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Using Netop School to Enhance Teaching and Learning of Ict

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This chapter introduces and presents the background of the study. This is followed by Perceived Problem and then Diagnosis based on the evidence collected. Some causes of the problems identified by the study were also presented and remedies proposed.

Background to the Study

Nobody describes this era we live in, without acknowledging the fact that we are living in an era of technological advancements where new technologies are being made use of. This has therefore turned the world into a global village where everything is being computerized to make life easier to live.

Although this is the era in which we find ourselves a country like Ghana has just joined the race to reach up to the level of the well advanced countries which are reaping the benefits of the technological era. In view of its effort to join the technological world the Ghanaian government through its departments and ministries is making everything possible to ensure that every aspect of the our social, economic, political life is directed in making the country achieve its target of being a middle-income, information-rich, knowledge-based and technology driven economy and society through an ICT led socio-economic development process. (The Ghana ICT for Accelerated Development [ICT4AD] Policy, June 2003:8)

In the quest of achieving this policy, the Government of Ghana formed an educational reform committee chaired by Prof. J. Anamuah-Mensah in 2007 to draft a new educational policy which reflected the ICT4AD policy. According to the recommendations of the reform committee, ICT should be taught at Senior High School (SHS) level as a core subject in addition to Mathematics, English Language, Social Studies and Integrated Science (core science). (Educational Reform 2007 at a glance, 2007:4). Despite making ICT a core subject at the SHS level, the smooth implementation of this policy faces a few challenges such as inadequate infrastructure as in computer laboratories, computers and their accessories as well as less teaching staff as people are now being equipped with the necessary pedagogical skills required to effectively teach the course or subject as well as the production of the required study materials.

According to Frederick K. Sarfo, a specialist in the teaching Educational Technology at the University of Education, Winneba-Kumasi Campus, the use of ICT tools helps a great deal in the teaching and learning process. Therefore, based on this point, using tools which will enhance the teaching and learning of ICT has become imperative in our day to day activities if we wish to achieve our vision. This Action Research therefore seeks to find out how the classroom management software, NetOp School could be used to enhance the teaching and learning of ICT amongst form two students in St. Thomas Aquinas Senior High School situated at Cantonments, a suburb of Accra in the Greater Accra Region.

The administration of St. Thomas Aquinas Senior High School in its quest of abiding by the new educational policy has built a computer laboratory where ICT tutelage is to take place, but unfortunately some of the accessories required to make the teaching and the learning of the subject interesting and effective are either not available or inadequate; for instance the computers in the laboratory (lab) are not adequate and the lab does not have a projector.

In the absence of these accessories the teaching and learning of the subject has not been to the best in the sense that it has been more theory than practical work with the form two students as their topics require more practical than theory. In view of the above mentioned situation, this research seeks to propose the Class Management Software which will help enhance the teaching and learning of ICT in St. Thomas Aquinas Senior High School.

Perceived problem

The purpose of the study is to find out why the teaching and learning of ICT amongst the form two (2) students of St. Thomas Aquinas Senior High School has not been encouraging and suggest or propose a solution which will enhance the teaching and learning of the subject which is using the class management system software called Net-Op School.

Diagnosis of the problem

Due to the way the computer lab had been arranged students always had the opportunity to do their own thing, and this gave the students the opportunity not to pay attention during practical lessons, when the the attention of the tutor was not on them. This attitude of the students resulted in their poor performance in class exercises and end of term examinations.

Evidence of the problem

The inability of the teacher to monitor the activities of all the students during class sessions as well as coordinate the computers in the lab gave room to the students to misbehave, for example performing different tasks not prescribed by the tutor. The results of their behaviour was evident when in the end of term examinations for the first term of the 2008/2009 academic year, their results were far below average as about 65% of them failed the examinations, the questions of which had been discussed in class prior to the examinations.

Causes of the problem

Through observation and interviews with the ICT teachers and students, the following issues emerged as the main causes of the problem;

 Insufficient Practice: the students do not find time to practice whatever has being taught in class as majority do not have computers at home to use and also there is no free time for them to come to the lab to practice whatever they have been taught. This means they forgot whatever had been taught very easily and fast.

 Purpose of the course/subject: the students seem not to see the essence of the course as the kind of attention and seriousness they attach to the other subjects seem to be totally greater than that of the ICT and this makes them not to take whatever is being taught seriously.

 Inadequate Computers and Accessories: teaching and learning of ICT requires the use of computers and their accessories and unfortunately for us the school has inadequate computers which make it difficult for each student to have a computer to practice with whenever they go the lab for ICT practical lessons.

 Time: it deals with how the school timetable is structured. Time periods allotted for subjects on the timetable is in a way that the teacher does not have much time at his disposal to assist students who are facing some difficulties with the subject. This is so because, considering the number of students in total, the number of classes per grade level



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