AN EVALUATION ON THE USE OF ICT (AUDIO-VISUALS) IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION IN NIGERIA
1.1 Background to the study
The day when a teacher served as a repository of information has passed. As a consequence of technological advancements, the globe is moving at warp speed at this point. Even more importantly, technology includes information and communication, which can be defined as the handling and processing of information (texts, images, graphs and instructions, among other things), which is then made available to users via electronic and communication devices such as computers, cameras, telephones and other similar devices (Ozoji and Oleabhiele, 2015). The fast development of information and communication technologies (ICT) has resulted in significant transformations in our current society, which are detailed below. The use of information and communications technology (ICT) is already considered essential in the field of educational research. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are the technologies that are used to transmit, manipulate, and store data through electronic methods. In addition, they offer an assortment of strong technologies that may assist in changing the current segregated teacher-centered and text-bound classrooms into rich, dynamic knowledge environments that are student-focused and student-centered. In order for teaching and learning to be successful, modern theories of teaching indicate that the instructional process should be learner-centered from the outset. Learning does not occur in the typical classroom because learners do not exhibit adequate knowledge of ideas and because just a few of them dominate the teaching process due to a lack of meaningful interaction (Duggan, Palmer & Devitt, 2007). The major goal of information and communication technology is to develop a strategy that encourages the use of a learner-centered approach to learning as well as interaction between instructors and students (ICT).
The early years of a child’s existence are the most critical for the development of his or her intellect, personality, and social behavior, among other traits. The year before a kid enters Kindergarten is one of the most essential in a child’s life in terms of influencing his or her learning. As a result, contemporary civilizations place a high value on the education of their children, giving them with the necessary resources to help them excel in school later on (Ejieh, 2006). Most civilizations provide provisions for early childhood education programs of different kinds for children who are younger than the official school-going age (typically 6 years), primarily to prepare them for education in primary schools, which is a standard practice in most societies (Obidike, 2012). In recognition of the importance of early childhood education in Nigeria, the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) emphasized the importance of early childhood education in the country’s National Policy of Education (FRN, 2004), which included it as one of the programs in the country’s educational system.
It was also stated by Mahuta (2007) that the purpose of Early Childhood Education (ECE) should be to promote the proper development of children, identify and address issues that arise in their lives, harness potentials that have been untapped, mold character, enhance learning, and equip children for life so that their actions are channeled towards positive personal, communal, and global development in all facets of life. In today’s society, information and communications technology (ICT) has emerged as a critical component of our daily lives. In this environment, internet access and exposure to video games, computers, and mobile phones at a very early age are on the rise all across the world, particularly in developing countries. This shift has been noticed by both scholars and policymakers, and efforts have been made to examine the potential of information and communications technology (ICT) to successfully enhance early childhood education via a range of roles. Several academics assert that information and communications technology (ICT) has the potential to improve school administration and management, student access to high-quality education, teacher professional development, and the production of material that is relevant to local communities. However, to what degree may information and communication technology (ICT) be advantageous as a learning aid for children in their early years (0-6 years of age)? Parents and early childhood educators have employed creative and innovative uses of information and communication technology (ICT) as major potential tools to promote children’s early learning at home and in early childhood settings. Despite the fact that some people are opposed to the introduction of information and communication technology (ICT) in early childhood education, a number of studies have shown that ICT, when used responsibly, can actually support children’s learning by providing beneficial opportunities in the areas of language and communication, emergent literacy and reading readiness, mathematical thinking, creativity, and favorable attitudes toward learning. Apart from that, for many children who require additional support in order to participate effectively in classroom settings, such as children with disabilities or children from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds, information and communications technology (ICT) can provide a technological solution to overcome some of their impairment and be included in appropriate and meaningful learning opportunities, thus facilitating their integration into the community (UNESCO, 2010). Individualization and differentiation in education may be made possible via the use of information and communication technology (ICT/AV). The ability to customize both the content and the presentation of subject matter to the particular background, experience, and requirements of students is made possible by this technology. In addition, according to Schiller and Tillett (2004), “audio-visuals expands the range of possibilities by amplifying what teachers are able to do, by providing an entry point to content and inquiries that were not previously accessible through audio-visuals, by extending the range of products that students are able to produce as a result of their investigations, and finally by providing teachers with the opportunity to reclaim their status as learners.” The question of whether information and communication technology (ICT) and audiovisuals are detrimental to or beneficial to students’ educational growth is one that remains open to empirical investigation. As a result, the purpose of this study is to determine the relative trends in the use of ICT (Audio-Visuals) in Early Childhood Education.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
One of the most common difficulties encountered by students in Nigeria’s Early Childhood Education is their inability to retain what they have learned. This issue is often produced by professors expressing themselves too much theoretically, while the students remain passive listeners to what they are saying(Schiller and Tillett, 2004). These issues confronting the goal of Early Childhood Education can be addressed through the use of slide presentations, audio-visual presentation processes, and other interactive information and communication technology (ICT) software facilities in which a pupil interacts with and is guided by visual equipment aimed at accomplishing specific instructional goals. Discussions over the relationship between information and communication technology (ICT) and early childhood education (ECE) have sparked some lively arguments in recent years. Many academics have claimed that information and communications technology (ICT) is still a relatively young phenomena that is much too complex. In recognition of the fact that it is still unclear and complex how it can support Early Childhood Education (ECE), organizations such as the Alliance for Childhood (2000) have advocated for the removal of computers from American schools, believing that the use of computers is harmful to children’s physical, emotional, and cognitive development. Jones (2002), on the other hand, contested these assertions, claiming that his study revealed that youngsters spent far more time watching television than they did working on computers. In light of this gap, it is necessary to investigate the use of information and communication technology (ICT) (audio-visuals) in early childhood education in Nigeria.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The general objective of the study is the use of ICT (audio-visuals) in early childhood education in Nigeria. Other specific objectives are:
- To examine teachers use of audio visuals on pupils early childhood education in Nigeria.
- To find out if the use of ICT contribute to pupils’ early childhood educational development.
- To investigate the benefit of audio-visuals on pupils’ retention level.
- To examine the challenges of ICT/audio-visuals on early childhood education in Nigeria.
1.4 Research Questions
This study will be guided by the following research questions:
- What is the relationship between teachers use of audio visuals and pupils early childhood education in Nigeria?
- Does the use of ICT contribute to pupils’ early childhood educational development?
- What are the benefit of audio-visuals on pupils’ retention level?
- What are the challenges of ICT/audio-visuals on early childhood education in Nigeria?
1.5 Significant of the study
This study will be significant to the ministry of education as it will enable them see the importance of a pupils early childhood education thereby investing in audio visuals material in other for easy learning of pupils.
This study will also be significant to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.
1.6 Scope of the study
This study will examine teachers use of audio visuals on pupils early childhood education in Nigeria. The study will also find out if the use of ICT contribute to pupils’ early childhood educational development. The study will further investigate the benefit of audio-visuals on pupils’ retention level. Lastly, the study will examine the challenges of ICT/audio-visuals on early childhood education in Nigeria. Hence the study will be delimited to Osun State.
1.7 Limitation of the study
Just like any other research, unavailability of needed accurate materials on the topic under study, and inability to get data were among the constraints the researcher encountered in the cause of this study. Financial constraint was equally faced by the researcher, in getting relevant materials and in printing and collation of questionnaires. Furthermore, time factor pose another constraint because the researcher have to shuttle between writing of the research and engaging in other academic work which made it uneasy for the researcher.
1.8 Definition of terms