1.1     Background to the Study

The rate at which Information and Communication Technology utilization is integrating into the world is such that only nations and countries that are committed to ICT will compete in the present day global market. The 21th century learners have been describe as the neat generation leaner who is a digital native (Enwereuzo and Obiefuna, 2012). This because the 21st century learner deemed to have formal access to computer enabled technology. These learners play video games, watch television, send text messages and e-mails and pay little or no attention to reading their text books. Oblinger (2004) in a research findings confirmed the assertion and noted that digital natives, by the age of 21 years will have spent 10,000 hours playing video games, sent 200,000 emails, used 20,000 hours in watching television, spent 10,000 hours on cell phone but less than 5000 hours in reading. This to a great extent will affect their performances in schools unless their new interest were adequately channelled and integrated in their academics.

To meet up with the rapid scientific progress in technology it requires the presence of well-trained, efficient, knowledgeable and skillful teachers who are versatile in discharging their duties and responsibility Buseri (2010). The persistent poor performance of student in science subjects at School Certificate level and the studies by Achor (2003); Umoren and Ogong (2007); Ogbeba (2009) has given rise to an assumption that most science teachers in secondary schools in Nigeria probably do not make use of varying form of teaching strategies to be able to cope with some specific difficulties associated with the teaching of science. In order words, it implies that teachers are knowledgeable in science content but not in pedagogical aspects. Ezeliora (2004), pointed that most of the time, science is taught to the learners using descriptive or lecture method instead of hands- on approach.

Biology learning in real life context is necessary for personal development and also, the development of scientific and technological world. The use of multiple and relevant learning and teaching strategies, and assessment practices will provide a basis for this. In any research work in Biology Education, more attention is placed on science education; this is because biology is one of the various subjects that explain science and also in Nigeria, biology is the general basic science subject. In an attempt to ensure result oriented biology delivery in schools, Akubuilo (2004) suggested the use of activity-oriented strategies such as guided-inquiry, cooperative learning, demonstration, thinks and do, use of analogy and many others. Thus, research in Science Education in Nigeria has continued to seek better ways of teaching biology in order to improve academic performance of students (Okebukola, 1998).

A teaching strategy is a carefully designed classroom interaction that could be meticulously followed to teach a concept, topic or an idea. This brings out the idea of having numerous strategies. An innovative approach is referred to a design that is full of new or purposively reconstructed existing ideas. This explanation means the use of new or reconstructed existing ideas, methods and equipment or to combine various teaching strategies to develop a new one. Innovation in science education is increasingly needed in order to foster greater scientific literacy. Results from science education researches and the additional technological resources now available are contributing to a change of views with regard to the content, teaching/learning processes and methods and the role of teachers in science classes. Challenging new ways of teaching and learning are becoming available, but can only be implemented when teachers feel faithful to adopting them.

The awareness of computer enabled technology in Nigeria and the use of ICT are very recent but fast spreading. Youth and children have access to computer which is located in several parts of the urban cities. Most of these outfits are observed to reader assistance to their users on the use of the new technologies. The main objective of national computer education (1998) is to ensure that the general populace appreciates the impact of information and Communication Technology (ICT). Also, one of the innovation and changes that necessitated the 4th edition of the National policy on education was the introduction of ICT into the school system (National Policy on Education, 2004).

The policy stipulated that government shall provide necessary infrastructure and training for integrating ICT into the school system. Materials used for ICT teaching and learning are educational robots, multimedia projectors, teleconferencing devices, video phone systems, online library, computer laboratories, etc. In this modern era of educational research, one must have knowledge of the use of computer in teaching and learning. Nwana (2008) pointed out that computer literacy involves operating a computer on daily basis to solve problems or perform tasks, browsing the internet and using e-mail, reading computer pamphlets, textbook, etc.

Teachers are said to gain extensive experience of successful and unsuccessful performances throughout their years of teaching, this assumption has generated in-depth research into how teachers who have been involved in teaching for different period of time perceive their teaching (Soodak & Podell, 1997; Fives & Lisa 2008; Fives, 2010). It has been argued that experience improves teaching skills while pupils learn better at the hands of teachers who have taught them continuously over a period of years (Ijaiya, 2000). Teachers‟ teaching qualification is another quality of the teacher. This means that the qualification of a teacher matters when it comes to effective teaching. The availability of adequate and qualified science teachers cannot be compromised for the success of any science programme. It has been commented that, however well conceived a programme is, however valid the theory that underlies it, and whatever the objectives of the plan are, will be determined by the nature, quality, attitudes, motivation and convictions of the classroom teacher (Obomanu & Akporehwe, 2011).

1.2     Statement of the Problem

Education is considered to be the most appropriate and fastest vehicle for the planned transformation of any society (Jegede, Lagoke & Oyebanji 1995). Despite the importance of science to mankind, the effort of researchers to improve its teaching and learning, as well as it being the general science subject, students’ performance in biology compared to the other pure science subjects taught in Nigeria remains low. This observable problem has been blamed on a number of factors, namely, inadequate teachers, inadequate material resources, lack of using effective methodology for the teaching of the subject in secondary schools etc. Further, it has been observed based on previous studies that the present methods used in teaching science in general and biology in particular in Nigeria secondary schools do not produce maximum result (Maduabum, 1994; Okebukola, 1998).

        There have been various studies by researchers of Biology education on the various innovative teaching strategies like, problem solving, field trips, individualism, cooperative learning, use of analogy, constructivism, computer assisted instruction, inquiry, among others and how they can be used to improve the teaching and learning of science in general and biology in particular, examples of such researchers are Olatoye & Adekoya (2009), Yusuf & Adedeji (2010), Oludipe & Oludipe (2010) among others. Most of these researchers studied on the effectiveness of these strategies, some compared these strategies with conventional methods, Olatoye & Adekoya (2010) etc. without examining the awareness of in-service teachers on the existence of these strategies, their level of awareness and the degree of application of the ones they are aware of. Thus, this study was set out to investigate biology teachers‟ awareness and utilization of innovative teaching strategies in public schools in Oyo South senatorial district, Nigeria.

        Samba, Achor and Ogbeba (2010), examined science teachers awareness and utilization of 19 innovative teaching strategies in Benue State, but the variables involved were: age, teaching experience and profession and is different from this study as this involved only biology teachers and took into consideration teachers‟ gender, teaching experience and qualification. Khurshid & Zahur (2013) compared the awareness and utilization of 16 innovative teaching strategies in Private and public sector schools in Islamabad, the variables they took into consideration included teachers‟ gender, age, teaching experience and professional qualification. The study did not specify on any particular subject, and was generally compared to this study which was specifically on Biology teaching at senior secondary level.

1.3  Research Objectives

The general objective of this study is to examine teachers’ awareness and utilization of ICT facilities in teaching Biology in Osun State. The specific objectives are:

i)            To examine the level of awareness of secondary school teachers on the use of ICT for teaching Biology among secondary school teachers in Osun State.

ii)          To understand the importance of the use of ICT for teaching Biology among secondary school teachers in Osun State.

iii)        To study the teachers’ role in the use of ICT for teaching Biology among secondary school teachers in Osun State.

1.4  Research Questions

The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:

i)            What is the level of awareness of secondary school teachers on the use of ICT for teaching Biology among secondary school teachers in Osun State?

ii)          How relevant is the use of ICT for teaching Biology among secondary teachers in Osun state?

iii)        What are the roles of teachers in the use of ICT for teaching Biology among secondary school teachers in Osun State?

1.5  Research Hypotheses

The followings are the research hypotheses to be tested in this study:

i)            There is no significant difference between teachers’ awareness and level of ICT utilization in teaching Biology.

ii)          There is no significant difference in the teachers’ awareness of the value of use of ICT between schools with ICT facilities and those that are lacking ICT facilities.

1.6  Significance of Study

This study would provide science educators and government with detailed information about the actual picture of biology teaching, biology learning, and effective ways of improving the situation. It provides information on different innovative strategies that can be used to improve biology teaching and learning in senior secondary schools in Nigeria.

The results of this investigation will probably be of great help to students in learning and acquiring knowledge or skills in Biology since it focuses on modern methods of teaching what would have been abstract ideas. It would be of benefit to teaching as it would make the teachers to be more aware of the innovative strategies that can be used to improve and make teaching process more efficient and effective. It may influence teachers‟ decision on strategies they can use to teach different topics effectively.

This investigation may be of benefit in teachers’ education as it provides teachers educators with the actual picture of science education generally and biology education in particular, it makes them to be aware of various innovative strategies that can be used to teach effectively, thereby enabling them to produce highly innovative teachers, who will be able determine and use the strategies that best suit the topics and concepts they are to teach when in service.

        This study might help in the area of curriculum development by influencing the decision of the curriculum developers to introduce the innovative strategies at the initial stage of educational process. In the area of educational research, this study may be of relevance as it encourages further research into the study for future researchers who would pursue studies similar to this. Lastly this study is hoped to influence the education policy of the government to giving room for development of new educational policies that will help in increasing the quality of education in the Nation at large.

1.7  Scope of the Study

The study will be carried out among Biology teachers of selected secondary schools in Osun State.

1.8  Limitation of the Study

This study had some limitations which include the problem of diverse coverage of locations of the organizations as they are spread around the country. There was also the problem of time and uncompromising attitudes of some respondents encountered during the study as some respondents refused to fill the questionnaire while some respondents were not available to answer the questions despite several visits.

1.9  Definition of Terms

The following terms were used during the cause of the study

Awareness: This is biology teachers‟ knowledge on the existence of innovative teaching strategies.

Innovative strategies: These are generalized plans for lessons that result in a transformative educational experience for the students. Innovative approach is a design that is full of new or purposively reconstructing existing ideas.

Qualified Biology Teachers: These are biology teachers in secondary schools with relevant academic qualification which must include at least: Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Science Education (biology) or B. Sc. (Biology) & PGDE.

Utilization: This is the act of putting innovative strategies to use in the teaching of biology in secondary schools.