The Issues of Digital Natives and Tourists: Empirical Investigation of the Level of IT/IS Usage between University Students and Faculty Members in a Developing Economy

The Issues of Digital Natives and Tourists: Empirical Investigation of the Level of IT/IS Usage between University Students and Faculty Members in a Developing Economy

Nwachukwu Prince Ololube (University of Education, Nigeria), Samuel Amaele (University of Education, Nigeria), Peter James Kpolovie (University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria) and Daniel Elemchukwu Egbezor (University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1637-0.ch015
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Abstract

Frequently it is presumed that Nigerian students and faculties have been unable to find effective ways to use technology in the classroom and other aspects of their teaching and learning. Yet, considerable debate remains over the most efficient techniques and procedures to measure students and faculties IT/IS use. In most developing countries, the challenges associated with carrying out IT/IS measurements are different from those in developed countries, as are the methods for selecting appropriate IT/IS contents. The thrust of this chapter is to examine IT/S contents with a view to analyse their meaning and impact on educational offerings. This study gathered data using a five item demographic variable and a fifty item questionnaire to measure student and faculty academic IT/IS use in two universities in Nigeria. This study is based on the 191 responses received to the questionnaire. The results reveal significant differences between the academic use of IT/IS by students and faculty members. This groundbreaking study recommends that universities become valuable and proactive actors in the provision of technology based learning, teaching and research for students and academic staff so as to foster an effective academic environment aimed at meeting MDG education goals. This scholarly discourse has implication for researchers, education practitioners, planners, policy makers and government.
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Introduction

Studies of inequality in access to and use of information and communication technology (ICT) among students and faculties (lecturers) have over the years attracted significant attention by researchers, policy makers and the global community at large (Toledo, 2007; Margaryan & Littlejohn, 2008; Waycott et al., 2010; Bennett & Maton, 2010; Feeney, 2010; Anne, Seppo & Shoji, 2010; Margaryan, Littlejohn & Vojt, 2011; Nwokeocha, 2011; Ololube, 2011). IT/IS have become key educational tools and have had a revolutionary impact on how we see and live in the world (Kaba et al., 2008; Ololube, 2009). Globally, IT/IS is having a revolutionary impact on educational methodology (Ifinedo, 2006; Fan, 2010). However, this revolution is not universal and needs to be reinforced to reach a larger share of the world’s population (Akdogan, 2009; Anne, Seppo & Shoji, 2010).

In Nigeria, the academic landscape includes the teaching and learning process, along with educational programs and courses and the pedagogy or methodology of teaching; the research process, including dissemination and publication; and libraries and information services, including higher education administration and management (Beebe, 2004; Ololube, 2006b). There is no doubt that the best way to enhance excellent instruction in schools is through quality information technology (IT) and information system (IS) usage and integration, which is the key in understanding the knowledge and skills required in teaching and learning today (Ololube, Ubogu & Egbezor, 2007; Afari-Kumah & Tanye, 2009).

Education is one of the most important institutions needed to ensure the well-being of a society. Because of its importance, education is a powerful instrument of social progress without which neither an individual nor a nation can grow professionally (Ololube, 2006a). To this end, UNESCO’s strategic objectives in education include improving the quality of education through the diversification of contents and methods, and promoting experimentation, innovation, and the diffusion and sharing of information and best practices as well as policy dialogue (UNESCO, 2002). In a complex society like Nigeria, many factors affect IT/IS usage and integration, making the use of an interdisciplinary and integrated approach necessary to ensure the successful development of Nigeria’s economy and society (Moja, 2000; Mac-Ikemenjima, 2005). Of particular note, however, is the fact that the development of IT and IS, its penetration and use in higher education programs, and its diffusion into education in general remain dependant on governmental policies (Ololube, 2006b).

Evidence (Tuomi, 2000) seems to suggest that in some countries and regions the digital divide is closing rapidly. Over the course of the last decade, especially in developed countries, millions of people have gained access to computers each year. The term digital divide is used to explain the divergences between people who have and people who do not have the skills, knowledge and abilities, in addition to access and resources, to use new IT/IS tools. This divide can exist between the educated and uneducated, privileged and underprivileged, developed and developing nations, and those living in rural and urban areas (Ololube, 2009).

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