ACCESSIBILITY AND USE OF INTERNET AS A SOURCE OF INFORMATION FOR ACADEMIC WORKS BY PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS
This study investigated accessibility use of internet as a source of information for academic work by public school teachers in Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria. Descriptive survey design was adopted and purposive sampling was used to select a sample of 169 respondents, questionnaire was the main instrument used for data collection. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, consisting of tables, percentages and mean statistics. The main findings revealed that public school teachers do not have internet facilities in their schools and they access the internet through their personal computers, smart phones and cyber café. Findings also revealed that public school teachers consult the internet to form lesson note, do academic research/personal research, get news and information, communicate via email and social media. They also agreed that internet services have impact on them through access to information anytime and anywhere, to increase the opportunity for scholarly communication with colleagues as well as improve their lesson note. Lack of internet services/connectivity in the school, poor electricity supply, poor funding of school library services (internet services) were the major challenges the respondents faced when using internet services and facilities. The study recommended the public school managements should provide adequate internet facilities in public schools and also make them accessible to public school teachers.
1.1 Background of the Study
The convergence of computer and telecommunication has revolutionized information management in the present day information environment. One of the products of this myriad of convergence is the birth of the Internet. In the process of trying to make information available to information seekers and users in the past few years, Internet has become the major source of information. This is so, considering the strategic importance of Internet in information retrieval. The world over have been availed the opportunity of Internet in the enhancement of knowledge and research. The invention of the Internet and on-line information search engines, among others have made this possible. Yusuf (2005) assert that the field of education has been affected by internet access, which has undoubtedly affected teaching, learning, and research. Education is a fundamental human process; a matter of values and action. The cluster of technologies called the “Internet” has the ability to complement, reinforce, and to enhance the educational process.
The internet is a vast global network that links millions of computers ranging from the smallest handheld personal mobile digital assistants to the most powerful computer systems ever constructed. The power of the internet is that it allows a worldwide community comprising millions of people to communicate, access, and publish information. People are using the internet to gain access to libraries throughout the world, aid in research projects and cross-cultural studies, solve school assignments, and enhance foreign language skills, and simply exchange ideas and studies with their peers. The internet has become a global cultural phenomenon; tens of millions of people have access to the system. It is of the same magnitude as television was in its early years and is the most powerful current trend for societal change. According to Dowlin (2001), opines that “participation in the internet collapses geography and time”. The cost is independent of distance and the information is accessed in real or virtual time with little delay. However, Internet is not self dependent but a network itself. One needs computer or an enabled mobile phone to access the information and other multimedia resources through the internet. Therefore, because of the countless benefits from using the internet especially the educational value, schools now acquire computer systems with telecommunication tools to have access to the internet.
The Internet can be used to source information or for research by browsing the World Wide Web (www) using the Uniform resource locator (URL) to access databases provided electronically by information providers. E-mails can be sent and received; chats and discussion can be conducted in addition to the transaction of e-commerce. In line with this, Anyokoha,(2005) assert that the internet which is usually called information superhighway is simply the interconnectivity of computers that provide a wide range of information in all facets of human endeavors to end-users. Teachers need Internet because of its flexibility and dynamism in information retrieval, storage and processing. Internet is very important to public school teachers because they need to have access to timely, accurate and relevant information for their teaching and research.
Internet sources like the search engines have greatly increased the speed of searching out information. They have brought considerable relief to teachers in secondary school, as they can conveniently walk and browse lessons and discussion and have access to unlimited information. According to Ejizu (2010), the Internet is a global network made up of many smaller networks that enable computer users to share information and resources quickly and easily. The above definition implies that the Internet is a connection of millions of computers around the globe such that one of the connected computers could have access to any information stored in these computers within the global village. One may also describe the Internet as a tool that connects various types of computers to one another in a way that a computer on the Internet can communicate and share information with other computers in the network of networks, even though there may be no direct physical connection between them.
The Internet is very useful to public school teachers’ especially in Nigeria because it enables them to have access to timely, accurate and relevant information that can be used for their lesson According Owolabi (2007) maintains that the Internet has become the market place for learning and online education. Contributing to this, Ojedokun (2001) points out that the Internet has broken down barriers of communication and information access from any part of the World and that it allows users to have access to information and offers them opportunity to access up-to-date research. Due to the endless nature of information resources on the Internet, schools and libraries are increasingly investing in provision of Internet services and resources to enable their clients have better access to their information.
Furthermore, with the current interest in creating a society of lifelong learners, it is evident that public school teachers (that is, those persons who provide education for pupils) must be able to find, evaluate, and use information that is constantly changing. According to Berkowitz (2002) reports that information and technology skills are the ‘new basics’ and being able to find and use information more effectively is essential to the success of teachers in public school. The Internet brought about a free flow of information all over the globe. One could possibly get access to any kind of information on almost everything. There have been several important observations on the changes in the way information is accessed since the advent of the Internet. Information on the other hand can be defined as facts, ideas, signs, symbols, pictures and processed data which when received and understood can improve the knowledge state of the receiver in a given situation or phenomenon. The fact is that for information to be useful it must be accessible.
Accessibility is a key aspect of usage and can be refers to the ability to use a product or service effectively. In the internet parlance, internet access is the process that enables individuals to connect to the internet using computers and mobile device. Hicks (2002), concludes that the Internet is a double-edged sword, as students can use it to access any educational database, learn about any country, they can also be subjected to perverse and deviant topics. Once connected user gain access to information. The use of the internet entails the process of utilizing the information resource on the internet. In line with this, Oketunji (2001) asserts that Internet gives us access to a vast wealth of knowledge and access to tools that facilitate research. The Internet offers the opportunity to conduct remote classes, allow access to remote libraries, and create an environment innovative and cooperative learning experiences. Internet has become an important and reliable tool for information retrieval. Once connected to the internet, it is possible to access a wide range of services from around the world. This is so as the advent of internet, teachers and students can work together without physical interaction between each other and achieve the same objectives with that of traditional way of studying. Teachers exchange ideas and communicate effectively since teaching, learning and research is now made easy with the internet.
It is pertinent to note that effective teaching is essential for effective learning. The process of teaching has become more complex of late such that computer and internet literacy play significant roles in education. According to Schneider, Evans and Pinard, (2006) opines that in Today world, the Internet can link all online computers so that people can use it to communicate throughout the world. Due to internet illiteracy of some teachers because of the educational level still pride themselves as being internet literate, the fact still remains that some are yet to acclimatize with the internet. In this context the study focused on finding the access and use of internet as a source of information for academic works by public school teachers.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It has been observed in this contemporary information age that the Internet has increasingly become an invaluable asset in education in terms of learning, teaching and research. Its role in information handling, packaging, storing, retrieving and dissemination is at the root of any meaningful academic enterprise all over the world. The Internet is now prominent in making information and data available to researchers. However, Due to internet illiteracy of some teachers and because of their educational background/level still pride themselves as being internet literate, the fact still remains that some are yet to acclimatize with the internet, In line with this, Kilimci Songül (2010), assert that teachers might find it difficult to use ICT in their classrooms due to the rapid technological development and lack of knowledge/experience of and familiarity with ICT. It is quite regrettable that despite the numerous advantages of internet, most teachers do not know how to search or to get the right information in the course of their academic work. Most often, even to synthesize and analyze the information becomes a nightmare to some teachers. The inability of teachers to overcome these problems automatically makes it impossible to explore the potentials of the Internet. Hence, it becomes imperatives to find out the accessibility and use of Internet as source of information for academic works by public school teachers in Esan-west local Government, Ekpoma, Edo state.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The major objective of this study is the accessibility and use of internet as a source of information for academic works by public school teachers in Ekpoma, Edo State.
The specific objectives for the study are to:
- Find out if Public school teachers have access to the internet.
- Determine the extent of Internet use by Public school teachers.
- Investigate the purpose of using of Internet by Public school teachers for their academic work.
- Find out the impact of internet use on public school teachers.
- Find out the challenges encountered by public school teachers when using the Internet services for their academic work.
1.4 Research Questions
The following are the research questions which will be address in the study;
- How often do public school teachers access the internet to support their academic work?
- To what extent do Public school teachers use the Internet?
- What is the purpose of using Internet by Public school teachers?
- What is the impact of internet use by public school teachers?
- What are the challenges encountered using the Internet by Public school teachers for their academic work?
1.5 Scope of Study
This study will be limited to investigating internet as source of information for academic work by public school teachers in ten selected public schools in Ekpoma, Edo state.
1.6 Significant of the Study
This study is expected to enlighten and broaden the knowledge of public school teachers on how effective of using internet as a source of information and incorporating the findings into the teaching process.
The study will also be helpful to school administration, government agencies, ministry of education and policy makers as it will enable them to realize the use of Internet in education and thus work towards reflecting it in their educational policies and programs. Also, it will serve as a framework and guideline to them in establishing effective Internet network and maintain the existing ones to enable the teachers have easily access to the Internet.
Finally, the study will help future researchers’ study as it will go a long way in making them realize the need for further studies in this area and will form a bedrock for further studies. Also this study will add to the existing literature in the field and also serve as a guide for researcher who wishes to carry out further research in related areas.
1.7 Limitation of Study
It is pertinent to say no research is perfect. Although conscious efforts have been made to ensure that the data collected was valid and findings reliable. Nevertheless, there could be some sources of errors prior to financial and time constraint, and also the literature and tools used in carrying out this research work was not easy to come by.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
The under- listed terms are used in the research work in the sense, in which they are defined here under;
Internet: a network of linked computers which are located at different point all over the world to provide easy communication between persons and organizations no matter where they are located.
Internet use: the utilization of the internet.
Web: a form of a multimedia system of sound, pictures, files, videos for finding information in the internet.
Public school: a school supported by public funds.
Teacher: a person who provides education for pupils or students. They teach specific area of study.
Information: data, presented in readily comprehensible form to which meaning has been attributed within a context for it uses.
Accessibility: the ability to have or access something in order to use it for one self.
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