1.1 Background to the Study
Teaching Computer Studies is something more than an instructional activity to transmit content knowledge in the curriculum to students. The practice of Computer Studies needs to be proactive and relevant to the context that we live in today so that students are better prepared for the changes and challenges in the present and the future (Kolosto, 2001). It is essential that teaching Science nurtures and supports high order thinking skills, inquiry skills, critical thinking skills, creativity and problem solving. Learning science is complex, this is due to its content which includes abstractions, difficult ideas, laws and theoretical entities that cannot be seen or handled. As a matter of fact, much of science learning is concerned with understanding largely invisible processes that cannot be easily observed as they may be too small, too slow or on too large at scale (Wishart, 2014).This is why we need to teach science in a way that ensures these processes are understood to all students.
While using several visualizations (e.g. drawing on the blackboard or the overhead acetate) could be useful for naming the components and providing a rough approximation of their relative orientation at the beginning of a process, this approach is not effective when we attempt to illustrate how these molecules or structures interact (McClean, P, et al. , 2004).The most effective visualizations reveal the complexity of the objects involved in the process, illustrate how and where the objects interact, provide a spatial representation of the concept during the process, and smoothly represent the transitional states the objects undergo during the length of the process. High quality, 3D representations have all of these attributes. Animations have been included in educational technologies as early as the 1980s. They are used for a variety of reasons across a whole range of topics, for example, they can show the flux of high and low pressure areas in a weather map, the shifting movements of the continents, display blood pumping around the heart, or represent invisible processes such as the movement of molecules (Ainsworth, 2008).
The value of Animation appears to be associated with the dual-coding theory which suggests that long-term memory retention is facilitated by a combination of verbal and visual cues. As such, animations are valuable aids in supporting the visual aspects of long-term memory. Furthermore, by combining narration and animation, dual coding is further supported (Mayer and Anderson, 1992). It is through active processing of the visual and verbal pathways that students construct mental modules, these mental models are incorporated within student’s prior knowledge, so that meaningful learning occurs. It is through this active meaningful learning that students achieve better outcomes in different levels of cognitive domains (Kasaji, 2010).
While reasons why animations can help students come to understand complex ideas more easily varies, e.g. they are more motivating (Rieber, 1991), and they can communicate ideas and processes that change over time which reduces the abstractions associated with the temporal transitions of the process (Rieber, 1994). Some researchers suggest that animations of events may be ineffective because animations violate the second principle of good graphics, the Apprehension Principle, according to which graphics should be accurately perceived and appropriately conceived (Tversky and Morrison, 2002). On the other hand (Lowe, 2003)raised questions about the widely assumed intrinsic superiority of animations over static graphics as resources for learning, he said that animations required selective processing that involved perceptually driven dynamic effects analogous to the field–ground effects associated with the visuospatial characteristics of static graphics.
While Computer is an important as of human application, research says that student’s performance in the subject has, however, been very poor, different reasons that included that some of the concepts are difficult, abstract and include phenomena that are not physically observable (Aremu & Sangodoyin, 2010). Other reason why students may have difficulty with the concepts is because these concepts require students to visualize and think about computer processes at the practical level, and students struggle to visualize the complexities underlying the most essential practical processes.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The challenge of students’ performance has been the focus of many researchers in the field of Computer education. This is due to the poor performance of Computer students at the senior secondary school level. The reason adduced for the fluctuations in the performance of students in Computer Study by many researchers include lack of exposure to practical lessons, lack of interest in the study and learning of computer, inadequately qualified teachers, irregularities of attendance to lessons by the teachers, abstractness of Computer, lack of understanding of certain computer concepts and terminologies on the students’ part. Insufficient library and laboratory facilities, inadequacy of computers in the schools, overpopulation of students are identified factors (Auwalu Mohd & Muhammad, 2014; Ahmed & Abimbola, 2011; Nzelum, 2010; Kareem, 2003).
Many research results have revealed that most of the problems secondary school Computer students encounter is from practical Computer. Specifically, WAEC Chief Examiners’ reports (2015) showed that the performance of Science students in which Computer Studies is not left out in practical is on the decline, and the primary causes of the poor performance are the lack of Computer laboratory equipment and lack of lessons on practical activities.
Therefore, this study determined the effects of computer animation instructional package on senior secondary school students’ achievement in Computer Studies in Nigeria.
1.3 Research Objectives
The main objective of this study is to determine the effect of animation on senior secondary school students’ achievement and retention of computer studies in Nigeria. The specific objectives are:
i) To examine the difference in the academic performance of Computer students exposed to computer animation instructional package and those who are not exposed to computer animation instructional package when taught practical Computer Studies
ii) To determine the difference in the achievement of male and female students taught Computer Studies using computer animation instructional package
iii) To find out the retention of learning of students taught Computer Studies with Computer Assisted Instruction and those taught using conventional teaching methods
1.4 Research Questions
The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:
i) What is the difference in the academic performance of Computer students exposed to computer animation instructional package and those who are not exposed to computer animation instructional package when taught practical Computer Studies?
ii) What is the difference in the achievement of male and female students taught Computer Studies using computer animation instructional package?
iii) What is the retention of learning of students taught Computer Studies with Computer Assisted Instruction and those taught using conventional teaching methods?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were postulated to guide the conduct of this study;
i) There is no significant difference in the achievement of Computer students taught practical Computer using computer animation instructional package and those taught without the package.
ii) There is no significant difference in the achievement of male and female students taught practical Computer using computer animation instructional package.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will benefit Computer students, teachers, curriculum developers as well as the ministry of Education and future researchers. Computer students will benefit from the findings of the study as the use of computers to study the subject will boost their performance and retention. It will also help them to develop more interest and skill in the use of computers which will facilitate the learning acquisition skills. The knowledge of their skill in computers will also help them to make proper career choice based on their capabilities on the use of Computer Assisted Instruction.
The findings will help teachers in choosing an appropriate instructional material capable of releasing students’ tension towards the subject. It will motivate teachers to develop interest towards utilizing modern instructional materials as Computer Assisted Instruction, and selecting suitable teaching methods that will be a possible means towards reducing failure in the teaching and learning of Computer. It will equally help teachers to develop suitable methods for assessing students’ academic performance in Computer. The findings will also sensitize Computer teachers on the benefits of the use of computer as a strategy for teaching and it will have greater effect on the academic performance and retention of the students.
The research findings will as well form another dimension of innovations in the teaching and learning of Computer. Curriculum planners will also benefit from the study, since, the results of the study will assist in curriculum planning such as giving information relating to the teaching and learning of Computer, CAI can be utilized in appropriate strategies of curriculum planning, modification and revision. Curriculum planners will also have knowledge of interaction between gender and instructional approach on students’ achievement and retention. Ministry of Education will benefit by using the findings to organize conferences, workshops and seminars to sensitize and retrain Computer teachers on the use of CAI to improve their teaching. It will help the Ministry of Education to provide computers in secondary schools for teaching of Computer and other subjects in the schools.
Educational researchers and scholars will benefit from the findings of this study as it will provide them with academic literature on the effects of the different instructional techniques used in this study on students’ academic performance and retention of learning in Computer.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study focused on the effect of animation on senior secondary school students’ achievement and retention of computer studies in Nigeria. Among the many topics covered by Secondary School Certificate Examination social studies curriculum of the Federal Ministry of Education (2007), only the physical environment content was covered by this study.