EFFECT OF ICT (INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY) TOOLS ON THE ACADEMIC IMPROVEMENT OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

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EFFECT OF ICT (INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY) TOOLS ON THE ACADEMIC

IMPROVEMENT OF SECONDARY

SCHOOL STUDENTS

A THESIS SUBMITTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MUMBAI

FOR THE PH.D. (ARTS)  DEGREE IN EDUCATION

SUBMITTED BY

SANGEETA NAVEEN SRIVASTAVA

 

UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF

  1. INDU GARG

 

 

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

UNIVERSITY OF MUMBAI

SEPTEMBER 2013

INTRODUCTION

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

Benjamin Franklin

1.1 INTRODUCTION

Education has to be understood as a process or a means towards an end, with the end being human development in search of an improved quality of life. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)1 emphasized that learning is about learning ‘to know’, ‘to be’, and ‘to live together’. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) today has become an integral part of life. The tools of ICT play an important role in the education of child at all levels. Broadly speaking, educators, policy makers and researchers all seem to agree on the potential of ICT to have a significant and positive impact on education. What is still being debated, however, is the precise role ICT should play in educational reform and how best to ensure that potential is fulfilled. ICT and educational reform around the world and its applications are making dramatic changes in economic and social development. These changes are not merely increase in the number of computers in schools but in using and integrating it in the basic teaching methods. Many different types of technology have been used to support and enhance learning. Various technologies deliver different kinds of content and serve different purposes in the classroom. For example, word processing and email promote communication skills, database and spreadsheet programs promote organizational skills and modeling software promotes the understanding of Science and Mathematics. It is important to consider how these electronic technologies differ and what characteristics make them important as vehicles for education. (Becker, 1994)2. Technologies available in the classroom today range from simple tool-based applications such as word processors, to online repositories of scientific data and primary historical documents, to handheld computers, close circuit television channels, and two way distance learning classrooms. Even the cell phones that students now carry with them can be used to learn. (Prensky, 2005)3.

The scene in the country is such that the number of students enrolling for higher Education is very less when compared with the numbers at primary and secondary levels. A majority of these students drop out at primary and secondary level of education itself. This dropout can be arrested if effective and efficient education is imparted at this level. Proper use of technology is capable of achieving this. Government and N.G.O.s have made efforts in this direction. However, according to Elementary Education in India (2010-11)4, published by the Delhi-based National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA), 81.3 percent (1.05 million) of India’s 1.30 million schools even in these times don’t have computers the basic tool for ICT delivery. Of the remaining 18.7 percent (243,000) which have introduced computers to their students, a majority are in the private sector indicating a huge digital divide between private and government schools with the latter having been completely bypassed by the ‘computer-aided learning’ revolution. Inevitably, the situation is better in higher education institutions with the National Mission on ICT in Education (NMEICT), launched in 2009 by the Central government to leverage the potential of ICT for the benefit of all the learners in higher education institutions in any time any where mode, providing internet connectivity to 390 universities and 14,578 colleges countrywide.

A special report by Vimal Joshi and Saumya Yasmeen in Education World (6th July, 2012)5, says, “Although India’s spectacular IT revolution is almost three decades old and has transformed the grammar of Indian industry, the impact of information and communication technology has been much less dramatic. There’s unanimity among the educationists that technology-based solutions are the key to revitalizing India’s education system and making its future generation globally competitive. The challenge is how effectively and quickly digital technologies can be integrated into the education system. A majority of India’s 70,000 plus private schools have invested in some form of digital infrastructure though there are still challenges around availability of integrated platforms and under-utilization of technology.

The challenge of education is delivering quality education to all.  This can be addressed through ICT in a very cost-effective manner. The good news is that the government is focusing on bridging the digital divide through initiatives such as the R.T.E. Act, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and allocation of nearly $ 1 billion in the eleventh plan for the National Mission on Education through ICT. “Moreover,  the recently drafted ‘National Policy on ICT in School Education’ (2012)6 of the Union HRD ministry contains a roadmap for implementing ICT literacy in all schools, and  are hopeful that technology will become a reality in education sooner than later”, says Beas Dev Ralhan, an alumnus of IIT-Bombay and chief executive of Next Education India Pvt. Ltd, a Hyderabad-based education technology company, offering products and services to 4,000 schools countrywide with an aggregate enrolment of 3 million students.

The policy initiative which has buoyed B. D. Ralhan’s optimism was confirmed on June 6, 2012, when at its 59th meeting held in Delhi the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), chaired by Union human resource development (HRD) minister Kapil Sibal, unanimously adopted the ‘National Policy on ICT in School Education’ (NPISE). The policy document circulated to the public for comment in early 2011, envisages the introduction of a phased ICT literacy programme in all primary and secondary schools country-wide within the Eleventh (2007-12) and Twelfth  Plan (2012-17) periods. The Eleventh Plan document allocated Rs.6, 000 crore (up from Rs.1, 000 crore in the Tenth Plan) for this initiative.

During the past five years, every self-respecting state government in the country has jumped onto the ICT bandwagon, buying computers/educational software for its schools from the multiplying number of ICT education vendors. ‘Educomp Solutions Ltd’ (est. 1994), one of the country’s pioneer ICT education corporate, boasts of working with twelve state governments and has recently bagged a Rs.200 crore contract from the Assam government to provide technology to its schools. But it is observed that once purchased, expensive ICT hardware is often locked up in secure strong rooms with neither teachers nor students utilizing it for fear of damage to equipment and/or lack of training.

“New technologies aided education in Karnataka’s government schools exist only at the policy level. In most schools surveyed in the audit, computers were gathering dust in locked rooms adjacent to the headmaster’s office. In others, the computers were rendered useless by the State’s erratic power supply system. Teachers aren’t trained to use ICT, nor do schools employ part-time computer teachers. Children too, are afraid to explore or even play games on computers fearing reprimand. If this is the situation in government schools in the IT city of Bangalore, it’s surely much worse in rural areas. It’s a sorry situation and waste of meager government resources with ICT hardware and software used for status symbol purposes rather than for improving teaching-learning in class-rooms,” says Gangadhara Reddy, the Bangalore-based district coordinator – Social Audit (RTE) of ‘South India Cell for Human Rights, Education and Monitoring’ (SICHREM) 7.

Similarly, in Chennai’s Chettinad Vidyashram, a CBSE-affiliated school, introduction of Educomp’s Smart classroom for classes I-VIII, has helped improve students’ academic performance. “Since we introduced Smart classrooms last year, there’s been a marked improvement in learning outcomes, and students now find it easier to understand concepts through visuals and animation,” says S. Amudhalakshmi, principal of the school.

In the I.C.S.E.-affiliated Gundecha Education Academy, Kandivali, Mumbai, ICT teaching-learning aids are used from preschool to Std. XII. All classrooms are equipped with projectors, television, digital recorders and laptops. Teachers use digital products and technology as supplementary teaching aids. They are the decision-makers and choose what digital content and modules are to be used in the classroom. Their experience with ICT has been very positive, enhancing the overall teaching-learning experience.

Although teacher training is a big challenge, to bridge the digital divide between private and government schools is even bigger. With only a tiny minority of government schools offering ICT, the road ahead to universalizing digital access is long and difficult. We cannot measure India’s ICT-in-education performance by evaluating what’s happening in private schools in urban India. A handful of private schools in the metros providing smart classrooms and tablets to their students are a drop in the ocean.

Meeting the 21st Century Challenge

A widening gap has formed between the knowledge and skills students acquire in majority of schools and the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the increasingly global, technology infused 21st century workplace.

As a first step toward bridging this gap, it is required that every student is technologically literate by the time the student finishes the eighth grade, regardless of the student’s race, ethnicity, gender, family income, geographic location, or disability. This will help the students to brace themselves to meet the challenges of secondary education and then they will be prepared to meet the challenges of higher education. Numerous corporates and nonprofit organizations have prepared policy reports and frameworks describing the need to improve children’s higher-level technology-related skills.

While many different terms have been used to describe what students need, such as digital literacy, technological literacy, and 21st century skills, education leaders, nationally and internationally, are beginning to come together around a new common definition of what students need to know and that is known as information and communication technology (ICT) literacy. It reflects the need for students to develop learning skills that enable them to think critically, analyze information, communicate, collaborate, and problem-solve. This is an essential role that technology could play in realizing these learning skills in today’s knowledge-based society. Representatives of the ICT literacy skills are the following six arenas critical to students’ success in life leading to higher education or work.  (Kay and Honey, 2005)8:

  • Communicate Effectively: Students must have a range of skills to express themselves not only through paper and pencil, but also audio, video, animation, design software as well as a host of new environments (e-mail, Web sites, message boards, blogs, media, word processing, cell phones etc.).
  • Analyze and Interpret Data: Students must have the ability to analyze, compare, and choose from the large amount of data now available in Web-based and other electronic formats.
  • Manage and Prioritize Tasks: Students must be able to manage the multi-tasking, selection, and prioritizing across technology applications that allow them to move fluidly among teams, assignments and communities of practice.
  • Engage in Problem Solving: Students must have an understanding of how to apply what they know and can do to new situations.
  • Ensure Security and Safety: Students must know and use strategies to acknowledge, identify, and negotiate 21st century risks.

Roschelle, Pea, Hoadley, Gordin, and Means (2000)9 identify four fundamental activities of how technology can enhance both what and how children learn in the classroom:
They also indicate that use of technology is more effective as a learning tool when embedded in a broader education reform movement that includes improvements in teacher training, curriculum, student assessment, and a school’s capacity for change.

Different Types of Technology and Their Educational Applications:

Many different types of technology can be used to support and enhance learning. Everything from video content and digital moviemaking to laptop computing and handheld technologies have been used in classrooms, and new uses of technology such as pod casting are constantly emerging.

Various technologies deliver different kinds of content and serve different purposes in the classroom. For example, word processing and e-mail promote communication skills; database and spreadsheet programs promote organizational skills; and modeling software promotes the understanding of Science and Math concepts. It is important to consider how these electronic technologies differ and what characteristics make them important as vehicles for education. Technologies that can be used in classrooms today range from simple tool-based applications (such as word processors) to online repositories of scientific data and primary historical documents, to handheld computers, closed-circuit television channels, and two-way distance learning classrooms. Even the cell phones that many students now carry with them can be used to learn.

Each technology is likely to play a different role in students’ learning. Rather than trying to describe the impact of all technologies as if they were the same, there is a need to think about what kind of technologies are being used in the classroom and for what purposes. Two general distinctions can be made. Students can learn ‘from’ computers—where technology used essentially as tutors and serves to increase students basic skills and knowledge; and can learn ‘with’ computers—where technology is used a tool that can be applied to a variety of goals in the learning process and can serve as a resource to help develop higher order thinking, creativity and research skills (Reeves, 1998; Ringstaff & Kelley, 2002)10.

While Discreet Educational Software (DES) remains the most commonly used approach to computer use in student learning, in more recent years, use of computers in schools can become more diversified as educators recognize the potential of learning ‘with’ technology as a means for enhancing students’ reasoning and learning skills. No longer limited to school labs, school hours and specific devices, technology access can result in increasingly learner centered experience.

This research aims at studying the effect of ICT tools on the academic improvement of secondary school students. In the process for preparing our students for the 21st century challenges, it is important to understand that today, success cannot be measured just by improvement in academic achievement but there are other qualities also that are desirable and need to be improved for success and prepare a student to meet the challenges he/she has to face in the future. The students today, are adept at handling and using technology for learning as it provides immense possibilities in teaching/ learning. Various earlier researches have proved that use of technology in teaching/learning helps students to develop certain other abilities that are vital for overall improvement in the academics and personality of a student and are the need of the hour. Thus the researcher decided to incorporate some of the components of learning abilities in the study. These are:

  1. Communication skills,
  2. Team work,
  • Problem solving, and
  1. Critical thinking

Another variable that is included in this study is self-esteem. Several researches have studied the effect that ICT tools may have on students’ self esteem. Some studies have suggested that there is a relationship between students’ achievement and self esteem and that improvement in self esteem would lead to improvement in achievement. Also, those students who underachieve at school are likely to have a low self-esteem. It is observed that a student’s self esteem improves when he/she deals with technology in his day today life. The student is likely to develop confidence when he is able to use ICT for learning. So there is a possibility that the use of ICT in teaching may have an effect on self esteem of students that may have an impact on the students’ academic improvement. Therefore the researcher decided to include self esteem as a variable to study the academic improvement of students.

1.2 NEED OF THE STUDY

Researches on successfully developing, evaluating, studying, and implementing a wide range of technology-based educational programs suggest that the value of technology for students will not be realized unless attention is paid to several important considerations that support the effective use of technology. Researchers are also making progress on the more complicated task of investigating the impact of technology use on higher order thinking skills as measured through means other than standardized tests. They are examining students’ ability to understand complex phenomena, analyze and synthesize multiple sources of information, and build representations of their own knowledge. At the same time, some researchers are calling for newer standardized assessments that emphasize the ability to access, interpret, and synthesize information. Some of the studies abroad can be used as guideline in the Indian context, giving insight into a new approach to education and achievement of students in Mumbai.

It is generally seen that students respond better to technology. There are numerous researches conducted in India and abroad that state the challenges of helping teachers and students achieve ICT literacy. But the studies on the effect of use of ICT tools in teaching on the student’s achievement and self-esteem have hardly been conducted in schools in Mumbai so far. While public debate about the digital divide centers on basic technology access, the gap is even wider when measured by the pedagogical practices associated with technology use in different schools. The researcher, as a principal of a government aided school, has observed that teachers in government schools, (generally catering to students of low economic status) most of the times do not have computers or if it is available it is not used by them. Even the internet facility if provided is not used for instruction during the class. But in schools where students are from higher income families, majority of the teachers use computers in class while teaching. Many young people use the internet but the fact is that majority still remains without internet access and most of them come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

From the review of the related literature, there are several gaps which are observed. The researcher has experienced that students coming from low economic background face a lot of difficulty in achieving an average academic level. The classroom situations cannot help them much in overall improvement, as the teachers are busy in the duties related to various tests, exams and syllabus completion. With practically no family support and help, these students fare poorly in exams. Many drop out before completing their Xth grade and very few go for higher education. Many schools today do provide computer technology and teachers are using the same to teach, but there is a need to study that whether the ICT tools used in teaching do have an impact on the academic improvement of students or not? Does the use of technology in teaching have a positive effect on the learning abilities of students or not? Whether the use of various ICT tools in classroom also enhances the self-esteem of the students or not? Therefore the researcher was interested to conduct an experimental study to find the effect of ICT tools on the academic achievement, learning abilities and self esteem of Std. X students with two teaching subjects: English and Geography.

1.3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

For the present study the problem is stated as ‘Effect of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) Tools on Academic Improvement of Secondary School Students’

1.4 VARIABLES OF THE STUDY

  1. Independent Variables are the variables manipulated by the researcher to act as a treatment or the conditions that are supposed to be the cause. In the present study the independent variable is the use of ICT tools in teaching units of English and Geography.
  2. Dependent Variables are the ones that are kept constant to observe the result or act as the effect in the presence or absence of the constant. For the present study academic improvement is studied in terms of the following dependent variables:
  1. Academic achievement
  2. Learning abilities and
  • Self-esteem.

1.5 DEFINITIONS OF THE VARIABLES AND THE KEY TERMS

  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Tools

 

Conceptual Definition

 

The phrase ‘information and communication technologies’ (ICT) was originally coined by Stevenson (1997)12 in his report to the United Kingdom government, and promoted by the new National Curriculum documents for the United Kingdom in 2000. Stevenson described ICT in the context of education as the study of the technology used to handle information and aid communication. Since then, other definitions have emerged that describe ICT as traditional computer applications with the addition of communication tools such as e-mail, chat-rooms and other internet resources. For example, UNESCO provides the following definitions to serve as a guide.

Information technology (IT) is the term used to describe the items of equipment (hardware) and computer programmes (software) that allow to access, retrieve, store, organize, manipulate and present information by electronic means. Personal computers, scanners and digital cameras fit into the hardware category. Database storage programmes and multimedia programmes fit into the software category. Communication technology (CT) is the term used to describe telecommunications equipment, through which information can be sought and accessed, for example, phones, faxes, modems and computers. (UNESCO, 2003)13

Information and communications technology or ICT tools is defined as means which enable students to communicate, collaborate, assimilate and exchange information, such as computers (Internet/web, emails, word processor, spread sheets, blogs,) overhead projectors, LCD projectors, multimedia, cell phones.

Operational Definition

For the purpose of the present study, ICT or information and communications technology  tools is defined as means which enable students to communicate, collaborate, assimilate and exchange information, such as computers (Internet/web, emails, word processor, spread sheets, blogs) overhead projectors, LCD projectors, multimedia, cell phones.

  • Academic Achievement

Conceptual Definition

Academic achievement is defined as knowledge acquired and skills developed in school subject generally indicated by marks attained in tests and examinations. (Biswas A. and  Aggarwal J.C.)14

Operational Definition

For the present study academic achievement is seen in terms of improvement in subjects English and Geography indicated by marks attained in tests.

  • Learning Abilities

Conceptual Definition

Learning abilities are defined as learning skills or knowledge gained through study or by being taught. According to The American Heritage Dictionary (2009)17, learning is defined as the act, process or experience of gaining knowledge or skill.

According to the Collins English Dictionary, (2003)18, learning is defined as knowledge gained by study, instruction or scholarship. It is also defined as relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs as a direct result of experience.

Abilities are talents, special skill or aptitude. The Webster’s College Dictionary (2010)19, defines ability as competence based on natural skill, training or of other qualification.

 

 Operational Definition

For the purpose of this study, learning abilities are defined as skills gained through learning in terms of abilities of communication, team work, problem solving and critical thinking of Std. X students and each ability is defined as under:

  • Communication skills: The skill of interacting, articulating in an effective manner.
  • Team work: The organized effort as a group is defined as team work.
  • Problem solving: The ability to solve the problems, something that is difficult to deal with or understand.
  • Critical thinking: To be able to analytically think in a situation that has a decisive importance.

Self-Esteem

Conceptual Definition

Self –Esteem is defined as a good opinion of your own character and abilities. It is also defined as the feeling that you are someone who deserves to be liked, respected, and admired. According to Coopersmith (1967)20, self-esteem, which involves an attitude of approval or disapproval indicates the extent to which the individual believes himself to be capable, significant, successful, and worth. In short, self-esteem is a personal judgment of worthiness that is expressed in the attitudes the individual holds toward himself.

 

Operational Definition

 

For the present study researcher has adopted the definition by Morris Rosenberg (1965)21, stating that self-esteem is a widely applied concept in social research that refers to an individual’s sense of value or worth and is assumed, under normal circumstances, to be stable across time.

  • Secondary Schools

Conceptual Definition

C.V. Good defines secondary school as, ‘The structure, framework or arrangement within which teachers, pupil and others operate to carry on the activities the school.’

According to The American Heritage Dictionary of The English Language15, ‘Secondary school is a school that is intermediate in level between elementary school and college and that usually offers general, technical, vocational, or college-preparatory curricula’.

Secondary school is an educational institution where the second stage of the three schooling periods, known as secondary education and usually compulsory up to a specified age takes place. It follows elementary or primary education, and is sometimes followed by university (tertiary) education. The term high school originated in Scotland and is also used particularly in North America and North Western England.

There are very many different types of secondary schools, and the languages used in them vary around the world. Children usually start secondary school between the ages of 11 and 16 years, and end between the ages of 16 and 18 years, although there is considerable variation from country to country. (Wikipedia) 16

 

Operational Definition

For the purpose of this study secondary schools are those where students of Std. VIII to X and teachers are in constant interaction in the class room, where the teacher facilitates learning.

1.6 AIMS OF THE STUDY

The study was undertaken broadly with the aim to study the effect of information and communication technology tools on academic improvement of secondary school students. Academic improvement will be studied in terms of (i) academic achievement in English and Geography, (ii) improvement in learning abilities and (iii) improved self esteem of students of Std. X. The components of learning abilities studied are communication skills, team work, problem solving and critical thinking.

1.7 REASEARCH QUESTIONS

Research questions are the starting point for any research. Once the questions are clearly formulated it becomes easy to find answers to the focused questions. Following are the research questions for the present study.

  1. Can use of ICT tools such as computers (Internet/web, emails, word processor, spread sheets, blogs) overhead projectors, LCD projectors, multimedia, cell phones etc improve the academic achievement of Std. X students?
  2. Can use of ICT tools such as computers (Internet/web, emails, word processor, spread sheets, blogs) overhead projectors, LCD projectors, multimedia; cell phones etc enhance learning abilities such as communication skills, team work, problem solving and critical thinking of Std. X students?
  3. Can use of ICT tools such as computers (Internet/web, emails, word processor, spread sheets, blogs) overhead projectors, LCD projectors, multimedia, cell phones etc enhance self-esteem of Std. X students?

1.8 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The specific objectives of the study are:

  1. To study pretest scores of the experimental and control groups on
  2. Academic achievement in English and Geography
  3. Learning abilities and
  4. Self-esteem
  5. To compare pretest scores of the experimental and control groups on
  6. Academic achievement in English and Geography
  7. Learning abilities and
  8. Self-esteem
  9. To study pretest scores on learning abilities of the experimental and  control groups   in terms of
  10. Communication skills
  11. Team work
  12. Problem solving and
  13. Critical thinking
  14. To compare pretest scores of the experimental and control groups on learning abilities in terms of
  15. Communication skills
  16. Team work
  17. Problem solving and
  18. Critical thinking
  19. To study posttest scores of the experimental and control groups on
  20. Academic achievement in English and Geography
  21. Learning abilities and
  22. Self-esteem
  23. To compare posttest scores of the experimental and control groups on
  24. Academic achievement in English and Geography
  25. Learning abilities and
  26. Self-esteem
  27. To study posttest scores of the experimental and control groups on learning abilities in terms of
  28. Communication skills
  29. Team work
  30. Problem solving and
  31. Critical thinking
  32. To compare posttest scores of the experimental and control groups on learning abilities in terms of
  33. Communication skills
  34. Team work
  35. Problem solving and
  36. Critical thinking
  37. To study the pretest and posttest scores of the experimental and  control groups on
  38. Academic achievement in English and Geography
  39. Learning abilities and
  40. Self-esteem
  41. To compare the pretest and posttest scores of the experimental and control groups on
  42. Academic achievement in English and Geography
  43. Learning abilities and
  44. Self-esteem
  45. To study pretest and posttest scores of the experimental and control groups on learning abilities in terms of
  46. Communication skills
  47. Team work
  48. Problem solving and
  49. Critical Thinking
  50. To compare pretest and posttest scores of the experimental and control groups on learning abilities in terms of
  51. Communication skills
  52. Team work
  53. Problem solving and
  54. Critical thinking
  55. To compute the gain score (Posttest-Pretest) on
  56. Academic achievement in English and Geography
  57. Learning abilities and
  58. Self-esteem
  59. To compare the gain score (Posttest-Pretest) on
  60. Academic achievement in English and Geography
  61. Learning abilities and
  62. Self-esteem
  1. To compute the gain score (Posttest-Pretest) on learning abilities in terms of
  2. Communication skills
  3. Team work
  4. Problem solving and
  5. Critical thinking
  6. To compare the gain score (Posttest-Pretest) on learning abilities in terms of
  7. Communication skills
  8. Team work
  9. Problem solving and
  10. Critical thinking
  11. To estimate the effect size of the treatment on experimental group on
  12. Academic achievement in English and Geography
  13. Learning abilities and
  14. Self-esteem
  15. To estimate the effect size of the treatment on experimental group on learning abilities in terms of
  16. Communication skills
  17. Team work
  18. Problem solving and
  19. Critical thinking

1.9 HYPOTHESES OF THE STUDY

  1. There is no significant difference in the pretest scores of the experimental and control groups on
  2. Academic achievement in English and Geography
  3. Learning abilities and
  4. Self-esteem
  5. There is no significant difference in the pretest scores of the experimental and control groups on learning abilities in terms of
    1. Communication skills
    2. Team work
    3. Problem solving and
    4. Critical thinking
  6. There is no significant difference in the posttest scores of the experimental and control groups on
    1. Academic achievement in English and Geography
    2. Learning abilities and
    3. Self-esteem
  7. There is no significant difference in the posttest scores of the experimental and control groups on learning abilities in terms of
    1. Communication skills
    2. Team work
    3. Problem solving and
    4. Critical thinking
  8. There is no significant difference in the pretest and posttest scores of the experimental group and control groups on
    1. Academic achievement in English and Geography
    2. Learning abilities and
    3. Self-esteem
  9. There is no significant difference in the pretest and posttest scores in the experimental and control groups on learning abilities in terms of
    1. Communication skills
    2. Team work
    3. Problem solving and
    4. Critical thinking
  10. There is no significant difference in the gain score (posttest-pretest) of the experimental and control groups on
    1. Academic achievement in English and Geography
    2. Learning abilities and
    3. Self-esteem
  11. There is no significant difference in the gain score (posttest-pretest) of the experimental and control groups on learning abilities in terms of
    1. Communication Skills
    2. Team Work
    3. Problem Solving and
    4. Critical Thinking

1.10 SCOPE AND DELIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

Through the present study the researcher makes an attempt to see whether there is an effect of ICT tools based teaching programme on students’ academic achievement, learning ability and self-esteem. The Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), has adopted the National Policy on ICT in School Education (NPISE)22 in 2012. In the present study, the researcher has developed a teaching programme using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools to teach the students of Std. X only in subjects English and Geography. This research studies only the effect of ICT tools on the enhancement in academic achievements in the subjects English and Geography only, improvement in learning abilities and improvement in their self esteem. No other variables are considered.

The academic improvement is studied in two subjects i.e. English and Geography of Std. X and only a few chapters are covered to teach using ICT tools. The learning abilities are studied in terms of four components only i.e. communication skills, team work, problem solving and critical thinking. The self-esteem was studied using Rosenberg’s tool. The other variables such as socio-economic status, caste, regional or religious background or urban-rural background are not considered.

This teaching programme, using ICT tools is implemented in English medium schools affiliated to Maharashtra State Board of Secondary Education. (S.S.C. Board). It does not include students from other standards, boards or vernacular mediums. Being an experimental study, only two schools are considered. One school is assigned as an experimental group and other as the control group. Data is collected from Std. X students in Mumbai, from a specific locality, with the students coming from similar background. The participant students for the present study are both male and female. The S.S.C. schools from other areas like Thane and Navi Mumbai were not included for the present study and it was delimited to western suburbs of Greater Mumbai only.

1.11 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

This programme of teaching, using ICT tools is implemented in the experimental group for several weeks in the month of April/May of 2012. Some students were not able to attend the class regularly. Thus, there are a few dropouts. Some students joined the course late; therefore they are not able to participate in the programme. This situation is beyond the researcher’s control. Hence, this is one of the limitations.

The tools on learning abilities constructed by the researcher make use of multiple options. This may sometime result in curtailing the freedom of the students in expressing themselves. The students did not get scope for personal comment. As it is a pencil paper questionnaire, factors like motivation, fatigue and interest would also affect the responses of the students.

1.12 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The present study is intended to measure the effect of ICT tools based teaching programme on students’ academic achievement, learning abilities and self-esteem. The researcher has developed tests to measure academic achievement in English and Geography on some units. The researcher has also prepared the learning abilities scale. These research tools will be a readymade source for future researchers who wish to conduct similar type of studies. The lesson plans prepared by the researcher will prove to be a guide to other researchers and educational institutions who wish to use ICT tools in teaching.

The researcher in this study has developed an ICT tools based teaching programme which has proved that use of ICT tools in teaching can enhance students’ performance in academics and improve their learning abilities and self-esteem. This knowledge which the students have gained would help them to manage their learning effectively in an ICT enabled setup in schools. It will further help them to share their knowledge with other students in schools, which in turn would help them to bring about an improvement in their performance. It will also enable the teachers to re-think and modify their teaching strategies in classroom using ICT tools. Thus, this study will help to develop an interest among students and teachers about benefits of modern technology in education.

The study recommends and provides an insight on the use of ICT tools in teaching as superior when compared to the traditional method in helping to improve the academic achievement and self esteem of the students. Use of ICT tools will also enhance multiliteracies in the students. These multiliteracies are in terms of written and oral language for clear communication, development of images through diagrams, figure, photos, pictures from Google earth, sensitivity to sounds and respect for individual and group spaces for discussion and dialogue. This will ensure development of varied learning abilities of the students.

This study also highlights the need for special training to the teachers to enable them to use ICT tools in classrooms. This study will help the curriculum framers to understand the needs of the teachers and students in ICT enabled classroom. It will enable them to also bring about desirable changes in syllabus, practical training and evaluation. Hence, an ICT tools based teaching programme can be incorporated as an essential part of the curriculum at pre-service as well as in-service levels of teachers.

This study will also help educators, teachers, students, and the community to understand that using ICT tools to teach children in school will improve the quality of education. Schools are important places for children to develop friendships and learn social skills from each other as children learn by being together. When children attend classes and activities that encourage team work, critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills, they would learn better. The researcher is hopeful that this study will prove useful for other schools who are seeking improvement in the overall development of students, who are at the base of the pyramid, with use of ICT tools for teaching, their improvement in academic achievement, learning abilities and self-esteem will go a long way in realizing the goals of government’s ambitious projects of quality education for all.

The study is significant in terms of the educational challenges wherein the students and teachers are challenged for thinking, doing, acting and getting involved in the practical work. The underlying theories of learning explain this phenomenon, for example the students learn by doing, are rewarded for the correct responses, through praise and reward in the form of points, marks or stars. Further the use of ICT tools enhances the development of multiple abilities and intelligences. This is supported by the theory of multiple intelligences, explaining the phenomena, that students can excel in the areas of their strengths and teachers must recognize it.

ICT tools will develop higher order thinking, creativity and research skills. Critical reflection as a result of feedback from the teacher to the students and from students to the teacher and the discussions and the debates to be held in the classroom will develop students’ learning abilities.

This study would pave way for further research in the areas of concern, as suggested by the results of the study.

1.13 CONCLUSION

This chapter has introduced the study by clearly stating the problem, its aims, objectives and hypotheses. The need felt to undertake the study, that led to identifying and operationalizing of the main terms has been discussed.  The scope and delimitations as well as limitations that restrict the study have been given. Besides, the significance of the study that may help to add to already existing knowledge base in this area have been given. The following chapter highlights the researches conducted in India and abroad on some of the areas considered for this study. This would help the researcher to identify gaps, get support for her research and also build up a strong theoretical base.

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Article from Newspaper ‘The Times of India’ dated 30-1-08

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