The twenty first century is the threshold that leads educationists to divert from the traditional classroom initiatives to new initiatives that make the classroom learning situations more dynamic. One of these initiatives is the use of instructional materials. Teachers committed to instructional materials help their students develop personal learning plans, assist in diagnosing their cognitive strengths and weaknesses and other style characteristics, help adapt the learning environment and instruction to learners’ needs and interests, and mentor authentic and reflective learning experiences for their students. But the use of instructional materials in schools is not encouraging. As a result, it makes the morale and interest of the students in networking in computer science low. The question now is, to what extent does the use of instructional materials affect learning and students achievement in computer science as regards networking in secondary schools. This research investigated the phenomenon. Quasi-experimental research procedure was employed, and a sample of 200 hundred students was drawn from five selected school. The result showed that instructional material has a significant effect in the teaching and learning of networking in computer science in secondary schools. The findings revealed that teachers’ method or technique in the use of instructional material has no effect in the academic performance of students in the subject.
1.1 Background of the Study
Ever since ancient times, people have devised various techniques for communicating their thoughts, needs and desires to others. The twenty first century is the threshold that leads educationists to divert from the traditional classroom initiatives to new initiatives that make the classroom learning situations more dynamic. One of these initiatives is the use of instructional materials. Teachers committed to instructional materials help their students develop personal learning plans, assist in diagnosing their cognitive strengths and weaknesses and other style characteristics, help adapt the learning environment and instruction to learners’ needs and interests, and mentor authentic and reflective learning experiences for their students (Keefe and Jenkins, 2000).
Concomitantly, students’ search for understanding motivates them to learn better. When students want to know more about an idea, a topic, or an entire discipline, they put more cognitive energy into classroom investigations and discussions and study more on their own (Brooks and Brooks, 1999).
Thus, the elements of the teaching-learning process must be flexible yet interactive in a constructive learning environment. The success of the teaching-learning process depends on the input given by the teacher, the student and the learning environment. Iquin (1993) and Bautista (2005) claimed that the new type of teaching materials as well as new classroom procedures calls for an alert type of the teacher whose role includes a follow up of the learning made by his students.
Many research findings have shown that Secondary School Students exhibit dwindling interest in science subjects (Esiobu 2005). Afuwape and Olatoye (2004) cited by Oludipe (2011) reported that researches on the reasons for the lack of interest in science among students included: lack of qualified teachers, lack of practical works, insufficient allotment of time for practical on the school time-table and poor method of teaching, non/poor use of instructional materials etc. These he maintained were among the major factors militating against the successful implementation of the core curriculum in computer science.
In view of the foregoing, this study is an attempt to communicate the contemporary initiatives in a dynamic classroom environment. It focuses on learning the history of learners including their learning styles, and the culture of collegiality in the learning environment. It presents the constructive learning environment as a mitigating factor in the development of a sound culture of learning and development in the course; teacher-coach-adviser and peer-mentor, and an implementation of flexible scheduling and pacing using authentic assessment of students’ learning (Jenkins et al., 2005).
It is in this context that the teacher’s role in facilitating learning is significantly desirable because a teacher who is aware of his role in the teaching-learning process does not only depend on the printed words in books. Rather, he designs his own activities and supplementary materials. He is expected to equip his students with instructional materials that contain the most effective and constructive ways to develop skills and enrich their learning (Bautista, 2008).
There is a growing body of knowledge emphasizing that individuals are embedded in their societies. Thus, the related social structure, though sometimes invisible, is often associated with instrumental outcomes, including power (Brass, 1988) innovation (Ibarra, 1993), learning outcomes (Baldwin, 1997), and job performance (Sparrowe, 2001). In a university course, Guldner and Stone-Winestock (1995) empirically demonstrated that appropriate arrangement of groups according to each student’s position in the use of instructional material might increase the student’s academic performance.
An instructional material permits greater learner interactivity and promotes learners’ efficiency, motivation, cognitive effectiveness, and flexibility of learning style. Learning is a deeply personal experience: we learn because we want to learn. By enabling learners to be more active participants, a well-designed learning experience can motivate them to become more engaged with the content. Instructional learning shifts the focus from a passive, teacher-centered model to one that is active and learner centered, offering a stronger learning stimulus. Interactivity helps to maintain the learner’s interest and provides a means for individual practice and reinforcement. Evidence suggests that instructional material is more efficient because learners gain knowledge, skills, and attitudes faster than through traditional instructor-led methods. This efficiency is likely to translate into improved motivation and performance (Olojo et al., 2012).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The use of instructional materials in schools is not encouraging. As a result, it makes the morale and interest of the students in networking in computer science low. This is because teachers adopt the verbalistic and theoretical method as a way of teaching and learning the subject, mainly due to non- availability of instructional material in schools. The question now is, to what extent does the use of instructional materials affect learning and students achievement in computer science as regards networking in secondary schools.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to determine the effects of instructional materials in the teaching and learning of networking on the academic performance of students in computer science in secondary schools.
Specifically the study would:
- examine the effect of instructional materials on students’ academic performance in the teaching and learning of networking in computer science
- evaluate the effect of teacher’s method in the use of instructional materials on students’ academic performance
1.4 Research Questions
- To what extend do instructional materials affect students’ academic performance?
- Do teacher’s methods and techniques in the use of instructional material affect students’ performance in the study?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
: There is no significant effect of instructional material in the teaching and learning of networking in the academic achievement of the students in computer science
: There is no significant difference in the effect of the instructional materials on students’ academic performance as regard teachers’ method and techniques
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study is mostly significant to the development of constructive approaches to assist students develop better academic achievement. It shall also provide bases for elaborating the communication approach responsive to the need for “more penetrating theories of mathematical thinking and learning in science” since the cognitively oriented science of thinking and the dynamic learning need to be harmonized with various theories of interactions and discourses of the teaching – learning process. This study will have the possibility of enhancing student contact and will be used by teachers to improve student participation in class, particularly where introverted students are involved.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study covers the secondary schools in Makurdi Local Government Area of Benue State. The major emphasis is on the teachers and students of Computer Science classes. The study also revolves around the instructional materials being used by the teachers in the teaching and learning process.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
- Instructional material – An educational resource used to improve student knowledge, abilities, and skills, to monitor their assimilation of information, and to contribute to their overall development and upbringing.
- Networking – the act of linking computers so that users can exchange information or share access to a central store of information.