICT tools such as the internet access, laptops, iPods, and other non-computer hard wares and soft wares are evolving and changing the way people live all over the globe. In Nigeria, especially in the south east zone, people are now spending more time doing e-shopping, listening to e-radio, playing e-games, doing e-banking, e-reading and e-mailing. Potentials of social media networks and internet have captured the attention of youngsters to the point that they can be described as technology addicts.
These technologies are also finding their way into the school system. Many schools in Nigeria and other parts of the world are equipped with computers and internet facilities. A lot of teachers and parents of these students have these technologies in their homes and offices.
Researchers like Ittigson and Zewe (2003) cited that technology is essential in teaching and learning mathematics. ICT improves the way mathematics should be taught and enhances student understanding of basic concepts. Becta (2003) summarized the key benefits. First ICT promotes greater collaboration among students and encourages communication and the sharing of knowledge. Secondly, ICT gives rapid and accurate feedbacks to students and this contributes towards positive motivation. Finally, the use of ICT in mathematics classroom also allows them to focus on strategies and interpretations of answers rather than spend time on tedious computational calculations. Researchers are of the view that when ICTs are integrated into the classrooms, they will bring immense value to the quality of teaching, making it a holistic learning experience for the students. ICT makes education student-centred, visual, time-saving, motivating and creative. It is believed that ICT will make complicated concepts simple and assist in proper visualization of shapes, provide opportunities for drill and practice as well as assist students in collaborative studies. Topics taught with ICT will be interesting and aesthetic because teachers will get varieties of pictures, movies, spreadsheets and even online quizzes to carry out their lesson plans. ICT integration in mathematics education provides teachers with interactive teaching methods that motivate students’ learning, support their independent learning and active participation in the discovery of mathematical concepts and topics, and as a result, helps them have deeper understanding of mathematical ideas.
These potentials of ICT make its integration in the classroom a promising practice. But the success of this practice is dependent upon various factors, among which are the following: teachers’ perceptions on their ability in ICT, teachers’ attitude towards ICT contribution to students’ math learning, teachers’ emotions towards the use of ICT in the mathematics classroom, and teachers’ intentions to actually integrate ICT in their teaching (Baya&Daher, 2013). All these teacher characteristics will be harnessed and improved if a well-articulated ICT programme is incorporated in teacher training. This is because the central focus in implementing ICT in the classroom is the mathematics teacher. The mathematics teacher is the one who introduces the curriculum content to the students. He determines the media to be used in teaching and learning. Ainley (2011) posited that the use of ICT is greater when teachers have a higher level of confidence in ICT and when teachers have participated in ICT related professional development. This suggests that the implementation of ICT in teaching would be enhanced by building the capacities of teachers through an expansion of professional development as well as removing remaining obstacles by improving the resources available to students and teachers
Research has proved that if ICT is to be successfully integrated in the classroom, the teacher must be trained and prepared to use ICT and hence this study focuses on developing a package for preparing the trainee teachers towards integration of ICT in mathematics teaching at primary school level.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
Parents, teachers, the general public and government have been expressing worries over students’ low level of performance in mathematics especially at the basic education level. A lot of them also have dropped out of school since they cannot continue without proficiency in mathematics. Success in mathematics is very important for majority of students if Nigeria is to achieve her dream of becoming one of the technologically advanced nations of the world by the year 2030.
It is against this background that research-based instructional and modern approaches have become necessary in the teaching and learning of mathematics. Lecture method of teaching which breeds boredom and passive regurgitation of mathematical facts and concepts has remained predominant in the school system despite all research findings and recommendations against it. (Obioma, 2005). Teachers have continued to teach the way they were taught when they were in training colleges and universities. Their teaching with lecture method may have persisted due to their inability to make use of modern facilities for teaching. It is against this backdrop that the researcher intends to incorporate information and communication technology into the mathematics teacher-education programme. Information and communication technology is the fusion of computer and non-computer hardwares and softwares for the purpose of producing, storing, acquiring, retrieving, disseminating, assessing, presenting and communicating audio, pictorial, textual or numerical data. Dawes (2001) is of the view that new technologies have the potential to support education across the curriculum and provide opportunities for effective communication between teachers and students in ways that have not been possible before. ICT in mathematics education has the potential of bringing about changes in ways of teaching.
Three top priorities nominated by school principals for enhancing the use of ICT in their schools involve improving the ability of teachers to make good pedagogical use of ICT, improving the technical skills of teachers and increasing the number of teachers using ICT for teaching and learning purposes. How then can pre-service mathematics teachers be prepared for effective implementation of ICT in the classroom and how can ICT package be developed for teacher preparation? These are the issues behind this research.
1.3. PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this study is to develop a package for integration of information and communication technology into the primary school mathematics teacher-education programme. Specifically, the study intends to:
1.4. Research Questions: The following research questions have been formulated to guide the study:
iii. How can the ICT package for primary school mathematics teacher-education programme be validated?
iv.What is the attitude of primary school pre-service mathematics teachers towards introduction of ICT in teaching?
V What are the possible barriers toward implementing ICT in primary school mathematics teacher-education programme in South East Zone, Nigeria?
1.5 Research Hypotheses: The following research hypotheses which will be tested at 0.05 level of significance have been formulated to guide the study:
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY: The world of today is driven by technology. Technology has reduced the whole world to a global village in which information and communication are no longer limited by distance and time. Due to outbreak of technology we have e-learning, e-banking, e-treatment and e-diagnoses of diseases, e-mail, e-buying/purchasing and e-business. One would therefore expect that technology should be utilized in mathematics education whose advancement is of serious concern to all in the society.
This study is significant to the students, teachers, school administrators, researchers, government and the entire society.
The students will benefit from this study in the sense that they will have better and more lively ways of being taught mathematics, a subject which they cannot do without. This study is aimed at generating interest, reducing boredom and improving performance of students in mathematics. One must accept that what students gain in school depend much on the quality of their teachers. Since the study is to improve teacher training programme, the students are the best beneficiaries of high quality teachers who are trained for them. Effective use of ICT by the teachers will reduce abstraction in mathematics and make mathematics more enjoyable and applicable to students.
ICT will assist mathematics teachers in the management of overcrowded classroom. Lessons taught can be stored, retrieved and replayed by students who were not well attended to during instruction. Assignments can be given electronically and the teacher will use the opportunity to attend to the students of various intellectual levels. ICT helps the teachers to attend to many students within a short time. ICT exposes to the teachers various teaching and learning techniques which are used in instruction in various parts of the world. Through the online mode such as the internet and the offline mode, such as the CD ROM or DVD, the teachers can have access to pedagogical practices in other parts of the world. This will doubtlessly help them in improving their methods and techniques of teaching. Selection of appropriate content and instructional materials suitable for their classes are possible through ICT.
ICT enables researchers in mathematics education carry out suitable researches which improve teachers’ performance. Today, teaching of mathematics is gradually heading towards child-centered learning instead of teacher-centered. Though this movement is slow in the developing countries of the world such as Nigeria, it is expected to proceed faster through the use of ICT which this study advocates. So the child-centered learning methods stipulated mainly by the constructivists’ theorists are practically appreciated by the teachers through training on ICT. Other modern methods and techniques of teaching and learning such as mathematics modeling, cooperative learning, contextual learning, and work based learning, ethno mathematics learning strategies, laboratory instructional strategies and concept mapping strategies are promoted and practicalized through the use of ICT resources. Therefore integration of ICT package into the mathematics teacher-education programme will make teachers remain relevant in the 21st Century and beyond.
ICT leads to outbreak of researches in mathematics education. These researches have a way of assisting both the pre-service teachers and the serving teachers in the field.
The school administrators such as the principals, headmistresses and heads of department in higher institutions and ministries of education will benefit when ICT is used in the classroom. ICT is associated with speed and accuracy. With ICT the problem of time management will be sorted out by these administrators. ICT will also assist them in the management of educational resources such as material and human resources. The administrators will also be able to monitor the progress of work in various school subjects at a faster rate.
Some of today’s pre-service teachers will be researchers in mathematics education in the future. Integration of ICT in their programme of training will doubtlessly make them ICT compliant and literate. This will make them good researchers and resource persons in dealing with mathematics education issues. With ICT, the researchers will de-emphasize the obsolete areas of research and focus on the much needed modern research for improvement in the system.
Government is the institution set up by the society to manage its resources and provide services for the well being of the citizens. Government cannot be said to be doing well in its duty when its citizens are behind in mathematics education.
The use of ICT in the classroom is a major challenge to various governments of developing countries. Integration of ICT in the classroom will take the citizens and the country to the favourable side of the digital divide. By so doing there will be greater investment in ICT leading to improvement in foreign exchange earning. ICT use in the classroom will help future school leavers become entrepreneurs in software development and thereby be no longer job seekers but job creators which is the much needed objective of the government in modern day education in the era of massive unemployment.
The Universal Basic Education has made education free and compulsory for all citizens in the country. Integration of ICT in the classroom means that the government is making all its citizens to be literate in ICT in the near future. This is the very way of positioning the country as one of the technologically advanced nations by the year 2030.The voters will rate the government high when they see ICT implemented in the classroom setting. This is because previous governments have been paying leap service to the issue which is much desired in this information age. ICT implementation in the classroom will lead to high political debate for any government which will support its implementation.
Closely related to the government is the entire society. In the modern world, a society cannot claim to be literate if majority of its citizens are not literate in ICT. With implementation of ICT in the classroom, the society will be producing well informed citizenry who have knowledge of the world and who can benefit the society. ICT will help the society to achieve very high literacy level in education. This is because ICT can deliver education to many irrespective of distance, time and number of teachers. Today, many of the society’s citizens do not have access to qualitative education. ICT usage in the classroom will produce well informed citizenry who will contribute to the political, social and economic prosperity of the society. Then will we have leisure for many and poverty for few.
1.7 Scope of the Study: The study will be carried out in south east zone of Nigeria among mathematics education students of all levels. This is because the student teachers are expected to teach mathematics with ICT upon graduation. The institutions to be used are universities, colleges of education and teacher training institutes in the zone.
1.8 Definition of terms
Integration of ICT: It is making computer and non-computer hardware and software as part of mathematics teaching and learning materials.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT): This is the combination of computer and non-computer hardwares and softwares for the purpose of teaching and learning.
Pre-service Teachers: Pre-service teachers are student teachers who are studying mathematics education in universities, colleges of education and teacher-training institutes.
Teacher Education programme: This is a programme which student teachers are to undergo as they prepare to become mathematics teachers upon graduation.
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