THE EFFECT OF COMPUTER USAGE ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
During the last two decades education institutions have invested heavily in information and communication technologies (ICT) particularly computers. The use of computers has had a major impact in the secondary school context, and in teaching and learning methods (Ema and Ajayi, 2006). One puzzling question is the effective impact of these computers usage on student achievement and on the returns of education. Many academic researchers have tried to answer this question at the theoretical and empirical levels. According to Anyanwu (2003), they have faced two main difficulties.
On one hand, student performance is hard to observe and there is still confusion about its definition. On the other hand, computer is evolving technologies and their effects are difficult to isolate from their environment. There is no standard definition for student achievement. The standard approach focuses on achievement and curricula, how students understand the subjects and obtain their certificate or their marks. However, a more extensive definition deals with competencies, skills and attitudes learned through the education experience (Kamba, 2009). The narrow definition allows the observation of the outcomes of any change in secondary education, while the more extensive definition needs a more complex strategy of observation and a focus on the labour market. The outcomes of education are mainly validated in the higher institutions. The effect of computer usage on learning is currently in relation to the internet to facilitate teaching
and learning. Computers are the technologies used in conveying, manipulation and storage of data by electronic means, they provide an array of powerful tools that may help in transforming the present isolated teacher-centered and text-bound classrooms into rich, student-focused, interactive knowledge environments (Ogunsola, 2005). To meet these challenges, secondary schools must embrace the new technologies and appropriate computer use for learning. The relationship between the use of computer and student performance in secondary schools is not clear, and there are contradictory results in the literature. Earlier economic research has failed to provide a clear consensus concerning the effect on students’ achievement (Kamba, 2009). Since student performance is mainly explained by a student’s characteristics, educational environment and teachers’ characteristics, the use of computers may have an impact on these determinants and consequently the outcome of education.